The following is an excerpt from the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico. Photo by Bruce Markhoff.
Sinead O’Connor/MC Lyte – March 25, 1988
Sinead with Andy Rourke on bass, City Gardens. Photo by Mary Dunham-Smith
Gal Gaiser (City Gardens DJ): This was the most crowded I ever remember City Gardens. I literally could not get out of the DJ booth. It was only time I was ever told I had to play a certain type of music, because Sinead wanted all funk and rap played before her set. I remember her outside the building, and she was so slight, so little, leaning against the building with her arms folded, very quiet. She seemed introverted and shy and gave off a don’t-get-near-me vibe, but then she got up on stage and roared.
Carl Humenik: I didn’t even know who the hell she was. Her album had just come out. I saw a picture of her, and I was like, “What’s this? Some skinhead girl singing ‘Oi’!?” I was at the front door and heard knocking. I open the door and there she was. She was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my life. I just stood there frozen. Her manager was like, “Can we get in please?” I was just like… She just smiled and walked past me. I had never heard her music, and then she gets up there and starts singing. She has the most beautiful voice in the world. I still listen to her all the time. There’s not a song she sings that I don’t like. I just fell in love with her as soon as I saw her.
Fachtna O’Ceallaigh (Sinead O’Conner’s manager): I am not too sure that Sinead even remembers back that far. I was with her [at that show] as her manager, and I certainly remember being in Trenton. I am familiar with the name of the club, but not because Sinead played there, but because I was in Trenton on another occasion when I had made the acquaintance of MC Lyte, her brothers, and her manager/father. I had heard her first 12” single, “I Cram To Understand You, Sam” and flew to New York “find” her. I thought she would be great to do a rap remix of Sinead’s song, “I Want Your Hands On Me.” MC Lyte did it, and she opened for Sinead at a number of shows. A couple of her dancers at that time were from Trenton. I remember going to some kind of open air, country fair type thing in Trenton, all African American, and MC Lyte performed.
Deirdre Humenik (City Gardens employee): Sinead ran around the outside of building, just ran around the building in a frantic way, running laps, working off I don’t know what. Then she came into the back. I went to take her picture and she flipped out, and then she said, “I won’t show up in the photo anyway.”