In its 84 years, the historic Herbst Theatre hasn’t seen anything like what Lido brought to the stage on Wednesday night in San Francisco, and may never again. Just recently turned only 24 years old last week, he’s come a long way from his small hometown in Norway. In the past couple of years, he has produced Halsey’s debut record and worked on Chance the Rapper’s outstanding 2016 album, Colouring Book. This time, the spotlight is solely on Lido and his story, the evocative album Everything.
His first performances in San Francisco were sold-out shows in small clubs like Rickshaw Stop and Mezzanine. In just a year and a half he has debuted Everything at Coachella and played some of the country’s most special venues. It’s a true testament to the hard work of the artist and his team.
Watching Lido perform, it’s evident that he is the music. He embodies the dynamic sound in the way he moves, his expressions, and the way he plays the notes and sounds he’s so meticulously pieced together.
He felt it all, and so did we, the audience. I had the same feeling you get as a kid going to one of your first concerts – you’re just that excited. He was captivating on so many levels.
It was obvious from the first moment that enormous detail and meticulous thought went into every aspect, from location to design and sound, as well as performance-wise. However, the amount of production was just right: maximum impact but only what was needed. There was an elegance and complexity to everything but it wasn’t overdone, there was plenty of free feeling and a sort of punk attitude, just like himself. Lido has no need for big lights, a huge show; he does not need to rely on any of that.
He much reminded me of acts like Depeche Mode and The xx, with his merging of live piano, guitar, and drums with electronic elements and an affinity for r&b. They also share incredibly strong songwriting skills, emotional intensity, an ear for melody and beautiful aesthetics – though the latter two don’t have the same affinity for starting their sets by jumping off grand pianos as Lido does.
The opening scene has Lido sitting atop said piano between two mesh screens, doused in red lights as the rumbling blares of the intro to “Catharsis (ft. Halsey)” akin to warning sirens signal the start of a very special night. Leaping off the piano, he leads the attack on his drum set while a drumming figure is triggered on the mesh screens, ‘shattering’ upon beats.
It’s difficult to take your eyes off Lido as he runs around stage doing it all himself – piano, two sets of drums, beat pad, vocals – with no backup band. Lido brings us fully into his story, evoking the love and loss that Everything is about. We taste every color of the emotions that radiate from each note.
It’s difficult to choose favorite moments because they all saturated our senses in equal measure. Lido’s piano and voice on the effulgent “Angel” (paired with church stained-glass window projections) resounded with the vulnerability and honesty of all the tracks. “Crazy” was played heavy and hot, one of the most outwardly passionate tracks. Hearing the crowd singing along to the lyrics amplified the feeling.
“Murder,” the first single off of the album, was bound to be a crowd favorite, especially with the strings flowing at the end of this dangerous track. That’s where the whole audience rose from their seats in unison. Jaden Smith made a virtual cameo via a holograph-esque animated version of himself on the double mesh screens, rapping on “Citibike.” Visually, it was as perfect as one could achieve.
The venues for every city were chosen with the utmost care. Every aspect of the show played an essential part in telling the story. It was certainly one of the best designed light shows I have seen for any concert over the past few years. I was very pleasantly surprised by that. Each song’s lighting setup fit the atmosphere perfectly, a gorgeous combo of strobes, spotlighting and traditional concert lights that were anything but boring. Lido and his team proved that you don’t need huge projection screens and a gigantic lighting rig to create something with just as much visceral impact.
There is a soulfulness and authenticity in Lido’s music that makes it natural for him to connect with the audience. Lido’s love of a wide spectrum of eras, genres, and styles is transparent. His ear is unique and unrestricted whilst being true to himself. Mercurial and unpredictable are the words that come to mind. His music isn’t just one thing, one style; he can do anything he wants to.
Everything is played from beginning to end, a complete body of work. It’s more than just about a breakup, much more than that. It’s not common to be able to experience an album in full, in addition to this being a personal and intimate experience in one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever been in. And the songs were mesmerizing live, with room for movement and improvisation within the sonic structures.
The audience Lido attracts was incredibly receptive the entire time and didn’t hold back their love. Afterwards, the encore lightened the intense mood and was the perfect way to celebrate the first night of the U.S. tour. We were able to dance to songs from Life of Peder (his Kanye West Life of Pablo supermix), fan favorite remixes including Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Latch”, and a few from his EPs, like “I Love You” and “Ashley” from his Passion Project EP with Santell.
I knew Everything would be good, but I did not expect to be moved the way I was. I would love to see this show again if I could. I’ve attended a diverse range of gigs this year, from The Cure to Die Antwoord to Sampha and Sigur Ros, all top performers, and Lido fell in the top three. In the sea of electronic lights and sounds that accompany the endless number of producers and deejays, Lido shines distinctly. It’s a rare artist who can encompass so many things.
Lido plays the following cities next. Don’t miss him.
Mon, Nov 7
Rio Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Wed, Nov 9
The Theatre at the Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA, US
Fri, Nov 11
Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA, US
Sat, Nov 12
Apollo Theater, New York, NY, US
Wed, Nov 16
Toronto, ON – The Great Hall
Fri, Nov 18
Civic Opera House, Chicago, IL