Thursday, 6 June 2013

Sinead O'Connor at The Sage, Gateshead - review by Terry Kelly

Sinead O'Connor
The Sage Gateshead
Saturday 1 June 2013

PUT aside the controversy which often surrounds her life and one thing is obvious: Sinead O'Connor was born to sing.

Despite walking on stage wearing a priest's dog collar, a large crucifix and shades, O'Connor's offbeat garb mattered not one jot as soon as she opened her mouth.

Her gig at The Sage was the real deal and the Irish singer-songwriter played a blinder.

Opening with The Queen of Denmark, O'Connor stormed through the first six or seven numbers with passion and flair, her voice ranging from a whisper to a scream.

Supported by a quality band, including two women doubling up on bass, guitar and strong vocal harmonies, O'Connor never put a foot wrong throughout the 90-minute concert.

Her latest album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, provided some of the strongest material of the night, including the highly infectious 4th and Vine.

But O'Connor was able to switch from musical light to shade within a heartbeat.

Her unaccompanied version of the old Irish poem, I Am Stretched On Your Grave, was a spine-chilling highlight of the gig, O'Connor's searing vocal filling every inch of The Sage, making her version of her most famous international hit, Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U, seem fairly standard rock fare in comparison.

O'Connor covered most bases from her long and musically rich career, including a reworking of the early Fire on Babylon.

As an encore, she blasted celebrity culture with the brooding V.I.P, leaving her Tyneside fans shouting for more.
I went to the gig an interested observer, but came away a fan.

This was my concert of the year so far.