By Kevin Fortuna
Last year I booked tickets for a Sinead O'Connor show at the Beacon Theatre in NYC promoting her new album, but then I got this notice:
Your Event Has Been Canceled SINEAD O'CONNOR
Attention ticket holder!
We just learned that your upcoming event has been canceled:
Tuesday, May 22nd at 8PM
As fans, we feel your pain! At least you don’t have to do anything to receive a refund.
We’ll automatically refund your order, including fees (except UPS and
InStore Pick Up, if applicable) to your credit card within 7 – 10
I was bummed. Her new album isn't her best work, but it does show that she hasn't lost her magic, and it's got some really great tracks on it like "4th and Vine." It also proves that her mental illness (bi-polar disorder) and whatever cocktail of psyche meds doctors had prescribed hasn't defeated her genius for melody and her glorious voice. I Googled her and pulled up some recent photos that showed how her illness and personal troubles had ravaged her physically. The show cancellation was blamed (possibly by her detractors) on a nervous breakdown, and I felt genuinely sorry for her. I've known people who have bi-polar disorder and I could only imagine how hard it would be to have it put on display in such a public way.
So when I saw that she was coming back to NYC and playing gigs at City Winery, I was determined to see her. The shows were all sold out and I had no luck getting tickets from brokers. But I went to City Winery anyway and scored a standing room spot for the show. I didn't know what to expect and I was blown away. She was nothing short of brilliant. She played a mix of new and old, reggae and Irish soul and her brand of rock pop. She sounded amazing and she looked like her old self -- fit, healthy and happy. She joked with the crowd and seemed to really enjoy performing. She commanded her band as well as the sound people with confidence and forcefulness and the kind of perfectionism that truly great musicians all have. My favorite tunes were "4th and Vine," "Three Babies," and "Last Day of Our Acquaintance." She also did a flawless version of her mega hit "Nothing Compares 2 U."
Maith a fheiceann tú ar ais, Sinead.