8th JULY 2001
XCEL ARENA, MINNEAPOLIS, USA
Review from Dave:
The final stop of Dido's US tour was held at the Xcel Energy Center in
St. Paul, Minnesota, this past Sunday evening. Line-up was the same as previous
shows, with Travis and Emiliana Torrini opening.
This is the sixth time I've seen her live, the fifth time in Minneapolis.
Throughout the show, I did not cease to be amazed by the size of this
venue compared to her previous appearances in town. Very different from
her first show at the tiny 400 Bar in front of 100 of us, back in August
of '99. This was also the first time that I was unable to "hang out"
(do shots) with Alex and Keith and the rest of the band after the show
(excluding Vinnie - I believe he prefers trollops of questionable repute),
so it just wasn't the same. Intimacy issues aside, the grander venue did
provide some benefits. The lighting was great, the stage was large, the
time was ripe to finally hear a live version of 'Take My Hand' (which Dido
stated as the first song she ever recorded on a solo basis - six years ago
- which was news to me).
As always, Dido's voice was amazing. There were no backup singers, but
I'm sure the rather liberal dose of reverb given her didn't hurt.
The band as well sounded great - very tight. Two years of touring with
essentially the same line-up will do that.
This was the last show of the tour (the entire show was professionally
taped for posterity with at least 5 cameras - so keep an eye on MTV for
sweaty concert footage), which means Ms. Armstrong will not be returning
stateside until she's touring to support a new album. Which I will be
very interested to hear, and not just for the obvious reasons (new
songs). I am curious how Dido will handle her sophomore effort - if
Arista is giving her lots of pressure to duplicate her current success
with her next album. Being a rock star may still be somewhat new for her
- although she handles it with aplomb - but I imagine Rollo will not be
cowed by the perceived might of Clive Davis. I think the most important
thing for her next album is to have her brother produce once again, and
remain among the Cheeky fold.
In speaking with Alex previously, I've come under the impression that
Dido's current NY-based touring band would like very much to be involved
in the production of her next album, which is understandable. One of
the best things of Dido's live show is the new arrangements that are
enabled by playing with a 6-7 piece band. Hearing the band live and
listening to the CD should be distinctly separate experiences (are you
hearing me, Glenn Danzig?!? no, of course not. Sorry, bad high school
flashback.) However, I seriously doubt as to whether inviting these
musicians into the studio matches Rollo's producing MO. Who knows, we
will have to wait and see. It will be interesting nonetheless.
One aspect of this latest show that was entirely not enthralling was the
lethargy of the crowd. While the attendees seemed very appreciative of
the music and were liberal with their applause, I was disgusted by the
rampant immobility. All those not in floor seats kept their asses
firmly planted for the duration. Those on the floor did stand, but
didn't do much more than sway a bit (with a few notable exceptions). I
suppose I shouldn't expect much more from a crowd of 10,000 whiteys from
Minnesota, used to clapping on the one and the three. As this was the
last show of the tour, I imagine Dido would have availed herself to
multiple encores, wishing to draw out the last few moments of
performance. However, my Minnesota brethren seemed to have other ideas,
racing out in droves before the first encore. Bedtimes.
We did get one encore, where Dido came out and sat down at a keyboard,
alone - which is something I haven't seen since that first show at the
400 Bar all that time ago. She sang a new song, 'Do You Have A Little
Time', just accompanying herself. It was magical. I cannot wait for
that one to be laid on digital wax.
Overall, and not that I should be surprised by this because I've seen it
developing, but I was still impressed by the enormous amounts of stage
presence and poise Dido has cultivated. I remember the first gig or two
of hers I saw - she would become slightly animated for 'Hunter', but
that was about it. No longer - Dido now bounces around the stage,
banters with the crowd, and seems to be having a genuinely good time,
which makes her all the more likeable.
Sad and proud as I am to say it, our little Dido is all grown up.
[Note: for those who don't want to wait to hear more from Dido until her
next album is recorded, she sings lead vocals on a track, 'One Step Too
Far', on the new album from Faithless, 'Outrospective', which was released
in the US this past Tuesday, July 10. Dido fans will find it spectacular.]