The 40 greatest concerts in Boston history: 32

Sinéad O’Connor | Paradise Rock Club | March 31, 1988
By PHOENIX STAFF  |  October 25, 2006

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Sinéad O'Connor circa 1992
At a pre-show press conference, O’Connor had made some inflammatory remarks about supporting the IRA, stoking the flames of a hugely controversial issue here in Boston. But it was on stage and in the filigrees of her unique vocals that O’Connor revealed the most about herself. When soaring through the crescendo of her radio hit “Mandinka” and scaling the operatic walls of “Jerusalem,” the sweeping peaks and valleys of her voice were breathtaking, utterly unique. Others had experimented with unpredictable stylistic flourishes. But O’Connor’s range, pure sustained tone, and unpredictable turns of phrase immediately marked the emergence of one of the most unique female rock singers of our time. She was riveting, with her pale skin and raiment bathed in blue light, and her understated band allowed O’Connor to burn all the more brightly. The zenith was “Troy.” Standing still, eyes closed, O’Connor delivered her epic tale of love, devotion, fear, want, and abandonment as if it was a prayer to the cosmos. If God can be found anywhere, it’s in moments like that.
40 39 38 37 36 35 34 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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