Sinéad O’Connor has been labeled many things: controversial, rebellious, angry, lesbian, disrespectful. But she’s also an astonishing vocalist and poet, writing wonderfully original songs, songs that make you feel.

At the beautiful Orpheum Theatre, O’Connor played songs spanning her entire career, from 1990’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got and 1994’s Universal Mother to 2005’s Throw Down Your Arms and last year’s incredible Theology. “Nothing Compares 2 U” brought chills to the crowd, sounding as fresh as it did 17 years ago.

O’Connor is no-nonsense; she wears no make-up and frumpy clothes, sports a shaved head and still looks beautiful. She sings about the stupidity of war, the horror of abuse, the injustice of oppression.

She talks about Israel and God and the hypocrisy of nations. She dedicates songs to Britney Spears: “If you need a bodyguard, Britney, you’ve got me.”

What strikes you most about seeing O’Connor live is how maternal she is. Genuinely concerned about the world’s people, constantly seeking the light of love and God in her own soul, you get the sense she’s probably a great mother. The sentiment was exemplified by her song choice for her encore, “Black Boys on Mopeds:” England’s not the mythical land of Madame George and roses/It’s the home of police who kill black boys on mopeds/And I love my boy and that’s why I’m leaving/I don’t want him to be aware that there’s any such thing as grieving.”