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Eagle Vision presents
Sinead O'Connor: Goodnight, Thank You, You've Been a Lovely Audience (2003)

"Sometimes you can just avoid a song because it will make you cry. Those are the ones you should sing."
- Sinčad O'Connor

Review By: Jesse Shanks  
Published: September 22, 2003

Stars: Sinead O'Connor
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Run Time: 01h:48m:02
Release Date: August 26, 2003
UPC: 0801213004492
Genre: folk


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A AB-A A-

DVD Review

When Sinčad O'Connor hit the airwaves with a dramatic video of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U in 1990, it began a contentious relationship between the Irish singer and American. Controversies followed including criticism of her request to not have the American national anthem played before her concerts by standup luminaries of patriotism, such as Frank Sinatra, and her now-legendary (and indeed, scrubbed from the repeats) tearing up of a photo of the Pope. The latter was followed shortly by one of the low points in both New York fandom and those who claim to be Bob Dylan fans, when she was booed off the stage at Madison Square Garden by idiots, the result of which was only to rob Bob and others of her compelling version of Dylan's I Believe in You. Through the nineties, O'Connor ran a rocky course of balancing the idealism of her beliefs with the compromises of being a pop singer. Her albums could not match the intensity or popularity of the incredible I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got, but what could? Recently, she recorded an album of traditional Irish music called Sean-Nós Nua, and then announced her retirement as a public figure (again.)

With the airwaves so full of female singers who are, in fact, inconsequential; who buffet our ears with songs of fluff and repetition; who aggravate with their blatant commercial sexuality that it is a shame to see an artist like O'Connor not given her due. She is worth a thousand Britney-Christinas. My choice is that Britney-Christina will retire and Sinèad will make another album. Many have reacted with skepticism to Sinèad's retirement announcement, thinking it perhaps a cynical attempt to sell a few more records. In reality, the negative treatment accorded Sinèad and the glorification of her antipodes Britney-Christina says more about us than about them.

Goodnight, Thank You, You've Been a Lovely Audience captures O'Connor live in front of an Irish audience in Dublin on her first tour of her home country in six years. The presentation features predominately songs from Sean-Nós Nua, which is Gaelic for "Old Style New," but also contains some of her most famous songs. Backing "the bald one who sings" here are Graham Henderson (guitar), Carol Isaacs (keyboards), Caroline Dale (cello), John Reynolds (drums), Rob O'Geibheannaigh (flute), Steve Wickham (fiddle), Sharon Shannon (accordion), and Clare Kenny (bass)—and a fine group of players they are.

Molly Malone, Óró Sé Do Bheatha 'Bhaile, The Singing Bird, My Lagan Love start the show with a straight dose of traditional Irish from the new album and are just beautiful listening. Her band is very sympathetic and their combinations of complex sounds with O'Connor's voice are very compelling, breathing new life into this old music. The concert switches gears and genre with a romp through I Am Stretched On Your Grave and Nothing Compares 2 U from I Do Not Want What I Have Not Got, and provides outstanding and haunting versions of each. A beautiful rendition of the ballad John I Love You from 1994's Universal Mother slows things down for a return to Irish balladry with The Moorlough Shore, also from Sean-Nós Nua. Then, the band essays a stunning version of the theme from the 1993 Daniel Day-Lewis film, In the Name of the Father, You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart, with a chilling distortion guitar over piano and fiddle. The tale of an Irish immigrant to America forced into service in the Union Army during the Civil War forms the story of Paddy's Lament and speaks volumes. A trio of potent Sinèad bonafides finish out the concert film with Thank You For Hearing Me and Fire on Babylon from Universal Mother and then The Last Day of Our Acquaintance from I Don't Want.

All in all, a fine recording of a fantastic female singer at the height of her powers. If we are indeed seeing the last recordings of Sinèad O'Connor, the world will be worse for it.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The video transfer is a mixed bag. The positive includes the 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, which is much superior to the full-frame version that was seen on DirecTV's free view. There is a nice expansiveness to the video that opens up the visuals and evokes the concert hall. Most concerts seem so small and cramped full frame and here the staging of the concert is nicely captured in the subtle editing that avoids the hoariest of concert video clichés. On the negative side is the inconsistent color and washed out quality to the video as a whole. It is difficult to determine if this a fault of the original lighting that the concert was filmed in, the filming method or the transfer, but the picture often looks like a second-generation VCR recording. This is confirmed by the excellent, crisp and colorful pictures found in the videos in the extras.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Goodnight, Thank You, You've Been a Lovely Audience provides three very good audio tracks. The DTS is very potent and is my preferred listening mode for this disc. Sinéd's vocals are very up-front and crisp, even in her most histrionic moments. There is a lovely mix of acoustic and electric instrumentation that is spaced excellently in the spectrum. The Dolby 5.1 seems slightly lesser and lacking a certain umph, but is still a quality listen. However, subsequent viewings have sent me quickly to DTS. The Dolby 2.0 is quite good even though it certainly sounds muffled and crowded in comparison to the multichannel versions. The videos suffer the least from this issue and sound very good in the 2.0.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 13 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 13 cues and remote access
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Videos:Peggy Gordon, Molly Malone, The Moorlough Shore, The Singing Bird, My Lagan Love and ÓrÓró Sé Do Bheatha 'Bhaile
Extras Review: An acceptable set of extras that could have been enhanced by providing some information about the players.

The Song of Heart's Desire (52m:10s) is a nicely-made documentary about the making of the album Sean-Nós Nua and describes O'Connor's desire and purpose in covering classics of Irish music. Interesting discussion of traditional music and what it means as part of our modern culture. The film includes snippets of Sinèad recording the album and riveting snippets of Lasairfhíona Ní Chonaola and Treasa Ní Mhiolláin singing in Gaelic. Producer Donal Lunny has some interesting remarks about Irish music, Sinèad and the album.

Videos: Peggy Gordon, Molly Malone, The Moorlough Shore, The Singing Bird, My Lagan Love and ÓrÓró Sé Do Bheatha 'Bhaile are presented in fairly straightforward and lovely videos that don't feature any of the pyrotechnics that might be expected like waterfalls and exploding heads. Molly Malone evokes the original Sinèad video of Nothing Compares 2 U with the single shot of her face throughout.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Essential for fans of Sinčad O'Connor, with an excellent concert recording, a set of videos, and a documentary.

 


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