Fans get quite the special show as Dodie’s tour stops in Boston


Katrina Sanville

The dodie concert in Boston, MA. Photo by Katrina Sanville / Mass Media Staff

Katrina Sanville, Arts Editor

For musicians and their fans alike, the wait to begin performing and touring in front of a live audience felt like an eternity during the pandemic. Eventually, though, restrictions began to lift and artists began to schedule tours to perform for fans across North America, as well as the world.

When some of my favorite artists first announced they were going to be going on tour, I was hesitant. Even though I had been vaccinated and I wear my mask constantly, heading into a crowd of people for two hours sounded like a recipe to get sick. However, when Dodie announced she’d be going on tour and requiring all attendees to be masked and vaccinated, I felt a bit better. I had seen Dodie once before at the House of Blues in 2019, and I had definitely missed the warm atmosphere of her concerts, so my tickets were purchased as soon as I could.

British singer-songwriter Dodie Clark, known more commonly by her stage name “dodie” or her handle on all social media platforms “doddleoddle,” rose to fame from posting YouTube videos of both original songs and song covers on her main account doddleoddle, which has now accumulated over two million subscribers. Dodie has released four albums and held subsequent tours for each album; “Intertwined” in 2016, “You” in 2017, “Human” in 2019 and “Build a Problem” in 2021, as well as an autobiographical novel “Secrets for the Mad: Obsessions, Confessions and Life Lessons” in 2017 (1).

Similarly, Dodie’s supporting act, another singer-songwriter Lizzy McAlpine, also gained most of her support and fanbase from social media. McAlpine gathered most of her fans from TikTok and Instagram, with her unreleased song “You Ruined the 1975” having almost nine million views on TikTok as of February 2022. McAlpine has released two albums, “Indigo” in 2018, and “Give Me a Minute” in 2020 and dozens of singles, as well as an album scheduled to be released on April 8, 2022. She is also a Massachusetts university student alumni, having studied at Berklee College of Music, and began a series on her Instagram with concerts called #BerkleeAtHome during the pandemic, before leaving in her junior year to make music full time (2).

The Boston date of the Build a Problem tour was originally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 25, however, due to the snowstorm that impacted much of Massachusetts—including Boston—the show was postponed until the following day. However, the storm did little to stop the energy of the audience, or the enthusiasm of the performing acts.

Lizzy McAlpine’s set began at 7:30 p.m., to the song “doomsday,” off her new album. I had heard McAlpine’s music in passing, especially since my friends are fans of hers, but the concert was the first time I listened to her music with my full attention, and I can state that I will absolutely be a fan of hers within the next few months! Though her performance was much more low-key than Dodie’s, I loved McAlpine’s stage presence and the tone of her voice. She was so electric and entertaining on stage, including when the strap of her guitar broke in the middle of a song and she made jokes the entire time it was being fixed. The audience was also able to hear a new song she had been working on in place of a cover of Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirtbag,” which was a bit disappointing based on my friends’ descriptions of the cover but completely worth it based on hearing the new song.

The opening notes of the first song “Air So Sweet,” which was also the first song off the tour’s namesake album “Build a Problem,” created a dreamy, angelic feeling only emphasized by Dodie’s fluffy dress fit for a princess.

Though Dodie’s music is not typically the type one would jam out to at a concert to, but rather play on shuffle in their bedroom as a sort of pseudo-therapy session, I was unable to look away from the stage the entire time. The energy on stage was electric, between Dodie herself and her band and the chemistry between them, no matter where my attention was focused on the stage, I was in for a treat.

Dodie’s set was just about an hour and a half, however, this time felt like mere minutes. She played a combination of her classic songs, such as “She” and “Human” from her “Human” record; as well as “Sick of Losing Soulmates” and “When”—which had gotten a rerecording to be on the “Build a Problem” album—from her “Intertwined” EP; along with songs like “6/10” from her “You” EP being featured on the “Sad Song Mashup”; as well as plenty of tracks from her tour’s namesake album.

One of my favorite parts of the concert had been the use of minimal props, especially during the middle “sad” section. There was a bed, a desk and an upright piano, all of which were used by Dodie throughout her songs and in between pieces to convey a full story. The album, “Build a Problem,” flows incredibly well from one song to the next, so having that portrayed on a stage was beautiful to see.

The sense of community was also beautiful to see. In a theater setting, being an audience member can feel isolating in comparison to a general admission concert, however the crowd at Dodie’s show made sure that was not the case. Whether it was joyously singing along to old songs from her catalogue, dancing around despite the cramped seating or shouting out responses to Dodie’s banter, the cold space of assigned seating felt a bit warmer.

Dodie, too, had plenty of fun with the audience. In “Special Girl,” one of the songs off her new album, Dodie grabbed one of her band members, dipped her and kissed her, followed by fanfare from the audience. Dodie also would have fun quips and one liners with the audience, such as making comments about how beautiful Boston was—even though she didn’t forgive the audience for throwing away the British tea—or squeezing in an ad-lib during the song “In the Middle” to say, “‘What are you doing Friday?’ Not coming to the Boston show because it’s been postponed!”

 The electric show ended with a outfit change into the signature costume from the “Hate Myself” music video and the corresponding song, as well as a salute to the audience, followed by bows set to “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond—that Dodie performed at her last show in Boston back in 2019 as a tribute to the city—which wrapped up the show perfectly for Boston. Not even the snow or a pandemic could keep Dodie from performing, and it wouldn’t stop New Englanders from coming, either.