.

Sinead O'Connor Kicks Off U.S. Tour

Impassioned L.A. set includes tribute to Whitney Houston

Sinead O'Connor performs at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.
Megan Mack
February 21, 2012 3:25 PM ET

Sinead O'Connor at her best is pure emotion and passion. Whatever your opinion – and everybody had one – of her famed Saturday Night Live incident, there was no denying her conviction. And that's what made her a great artist. Other singers might have been able to deliver a fine vocal performance on "Nothing Compares 2 U," but the list of vocalists who could make that heartbreak feel so tangible could probably be counted on one hand.

With a critically acclaimed new album, How About I Be Me (And You Be You)?, out today, O'Connor kicked off a brief U.S. tour at L.A.'s El Rey Theater last night. Right from the outset there were plenty of glimpses of her fiery nature. Taking the stage at quarter after nine to a packed and adoring throng – she was given three bouquets of flowers before "The Emperor's New Clothes" – O'Connor and her band kicked off the show with the new album's "Take Off Your Shoes," a sparse, devastating number puncutated by O'Connor's pointed reminder, "You are on hallowed ground."

Vocally, O'Connor doesn't have the same range she once did, something she acknowledged during "Nothing Compares 2 U" when she failed to hit a note. But her delivery was occasionally enough to offset that, as was the case with an a capella version of "I Am Stretched On Your Grave" she dedicated to Whitney Houston.  She also dedicated "Petit Poulet" to Houston's daughter, Bobbi Kristina. And the closing "Last Day of Our Acquaintance" was epic, filled with just as much anger and sorrow as when it jumped off I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got 22 years ago.  The album that made her a superstar, I Do Not Want provided several songs on the night, including "Three Babies" and "The Emperor's New Clothes." O'Connor also dipped heavily into the new album for songs like "V.I.P." and "Queen of Denmark," both performed during the encore, and "I Had A Baby."

Musically, she mixed things up a bit, incorporating a cello into both "Nothing Compares 2 U" and a sublime "Jealous." O'Connor also acknowledged her Twitter breakdown of last year – not specifically, but by joking about keeping her stage banter to a minimum for fear of saying something inappropriate. That became a running gag. Though she admitted she was nervous, in part because of the new album, her first in five years, she was often joyous, dancing about the stage and wearing a huge smile. She was perhaps comforted by her fans, who repeatedly yelled out their love for her. And that adoration is understandable. It's hard not to root for an artist who puts so much of herself out there. It's the only way Sinead O'Connor seemingly knows how to make music.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com