The Independent '95

The Independent London, England June 12, 1995

By Ryan Gilbey

The post of Lunatic Genius brings with it many duties -- snubbing national anthems, desecrating pictures of religious leaders. So no wonder Sinead O'Connor's appearance at the Fleadh on Saturday evening was so rare; she must have her Filofax packed with stunts to make Salman Rushdie look like Nanette Newman. The Pope was safe from her wrath tonight, though. For a whole hour, we were reminded of the Sinead O'Connor who first put the fear of God into us eight years ago. She has grown her hair out now, so she's more tomboy than Isle of Dogs skinhead, and her blouse burned white-hot in the dusk, singeing the eyes. The voice, meanwhile, set to work on your ears. On "The Emperor's new Clothes," she lowered it to a murmur before howling the line "I will sleep with a clear conscience," with a cheeky smirk and no little irony. "Red Football" was unleashed with stinging vitriol, the stage ablaze with light, her face gnarled with rage, while her delicate delivery of the honey-flavored "John, I Love You" was profoundly moving, its chiming refrain -- "There's life beyond your wildest dreams" -- handing like incense in the chilled night. It's comforting that, after all the suggestions that she had lost her marbles, O'Connor has clung onto a voice that not only wakes the dead, but brings tears to their parched ducts. You had better get acquainted with her music -- one day your grandchildren will be asking you about her.