Review of the Manchester show

Review: Sinead O'Connor @ Manchester International Festival

Monday 4th July 2011 By John Anson 

THE shaven headed, elfin-featured waif may have long disappeared but the talent and that voice remain undiminished.

The remit of the Manchester International Festival is to produce memorable events and a night with the often controversial, utterly compelling Ms O’Connor in a specially-erected marquee venue proved just that.

Sure she’s put on a bit of weight and, shock horror, she’s got hair but so what? The feistiness, the vulnerability and a voice that can melt your heart remain as strong as ever.

Sunday’s show - one of just three for the festival - included a number of new songs from her forthcoming album Home. From the opening Tubular Bells-like chords of Take Off Your Shoes which grew into a rousing, harmony-packed riot of a song to the cutting What Makes A Real VIP, the signs are that it’s going to be an album worth getting your hands on.

A tiny presence on stage, there was a touching insecurity about Sinead O’Connor, as she repeatedly gave her six-piece band the thumbs up during the opening numbers as if to say “this is going to be fine”.

Believe me, it was far, far better than that.

The band itself - only put together the week before - were superb, wrapping their music and vocal harmonies around the iconic presence at their head like a giant comfort blanket.

Running through her back catalogue, we were treated to songs from the albums Theology and Universal Mother and the Sly and Robbie produced album throw Down Your Arms.

And, naturally she did Nothing Compares 2 U. And it still has the power to make the hairs stand up on the back on your neck.

Sinead O’Connor is a unique artist and long may she continue to be so.

(c) 2011 Lancashire Telegraph