Sinead O’Connor – Barbican

Why this gig?

I’ve always been a big Sinead O’Connor fan. I carried on buying her albums long after the rest of the world had forgotten her – although I admit that I didn’t listen to some of the later ones very much. I saw her play at a Finsbury Park Fleadh at some point in the early 90s and thoroughly enjoyed it. On a whim, I bought a ticket to see her at the South Bank a few years ago and it was a complete revelation – not only was she still brilliant but the album she was promoting (How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?) was easily the best thing that she had released for twenty years. I saw her twice more on that tour and now see her whenever I can.

Support

The support act were Morrisey and Marshall. Their web site describes them as and “indie rock duo”, but I heard a modern-day Simon and Garfunkel. Enjoyable stuff though.

Headline

It’s a mark of how well her fans took to the How About I Be Me… album that she can start with two tracks from that album (“Queen of Denmark” and “4th and Vine”) and they get applause which is as rapturous as any song gets.

The rest of the set gives pretty good coverage across most of her career. Her first album is, surprisingly skipped, but there’s lots of great stuff here – from “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” to recent single “Take Me To Church”. The most surprising omission is her mega-hit “Nothing Compares 2 U”.

The band are all on top form and the audience are clearly enjoying themselves, but Sinead seems slightly ill at ease. Repeated problems with her in-ear monitors seem to knock her confidence slightly. I wonder if that’s why the show seems to wrap up a little sooner than expected. It’s all over by 9:45pm.

She’s still a great performer though. A lot of people are biased against her because of political statements she made over twenty years ago. It’s well worth putting your bias to one side and giving her another chance.

The set list is on setlist.fm.

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