Sinead O’Connor

Atranquil spirit has overcome Sinead O'Connor, helped along by hip-hop beats and the Irish-inflected accoutrements of cello and accordion. She's plenty softer now --- the shaved head replaced by a bob, the militia outfits tossed aside for baggy trousers and tank top in a sunburst motif --- and the music is in character with the visuals. Ah, the power of resolution. But inner peace, coming from an artist who has banked on disillusionment, rage and the curious corners of love, doesn't carry the same clout. Her current EP, "Gospel Oak" on EMI/Chrysalis, is a solemn six-song reflection and its tenor guided the 65-minute, pre-encore show Saturday.

With:
Band: Clare Kenny, John Reynolds, Justin Adams, Caroline Dalem, Carol Isaacs, Kenny Campbell. Reviewed Aug. 16, 1997.

Gone are the sweeping stage rants and so, too, is the enthusiasm; she stays back now and giggles between songs, allowing her languid performing style to be overshadowed by her four rhythmless backup singers. We’ve seen the sinner, this is the saint.

What she does well, though, is sing, and in a ballad-heavy show such as this, it’s important that her vocals be top-notch. On the new “This IS a Rebel Song,” she turned one of the quietest moments of the evening into a show-stopper via her sober-yet-fervid delivery; when she later sang the cathartic words “thank you for staying with me” the well-filled house welcomed her with open arms.

Artists, and PJ Harvey comes immediately to mind, have refashioned themselves with splendid results, beaming with integrity and fire. O’Connor, however, needs a smaller venue to get this far-subtler point across. Even her most recent full-length work, 1994’s “Universal Mother,” was loaded with spiritual and personal questions, but now that she’s found some answers, it would be nice to have them delivered either with commentary or without the expectations of a full-blown show.

Sinead O'Connor

Greek Theater; 6,100 seats; $35.75 top

Production: Presented by Nederlander

Cast: Band: Clare Kenny, John Reynolds, Justin Adams, Caroline Dalem, Carol Isaacs, Kenny Campbell. Reviewed Aug. 16, 1997.

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