Sunday, June 19, 2011

Amy Winehouse – Do You Know The Way To San José? Belgrade May Show You

Amy Winehouse On Stage in Belgrade
      Last night, Amy Winehouse started off her European tour in Belgrade and things ended badly.  Actually, they didn’t quite start.  It was reported as an Internet story and we checked out the beginning of the concert on YouTube where she tried to perform “Just Friends” and another clip where she gave up on “Back to Black.”  Belgradians spent around $55 a ticket, which is about 12% of the average monthly salary in that city.  Remember, there was a terrible civil war there for years in the ‘90s and they were still shocked.  Hearing about it is hilarious, but seeing it
is tragic.  She throws down her mic stand at one point and someone screams in the audience.  I’m hoping no one was actually hurt.  “Back to Black,” one of the great songs of the past decade, turns into sing-a-long, though Amy cannot quite keep up with the audience and, after previously hugging him, she pushes away the back-up singer who valiantly and professionally tries not to overstep his role, while putting on a real concert for the 20,000 audience members.  

      I’ve made fun of Britney Spears and called her a train wreck, but part of that is because she isn’t a singer.  Mostly, she lip syncs and I’m not certain she even lays down the lead master tracks on her songs, at least not without many takes.  She’s a dancer and a provocateur, but she isn’t political and she’s no longer jailbait.  She has lovely manners in interviews and I don’t think she realized what she was signing up for when her mother drove her relentlessly.  Amy Winehouse is a different matter because, even if you don’t care for her music, she is talented – greatly talented and she wasn’t pushed into this at a tender age without her consent.  She chose it, but she also chose drugs and men that have been her undoing.  Her other problem is that she never comes across as a ‘nice person’ and that is the ultimate insult to Americans.  Sincerity is not as important as being polite when you don’t really know or have much interaction with the person.  She’s always seemed to be on a bender, hung over, or drugged out.  A four-letter word is never far from her tongue.  

      We look back at Judy Garland as one of the great entertainers of the 20th century, but she was like a yo-yo throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s as a live performer and infuriated as many as she turned into acolytes.  What would YouTube have made of her and her historic reputation?  For all those ‘parking cars and pumping gas’ in San José and dreaming of the big break in L.A. and many of whom are trying out for American Idol or The Voice or Platinum Hit or even going about it the old-fashioned way and working in bars or nightclubs, I hope your turn comes soon and that you don’t blow it.

Watch them if you dare:

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