DIDO // ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER

Dido returns to Manchester a while to perform an Sold Out show at The Albert Hall.

DIDO PERFORMING AT MANCHESTER’S ALBERT HALL - 29.05.2019
PICTURE BY: IAIN FOX PHOTOGRAPHY

★★★★☆ (4/5)

It's been over five thousand days since **Dido's** last concert in Manchester, we're reliably informed by the Londoner when she takes to the stage. Prior to this landmark return, there was middle class rage on show as Albert Hall's horseshoe balcony filled up. Refusing to stand, late-comers describe dodgy knees and back problems as reasons why they should be allowed to sit in the disabled section. Once under way though, it is the vocal crowd that make this show so impressive, with committed contributions adding drama to Dido's iconic hits all evening.

You couldn't attend a boozy dinner party in the early 2000's without _No Angel_ and _Life For Rent_ finding their way on to the CD player alongside contemporaries like Morcheeba and Moby. 'Hurricanes' opens proceedings this evening and possesses all those electro-pop qualities that resulted in thirty-odd million album sales. It's the first track off new record _Still On My Mind_ and its creeping melancholy at the outset swells with epic pretensions before Dido tenderly brings the song to a close before drastically changing the tone with the chic groove of 'Hell After This'. It's all very slick and Dido's vocals are particularly impressive considering the length of her break.

We probably have Eminem to thank for raising the profile of Dido back in 2000 and it's the songs from her debut record and its follow-up that get the biggest response from the crowd. First up is the sprightly 'Hunter' and the crowd get into the holiday mood with the breezy 'Sand in My Shoes'. Much of the setlist comes from the new record though; this isn't some kind of unscrupulous attempt to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon. There's pride in these new songs and they provide an interesting juxtaposition of eras as subtle new influences emerge on tracks like 'Give You Up' before we return to where it all started with the impressive 'Thank You', which still sounds fresh.

The new record's 'Friends' is a mid-set highlight full of disco-themed rhythms, sweeping synths and imaginative percussive elements complimenting her distinctive vocals, but Dido is not afraid to step away from the hits occasionally and the more reserved 'Sitting on the Roof of the World' and 'Quiet Times' add acoustic textures to the more upbeat electro-pop.

"This was the first song I ever recorded" introduces the impressive 'Here With Me'. The album version is brooding and atmospheric but this evening's rendition ramps up the scale and with the crowd singing every word back to Dido, there is an epic, moving quality to the song.

There are a few moments when tracks pass us by. 'See You When You're 40' and 'Mad Love' are just a tad generic to really resonate but then there's always 'Take My Hand' to fall back on. This final track before the encore is a huge and extravagant experience full of layer upon layer of lavish musical textures that thrill in their inventiveness.

Returning for the encore, there's still one song missing and after the sweet 'Have to Stay' Dido asks for requests, knowing what the response will be. 'White Flag' may not be her most iconic song but it certainly seems to be the one her fans know the lyrics to the most and they go out singing with all their might. On this evidence, Dido would be mad to leave it another fifteen years!

SETLIST: | DIDO : ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER - 29.05.2019

  • Hurricanes

  • Hell After This

  • Life for Rent

  • Hunter

  • No Freedom

  • Grafton Street

  • Sand in My Shoes

  • Give You Up

  • Thank You

  • Friends

  • Sitting on the Roof of the World

  • Quiet Times

  • Here With Me

  • See You When You’re 40

  • Mad Love

  • End of Night

  • Take You Home

  • Take My Hand

ENCORE:

  • Have To Stay

  • White Flag

DIDO | UPCOMING TOUR DATES:

REVIEW + PHOTOS BY: | IAIN FOX PHOTOGRAPHY

Iain Fox