Review: ‘Dido’

Unlike mavericks Madonna and Cher, Dido has so far kept things pretty safe musically. Though her live show tries to reach far beyond the ready-for-radio electronica-ish offerings of her recent "Life for Rent" and 1999's hit "No Angel," it also serves as a reminder of the similarities between hit singles "Thank You" and "White Flag."

Dido Armstrong prefers to be called by her first name. But unlike mavericks Madonna and Cher, Dido has so far kept things pretty safe musically. Though her live show tries to reach far beyond the ready-for-radio electronica-ish offerings of her recent “Life for Rent” (Arista) and 1999’s hit “No Angel” (BMG), it also serves as a reminder of the similarities between hit singles “Thank You” and “White Flag” — and other album cuts as well.

Dido’s a shy, casual performer, which frequently helps her cause; she constantly jokes with audience members between songs, inviting declarations of love, far-out screams and even a marriage proposal (she accepted, though, she added, she may not recognize her balcony suitor were she to meet him). It’s equally charming when she introduces her songs, “Storytellers”-style, letting the audience know which ones are about losing her virginity and which ones are about, well, getting sand in her shoes (that one’s called “Sand in My Shoes”).

She sings these percussion-heavy make-out ballads with conviction, loosening up through the night to go from a simple standing-at-the-front-of-the-stage delivery to dancing through a rare, beat-y rave, with walls of synthed-out strings and lightly plucked acoustic guitars. As with the work of another first-namer, Jewel, these are songs for the masses: mostly enjoyable, mostly light and mostly unextraordinary.

Dido plays New York’s Beacon Theater June 13 and 14.

Dido

Wiltern LG, Los Angeles;2,200 capacity; $45 top

Production

Presented by Star 98.7. Opened, reviewed May 25, 2004; Closed May 26.

Cast

Band: Dido Armstrong, Alex Alexander, Jody Linscot, John Deley, Vinnie Miranda, Keith Golden.
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