Sinead O’Connor – Ever Perplexing, Ever Remarkable

With a vocal prowess that improbably delivers both tenderness and urgency, Sinead O’Connor’s light has not dimmed.
She delivered a solid set at The Belly Up, backed by a crack five piece band.
Her prowess was first leveraged by The Edge, when he tapped her for a couple tracks on his 1986 soundtrack to “Captive.” As the only solo album to emanate from U2, his sound sculptures are made more intriguing under her vocal contributions. (She eventually categorized U2’s music as bombastic but likely changed her mind when collaborating with Bono on another soundtrack in 1993).
From “Captive” O’Connor launched a series of increasingly well-received albums.
As fame and accolades poured in, some said she let her politics get in the way, but her tearing up the Pope’s images over clerical abuse certainly echoed recently when Nancy Pelosi tore up the President’s State of the Union speech (or awards show script, depending on your perspective).
At The Belly Up O’Connor alternated ballads with more uptempo songs. The latter afforded guitarist Phil Edger room to stretch to brilliant effect. He is certainly O’Connor’s most potent onstage collaborator. It was not a far stretch to connect the several dots between Edger and The Edge.
Also assisting O’Connor at The Belly Up were Jackie Raynie (acoustic guitar), Eamon Ferris (drums), John McCullough (keyboards) and Darren Campbell (bass). They were a well-oiled and cohesive unit.
During a stunning a capella song, the barefoot O’Connor good naturedly laughed with the audience when a punter’s ill timed phone rang. She included a range of songs from her career, opening with “Queen of Denmark” and moving to “The Wolf is Getting Married.”
Her convictions have led her to being ordained as a priest and two years ago converting to Islam (hence her current attire). Her second song of the evening was “Take Me to Church.”

The structure of many of the evening’s songs drew on various strains of world music, and many arrangements built to surging anthems.
1990 was a mammoth year for O’Connor. Her rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” rocketed her to prominence. At The Belly Up she dropped a spellbinding version about an hour after taking the stage.

O’Connor definitely adheres to the adage ‘leave ‘em wanting more,’ as she left the stage about 75 minutes after the lights first went down.

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.