BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Returning for her first world tour in 15 years, English pop star Dido emphatically displayed that both her angelic voice and stage presence have only aged like a fine wine before a sold-out crowd at The Masonic in San Francisco Wednesday night. One of the best-selling artists of All-Time in the UK, her 1999 debut album, No Angel sold over 21 million copies worldwide propelled by hits like “Thank You” and “Here With Me.”
While an additional four albums over the next 20 years have doubled that total, the 47 year-old has been much more concerned with being around to watch her young son, now seven, grow up than performing live. Providing less drama, or tragedy, than contemporary countrywomen Adele or Amy Winehouse, her maturity shows thru both her music and level of confidence on stage.
Touring in support of Still on My Mind, written mostly with her brother Rollo Armstrong, it’s her first album in six years and was just released in March. At The Masonic, Dido’s 95 minute set provided a balanced overview of her catalog with a 20 song arrangement which she delivered flawlessly along with her five piece band.
After kicking off the evening with the haunting “Hurricanes,” a beautiful ballad which opens the new album that evolves into a lush pop tune with an uplifting backing chorus, Dido, dressed fashionably in a frilly black blouse with black jeans, surprisingly slotted “Thank You,” her biggest hit, nonchalantly into the middle of her set. Indisputably her most recognizable song, further popularized by it’s inclusion in her duet with Eminem on “Stan,” it’s placement emphasized Dido’s confidence in the appeal of her entire catalog, as evidenced by her stage presence throughout.
The stand-out rhythmic and bouncy “Mad Love” and disco pulsations of “Take You Home” from the new release also made strong impressions live, before “Take My Hand” brought the show full-circle by revisiting No Angel one final time in the form of the first song she ever recorded. Returning to a sustained standing ovation Dido closed with “Have To Stay,” a love song written to her son, also named Stan, and “White Flag” from 2003’s Life for Rent for her encore.
The North American portion of Dido’s world tour concludes this weekend with a trio of shows in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle.