Sinéad O’Connor

The Barbican Centre

13th April 2015

It’s a warm April evening and we head up to the Barbican Centre for a night of music supplied by prolific singer/song writer Sinéad O’Connor and supported by the very talented fellow Irish duo, Morrissey and Marshal. The Barbican is a beautiful venue with the acoustics able to bring shivers down any gig goers spine. The last time I went to see Sinéad live was at the Roundhouse last year and it was also my first encounter with those rich vocal tones in a live setting. Morrissey and Marshal coincidently also supported back then and left quite an impression on the crowd conjuring memories of an early Simon And Garfunkel. Sinéad’s set kicks off with the John Grant cover ‘Queen Of Denmark’. The audience erupted as she passionately set into the chorus and with her fist in the air she made the room shake! ‘4th And Vine’ was next up and it was taken to a whole new level enthused with such passion not unfamiliar with a live gig of hers. ‘Take Me To Church’ and ‘No Man’s Woman’ followed with the same drive and the audience were lapping it up! He joked about how bad she was at playing the guitar and that she’s thankful the band were there to fill in as she strummed the opening chords to ‘The Wolf Is Getting Married’. Things took a dark twist as the band grouped together to form the audio backdrop for ‘Harbour’ one of the tracks off O’Connor’s new album with its breathy opening and then a sudden push in to heavy’ish rock sounds combined with Sinéad’s bewitching vocal delivery.

‘In This Heart’ is a real emotional song that left many watery eyes in the venue. I witnessed her preform this again back at the Roundhouse and it is a real highlight as she approaches it as a cappella just as it is of the Universal Mother album and with each verse another band member joins in, first being Sinéad, then Brooke Supple (Rhythm), then Clare Kenny (Bass) then lastly then guys join in to give a real textured sound – The acoustics bring it to a whole other level. Next O’Connor explained that she lived in London from 98-2000 and that in light of the current situation in the US I made the choice of ‘Black Boys On Mopeds’ a very topical and poignant moment of the evening as the venue erupted with applause. Once again we were left with just her and the guitar as she again apologises about her guitar playing but then silences the room with ‘Dark I Am Yet Lovely’. ‘Jealous’ co written with Dave Stewart for Faith And Courage, this song was given a fresh lease of life with what sounded like a subtle Reggae under tone that gave it an interesting vibe and it totally worked!

At 48 Sinéad was very proud to announce to the audience that she has recently become a granny and supported a rather cute T-shirt that read ‘Grandma, 2015’ with a loading bar underneath. The next song of the evening was dedicated to her new grandchild ‘The Healing Room’ which was given a rather funky rework for this gig that again worked. ‘Thank You For Hearing Me’ is a song that was almost written for that room, you could hear a pin drop. ‘The Lamb’s Book Of Life’ is a song that I love but it just wasn’t happening here, it got off to an awkward start and Sinéad having to constantly signal for her monitor to be louder, shame really but just didn’t move me like it would normally do. ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ is a fan favorite and a staple of any Sinéad O’Connor gig and she delivered perfectly on this one as well as ‘The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance’. The band left the stage to huge cheers and applause. After a couple of minutes Sinéad came back out with her keyboard player, Graham Henderson to play an encore of ‘Street Cars’ followed by just Sinéad singing a cappella alone to a traditional Irish folk song ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ which was a fitting end to a beautiful evening. There was no sign of ‘Nothing Compares To You’ which seems to be another staple of the artists touring set, however she revealed earlier this year that she just doesn’t connect with the song any more so she intends to retire it after her next show.

There is no denying that there is something about Sinéad O’Connor that seems so effortless in her performance but at the same time you know that she is giving every ounce of her soul to each performance.


Kieran White