A SPECIAL alchemy occurs when a cherished performer enters a room filled to the rafters with fans whose love is so ardent that the place thrums with happiness.
So it was when O’Sullivan, dressed like a glitter goth, took the stage at the Music Hall, a venue she’s played so many times it must feel like a second home.
She opened with Nick Cave’s God is in the House, and for many that felt literally true.
It’s the tenth anniversary here for the singer the BBC dubbed The Queen of the Fringe, and she delivered a greatest hits set, on that familiar set, draped with fairy lights and wind-up birds, hanging ball gowns and a bunny night light.
In between songs by David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel, Cave and Leonard Cohen, she stopped to talk. Playful and accessible, she was effusive in her thanks, and it wasn’t long before the audience returned the love by meowing. (If you’ve seen her before you’ll know how poignant that felt; if you’re scratching your head, you must go and experience it for yourself.)
Watching O’Sullivan, one is reminded of Piaf or Billie Holiday – she sounds nothing like them, but her singing, as theirs did, channels emotion in its purest form. During the many slow ballads the hush was so profound that you could hear the audience blinking. It’s impossible to choose highlights from a concert that was uniformly fabulous, but the a capella Amsterdam (Brel) was a standout, as was her classic escapee from an insane asylum take on God’s Away on Business (Tom Waits).
Run ends 24 August