Sinead O’Connor: It’s been 7 hours and 18 years…

Sinead O'Connor

No rest for the wicked and straight onto Blog No. 105; Sinead O’Connor, with Damien Demspey supporting.

Sinead played at the first Glastonbury I went to back in 1990; she was second on the bill on the Saturday night, playing before The Cure, riding high at that time with ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’.  It was a really impressive performance, one of the highlights of the weekend full of highlights.

This was back in the day before Glastonbury became the soulless, corporate shell of a festival it is now, back when there were two main stages (the Pyramid stage and the Acoustic tent), not the forty-something stages they have now and when Sunday was World Music day on the main stage.  As such, you could buy bootlegs of most of the performances the following day from a couple of stalls in the market, and I came away on the Sunday with the tapes for The Cure’s, Sinead O’Connor’s and *cough* Jesus Jones’ *cough* sets.  And then when I got back to civilisation, I went out and bought ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got’ at the first available opportunity.

Saturday’s show was, at it’s best, sublime. Particular highlights were a couple of songs from her new album, ‘Theology’ (‘If I Had A Vineyard’ and ‘Something Beautiful’, I think), an amazing acappella song (I don’t know what it was called), and the songs from ‘I Do Not Want…’, including a strangely mid-performance ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. However, the BCC, for all it’s amazing acoustics is a bit of a soulless seated venue and there was a noticeable lack in atmosphere.  In addition, she doesn’t come across, despite her amazing voice, as a very confident performer/communicator, singing with her eyes shut and singing to her feet for large periods of the concert and coming across as very nervous in the between-song banter, even when joking about her jeans falling down and telling the audience ‘no beaver shots!’ 

It wasn’t a great photographic experience; in usual fashion the ticket desk knew nothing about me photographing (although there was a ticket for me), there was the usual waiting around and speaking to half a dozen people to arrange taking photos, and after all that I could only photograph from the side aisle and had to kneel as not to block anyone’s views. Kneeling for 3 songs in one spot gets uncomfortable, means all your photos are from the same, very side-on position, and the low position means that the on-stage monitors and lights tower above you and limit your view. The distance that I was photographing from also shows up the age and image quality of my 3 year old, 6MP camera…  In addition, being so far to the side meant that when ever Sinead stepped back from her original mic stand position my view was partly obscured by the bassist’s and guitarist’s mic stands. Needless to say the best photos were the ones where there’s a mic stand across her…

A few more photos on flickr.

Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor

Sinead O'Connor

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