Part of the Meltdown festival being curated by Patti Smith this year was an evening so perfect it was almost picked from my personal wishlist of people I’d love to see on one stage. The loose theme was William Blake’s Songs of Innocence though it was expanded in reality to include songs from and about childhood and even wider than that, protest songs. But essentially, it was just an excuse to see some seriously amazing female singers (and a couple of men) whom I loved for ages and I never thought I’d see on the same bill.
Tori Amos’ 4 songs were a personal highlight, getting to hear Silent All These Years and Winter from Little Earthquakes was amazing, plus Pretty Good Year and Mother Revolution added up to an emotionally wrenching and intense set. Sinéad O’Connor was much more low key than expected, a gently-strummed guitar backing a murmured, even placid collection of numbers of which only Scarlet Ribbons really made the impact I wanted from her. Beth Orton’s endearing goofiness made her brace of songs highly engaging, returning later to deliver Dolphins exceptionally well, and Marianne Faithful commanded huge presence especially with a scorching version of Working Class Hero.