In 1992, less than two weeks after tearing up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live, Sinead O’Connor took the stage at Bob Dylan‘s 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden. “I’m real proud to introduce this next artist,” said Kris Kristofferson. “Her name has become synonymous with courage and integrity.” The sold-out crowd didn’t share his opinion, and she was met with an overwhelming barrage of boos.
As the band played the opening notes of Dylan’s 1979 gospel classic “I Believe in You,” O’Connor stared back at the crowd in shock and disappointment. Kristofferson walked onstage to give her encouragement and the piano player started “I Believe in You” again, but O’Connor waved him off and refused to sing the song. Instead, she demanded that her mic be turned up and launched into an a cappella rendition of Bob Marley’s “War,” the same tune she did on Saturday Night Live to protest child abuse in the Catholic church. At the song’s conclusion, she ran into Kristofferson’s arms and finally broke down.
The show awkwardly continued with Neil Young‘s incredible version of “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.” The O’Connor incident was big news the next day in New York, but when the concert was released on CD the following year, it had been completely erased.