Dido has become one of my favorite
singers on the strength of her two albums, No Angel and Life
for Rent, which showcase her beautiful, distinctive voice along
with her talent for writing interesting and compelling songs. Dido's
live performance at the Brixton Academy gives us a generous sampling
of songs from both albums.
Dido Live has a very
distinctive sound: these are not just the same songs as you've heard
on the CD. It seems to me that Dido takes the opportunity to revisit
the songs and take them in a new direction, sometimes one that gives
a quite different feel to the song overall. She's assertive with the
vocals, often giving more emphasis to the vocals or playing with the
intonation in songs that, in the studio version, had a fairly smooth
and even feel. I found these live versions to be in many cases more
lively and vibrant; that's not to say that I don't like the more
mellow version on the CD, but certainly the live versions offer a new
and engaging interpretation of the music.
As a show, Dido Live is
nicely done. The focus remains on Dido singing, not on elaborate
special effects. There's ample use of colored lighting, with
spotlights sweeping over the stage at times, and with different
colors drenching the stage for different songs, so the concert is
visually dramatic. The cinematography of the DVD footage is nicely
done; it sticks mainly with showing Dido singing from various
close-up or middle-distance points, with intercuts of the rest of the
band. It's a good balance: the editing often gives us playful shots
(Dido's shoulder, the view looking up from inside a drum) but these
aren't overdone, so the overall flow of the concert is lively but not
The concert runs an hour and a half,
and is mostly one song after another; Dido offers an occasional
comment between songs with some insight into the writing of that
piece, but she doesn't go into great detail. Since I'm more
interested in the performance anyway, this made the concert flow
quite nicely for me.
Seventeen songs are included in the
Here with Me
When You're 40
Life for Rent
Don't Leave Home
Mary's in India
Sand in My Shoes
Do You Have a
All You Want
See the Sun
Dido Live is a two-disc set;
the first is a DVD with the concert performance, and the second is an
audio CD with a selection of songs from the concert.
The concert is presented in an
attractive anamorphic widescreen transfer, 1.85:1. The image is
fairly soft, but it doesn't look grainy or noisy. Colors look
excellent; it's hard to tell how "natural" the image looks
since most of the time the stage is drenched in colored light, but
the visual appearance is certainly attractive.
The DTS option here is by far the
best of the three tracks offered, providing a rich and nicely
balanced audio experience. Dido's voice is rich and clear in the
front/center channels, and the side and rear channels are used very
well for the surround elements. It definitely feels as if you're at
the concert. The overall sound of the DTS track is warm and rich,
very well suited to Dido's music. The Dolby 5.1 track is
satisfactory, but after listening to the DTS in comparison, it does
sound flatter. There's also a Dolby 2.0 track included.
The bonus feature here is that the
set includes an audio CD with a selection of songs from the concert:
"Stoned," "Here with Me," See You When You're
40," "Life for Rent," "Isobel," "Honestly
OK," "Take My Hand," "Thankyou," "Mary's
in India," "Sand in My Shoes," "White Flag,"
and "See the Sun."
An insert booklet is included, but
it's rather disappointing: it just has some photographs of Dido from
the concert and a list of songs with credits.
If you're a fan of Dido's music,
you'll certainly enjoy this live performance; Dido sounds great and
she gives a vibrant and distinctive rendition of songs from her two
albums. The DVD does a nice job in presenting the concert, with an
excellent DTS soundtrack and a nice widescreen anamorphic transfer.