8th JULY 2001
XCEL ARENA, MINNEAPOLIS, USA

Dido Live Dido Live Dido Live

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.]