Sinead O’Connor delivers a raw, hypnotic and devastatingly relevant set at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
Sinead O’Connor’s comeback tour follows hot on the heels of an appearance on The Late Late Show in September this year, where the Irish icon propelled herself back into the limelight with a beautiful and memorable performance of Nothing Compares 2 U. After seven years of silence, this is a highly anticipated season for fans of the singer, who all file into the Shepard’s Bush Empire tonight for the only English tour date.
Working with her latest material from the 2014 album I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss, O’Connor opens with Take Me to Church; a euphoric starter that undeniably wows the audience. The singer’s undying talent is showcased from the start and doesn’t falter as she weaves her way into earlier material. 4th Vine, Reason With Me and Jealous are beautifully crafted with the accompanying riffs of her young band, who compliment her throughout the performance.
Sinead O’Connor’s prevalent influence on iconic music groups such as The Cranberries is perhaps clearer than ever, but she remains head and shoulders above with songs such as these, loaded with raw emotion and individual styling.
By taking away the thumping symbol in I am Stretched on Your Grave, O’Connor transforms this unique track from her 1990 album into something closer to a hymn. For those packed into the Empire, swaying and tapping their feet to the classic pop-rock hits before, this could easily be an unwelcome step sideways. But throughout, you could hear a pin drop and the silence is only broken at the end by raucous applause. For her 1994 hit In This Heart, the artist welcomes her guitarists on stage to sing with her, creating a three-part luscious harmony that stretches up to the rooftop.
Rounding out the set with more hits from earlier albums in Black Boys on Mopeds, the utterance of “these are dangerous days” brings agreement and even a loud exclamation of “f**k the Tories” from the audience. It hushes the room into silence once again, devastatingly as relevant to our times now as it was in 1990.
After a night of musical artistry, it’s clear that while Sinead O’Connor may have changed plenty in the last seven years, her penchant for hypnotic ballads and well-versed pop-rock laced with catchy hooks and choruses certainly has remained.
Photos: Guifre de Peray
For further information and future events visit Sinead O’Connor’s website here.
Watch the video for Nothing Compares 2 U here: