Amy Winehouse on the Edge

What exactly did people in Belgrade expect an Amy Winehouse gig to be like?

Whether or not Amy Winehouse’s music is to your personal taste, it does contain an element of authenticity, in the sense that it is not entirely predictable; and in a music industry where the personality of performers is packaged as part of the commodity, then Amy’s genuine addictions and flakiness is bound up with the image that they are selling.

Sadly, the life of being a professional performer does seem to involve risk of addiction; too many evening spent alone on the road; too much insecurity and nerves; too many insincere people seeking to attach themselves to your success. This provides some of the legendary colour of the industry, like George Jones’s wife Tammy Wynette taking all the booze out of their house, and taking the car keys so that he couldn’t go and get more drink, so he drove ten miles to a bar on the lawnmower.

I remember in 1979 or 1980 attending a Bauhaus gig in Oxford, where half way into the first song skinheads started mocking the band, the singer Pete Murphy hit one of them with the Mike stand, and the whole concert ended in a fight after about 2 minutes. Surely no-one there would have been disappointed, instead of just another concert, we had attended a small piece of rock and roll history.

I am sure that everyone hopes that Amy Winehouse resolves her addiction problems to her own satisfaction; but if concert goers in Belgrade wanted an entirely risk free evening, they could have stayed at home and listened to a CD, or gone to see Leona Lewis instead

21 comments on “Amy Winehouse on the Edge

  1. Joony Mac on said:

    I’d have been pissed off if I’d have been at your Bauhaus gig.

    Perhaps I wouldn’t have been 20 years ago. Getting old…

  2. anticapitalista on said:

    Tickets cost around 35-60 euros in a country whose average (official – I’m sure the real or median average is much lower) salary is around 800 euros a month.

    Might be one reason why they are pissed off?

  3. anticapitalista on said:

    #5 … and also a reason why those who paid for the tickets and went to see her expected something worthwhile for for their money.

  4. Uncle Albert on said:

    #4 35 – 60 euros to see Amy is thumping good value considering they got to see a performance the whole world is now talking about.
    It’s incredible value compared to seeing the Rolling Stones in Belgrade: 254 euros for an evening of unambiguous drivel.

  5. #6

    Well they were spectacularly ill advised then.

    Did they not bother to find out anything about her before buying the tickets. Would you buy a ticket to see Shane MacGowan or Pete Doherty witout feeling you were taking a risk?

    Some artists, like George Jones already mentioned, have been absolutely legendary for not even turning up to their gigs.

    Perhaps in Greece you are unaware of the tabloid feeding frenzy that has surrounded Amy Winehouses since, with people posting on chatrooms that they hope she dies soon, etc, etc.

  6. Incidently, I remember seeing the Adverts in about 1978 when Gaye Advert was too drunk to stand up.

    No one minded.

    Indeed if you recall, she just used to stand there motionless while she played bass, so not being able to stand was hr whole stage presence gone.

  7. anticapitalista on said:

    #9 But how much was the gig, how ‘hyped’ was it?
    I guess the Srbs are much like the greeks in that they don’t like being ripped off. If the Brits do, well … 🙂

  8. Kathy Earnshaw on said:

    The Pogues at the GLC Jobs for a Change Festival in Battersea Park, 1984. Shane McGowan so drunk two roadies held him up to the mic so that he could sing. Kids hanging out of trees and someone threw their trousers at Shane. The perfect gig and absolutely free.

  9. jim mclean on said:

    A bloody disgrace, nothing like that in my generation, thank god for Hendrix, Neil Young, Janis Joplin et al, and of course my new re-found favourite James Taylor.

  10. anticapitalista on said:

    BTW I remember going to see The Cure (yeah I know, my shame 🙂 ) in Manchester and the gig finished after about 15 mins because Robert Smith got a cob on. The crowd were not happy as ticket prices were well above the norm for the time.

  11. onlyoneteaminessex on said:

    Remember seeing the legendary jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in Colchester, he could hardly stand let alone play.

    Another like him was the very talented contemporary country singer/poet Townes Van Zandt.

    Last I heard about Amy Winehouse was that she’d become Buddhist, probably not the right time for her yet to work through her personal karma/life state ?

  12. #13

    I saw the Cure for free in about 1978/1979 at Corsham Art college (now long gone), whicj was before they wnet for that black clothing look, and bizarely Robert Smith had what seemed to be a sizeable bush stuck in his belt (not a euphimism, I mean a real bush as in a piece of shrubbery)

  13. SteveH on said:

    The record company or whoever is getting rich from this should refund the money of those that paid. How can any ‘artist’ be expected to turn up and perform like she did and it be acceptable? And I don’t buy this authentic shit either. I hope the next disgruntled set of fans lynch her and then spare us this so called ‘edgy talent’. Pouring drink down your face and stumbling around like a zombie has never struck me as radical or a refreshing alternative to ‘commercial’ stuff.

  14. Sam64 on said:

    Maybe, just maybe, the woman should have ‘got herself together’ before embarking on a European tour. If she wasn’t up to it, she shouldn’t have attempted it. We’ve all got memories of seeing great (and not so great) artists off their heads on stage and actually it isn’t that cool. I once saw Gill Scott Heron make an arse of himself at the Town & Country, Kentish Town, in (I think) 1988. Not long after he was banned from coming to the UK having been found with drugs at Heathrow. His obituaries noted his long and unsuccessful battle with crack cocaine. I hope Amy doesn’t go the same way. Chiding Serbs for being ‘so unrock roll’ seems a bit silly.

  15. Uncle Albert on said:

    #16: “I hope the next disgruntled set of fans lynch her… ” – you could have a great career with Associated Newspapers.

  16. Harsanyi_Janos on said:

    To add to the reminiscences; I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Cave was passed out onstage (drink or heroin – who knows) and Blixa Bargeld kicked him in the stomach in annoyance. I certainly did not feel very cheated.

  17. #16: I hope the next disgruntled set of fans lynch her and then spare us this so called ‘edgy talent’. – the rest of the tour has been cancelled while Ms Whitehouse stumbles her way off to ‘rehab’. No doubt to re-emerge with a press conference declaring angst and sorrow …and another album release.