Dido + Sonia Stein @ Arena Birmingham, 28 November 2019

It’s been 15 years since anyone heard Dido live, but tonight she seemed like she has never left the stage. After going all around the world, she continued her tour in the UK, where Birmingham was the first stop!  Because her musical career started a long time ago, her fans have got older and the whole night felt like everyone went back in time, singing and dancing like they used to when they were younger.

Sonia Stein warmed up the crowd with her pop music dominated by a soulful voice. Probably not many had heard of her before but with only a 7 songs set, she made sure everyone would remember her. Her set covered themes like being an introvert and extrovert in the same time, drunkenness and falling in love. She sang new songs like “Coexist” and “Passerby”, old ones like “Symbol” and one that hasn’t even been released yet, “Drunk”, about which she explained that she wrote it when she was hungover and regretted what she had said the night before. 

“London Used to Feel so Cool” couldn’t be missed and its catchy chorus made everyone learn the words and sing along. Sonia also announced the release of her new EP “See Me Now” in January and she ended her set with the 2017 single, “Do You Love Me”, during which she convinced everyone present that we’ll definitely hear about her again, hopefully very soon.

After a 30 minute break, Dido, one of the UK’s best-selling artists, took off with the dramatic “Hurricane” and “Hell After This”, with fire projected behind her. The two songs are from her newest album “Still On My Mind”, released back in March. Her strong vocals reached every corner of the Arena and she revealed that her secret was honey, which she pours all over her face, a tip she stole from Kate Bush.

“Life For Rent” and “Hunter” were up next, and before continuing with the acoustic ballad “No Freedom”, she confessed that usually her inspiration consists of little things, but sometimes she writes about bigger things like love, God and death.

Later on Dido announced that after travelling all over the world, Birmingham felt like home, even though she’d never lived here (“yet”).

After a bit of hesitation, she finally asked a question she’d been asking everywhere she’d been on this tour: “Has anyone is this room had a holiday romance?” She explained that Germany went all quiet when she asked that but she was surprised to hear the cheers in the Birmingham Arena. She confessed that she had many holiday romances a while ago, before she got married. Something that I really liked about her concert was her interaction with the crowd was not just her talking, but she actually listened to what some people from the audience had to say. A couple said that they actually met on a holiday and they are still together and will get married soon. You probably guessed this already, but after this she sang “Sand In My Shoes”, a fun and energetic song about a romantic encounter she once had on holiday.

The nostalgia went away and next was gloomy “Giving You Up”, a song about that time when everything goes wrong. Many cheers and whistles were heard from all over the room after she finished the song, and she admitted that she’d never been able to whistle and she’d need someone to teach her how to do it.’

The much awaited moment came with the classic hit “Thank You”, when Dido asked everyone to sing along, confessing that she actually forgot the words the other day. As expected, the crowd was delighted by this performance and it almost made up for having to wait 15 years to hear it live again. This was the single that made Dido  famous worldwide, as Eminem sampled it on his track “Stan” back in the 2000s.

“Let’s chill for a moment” she said, before reminiscing with stories about her brother Rollo. With a laugh she said how he pushed her down the stairs when she was a 6 month old fat baby, but they are friends now. Actually he is the only person other than her who knows what’s happening inside her head so sometimes he writes songs for her, like the next one on the set, the gentle “Sitting On The Roof Of The World”.

As she sat crossed legged on the edge of the stage and made a joke about someone in the crowd having a guilty expression for using his phone when she looked at him, she sang “Quiet Times”, “a pretty song about depression”. At the end of the song she thanked everyone and expressed her worries about offending anyone at her other gigs as she tried to say ‘thank you’ in the local languages. Someone in the front rows shouted that she was there at one of Dido’s concerts in Brazil and she reassured her that her ‘thank you’ was alright.

As “See You When You’re 40” came on, she recalled that once, a long time ago, she was upset with someone and that was the most offensive thing she could tell them. But now as she’s approaching 48 she’s considering changing the title of the song.

Another song from her new album, “Mad Love”, had everyone singing the words along with Dido as the chorus was projected on the stage. From the catchy song to a less known one, the singer played “My Boy”, about which she said that probably there was only one person in the room who knew it, and that was someone who made a Lego version of the whole band.

She continued with a more weighty and heartfelt song, “Don’t Leave Home”, which is about addiction. She revealed that one of her friends once asked her to sing it at her wedding which she thought was a bit odd.

Going right back in time, Dido played the first song she ever wrote and recorded when she was a teenager, “Take My Hand”, which started in a slow manner and ended up with everyone swinging and dancing.

After a short break the band returned for “Have To Stay”, the song which explains Dido’s absence for the last 15 years, time she used to spend with her son. The atmosphere became magical as everyone turned on their phone torches and illuminated the whole venue, like a sea of fireflies.

Last but not least “White Flag” saw everyone standing up and dancing while singing every single word of the song. As expected, it was one of the highlights of the night as it’s one of Dido’s most famous songs.

The whole performance was breath-taking and Dido definitely made up for leaving the music scene for so long.




Hell After This

Life For Rent


No Freedom

Grafton Street

Sand In My Shoes

Give You Up

Thank You


Sitting On The Roof of the World

Quiet Times

Here With Me

See You When You’re 40

Mad Love

My Boy

Don’t Leave Home

Take My Hand

Have To Stay

White Flag


Review and Photographs: Andra Tudoran

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