A rock concert on the Lifetime network, home of Attitudes and Moonlighting reruns? Well, if it had been a ZZ Top concert, that would be a surprise, but one featuring Sinead O’Connor makes sense: In the context of Lifetime’s women-oriented programming, showcasing this Irish pop feminist is a shrewd decision.
The Year of the Horse is impressive too. No one will ever accuse O’Connor of Milli Vanillizing her concerts: She improvises vocal pyrotechnics you won’t hear on her records.
Filmed last fall at the Ahoy Sportspalais in Rotterdam, O’Connor cuts her usual striking figure: bald head and black leotard with thick-soled black shoes. She dances around the stage in a floppy, loose-limbed manner, and seems, in general, friendlier than she does in interviews or her music videos.
The hour suffers from the usual televised-rock-concert problems: The excitement and warmth of a good performance are difficult to convey through the cold technology of TV, and the camera work is intrusive. When O’Connor simply stands still and sings, you’re peppered with multiple shots of her from an array of angles. Hold still, you’ll mutter, and let me concentrate on this! But these are quibbles; throughout The Year of the Horse, O’Connor comes across as both intelligent and exciting. B+