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