Pink, 43, kicked off her Summer Carnival tour on Wednesday, July 26, in Cincinnati, Ohio. At one point during the set, Pink paused to remember O’Connor’s life and legacy.
“When I was a little girl … I used to go down to the Ocean City boardwalk with my 10 dollars and I would make a demo tape,” she told the audience. “And it would always be either ‘Greatest Love of All’ by Whitney Houston or ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ by Sinead O’Connor.”
Pink then asked Carlile, 42, to join her on stage. (The “Broken Horses” artist is tagging along as support for Pink’s North American tour dates.)
In social media footage from the concert, Carlile and Pink complemented one another in dark and light outfits as they traded lines in a heartfelt arrangement of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” O’Connor released her version of the Prince hit in 1990, and it was named No. 1 single in the world at the Billboard Music Awards that same year.
Fans were moved to tears by Pink and Carlile’s “touching” performance, showering the women with praise via social media. “What a beautiful impromptu tribute,” one user tweeted.
A concertgoer who tweeted clips from the live show said the cover “was so beautiful, it made me cry.”
As the pair closed out their performance, Pink reminded the crowd, “You never know what people are going through. It’s not that hard to give people a smile … we’re all learning that lesson together now.”
O’Connor’s family confirmed her death to RTE on Wednesday, noting in a statement that they are “devastated” by the loss. She was 56 years old.
Pink previously put her spin on “Nothing Compares 2 U” in May during an appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room. Decades after the cover made O’Connor a household name, she opened up about where she stood with the song’s original artist.
“Did I ever meet Prince? I did and, we didn’t like each other. At all,” O’Connor told Uncut magazine in 2013. “I’m not going to go into it, but we detest each other. It got violent too, which is why I can’t go into it, but it is a very funny story. I’ll tell it when I’m an old lady and I write my book.”
O’Connor eventually did pen a memoir — 2021’s Rememberings — and further discussed her relationship with Prince. “[I] thought: He must be wanting to celebrate the song doing so well!” she wrote, recalling that the pair met briefly in 1988 but didn’t really connect until after her 1990 single. “There’ll be cake! Princes always have cake!”
However, O’Connor allegedly wasn’t met with a warm welcome. “I don’t work for you,” she recalled telling Prince, claiming he wasn’t happy with her explicit interviews. “If you don’t like it, you can f–k yourself.”