Amy Winehouse has jumped off the wagon in style by performing in Belgrade whilst being heavily under the influence of alcohol.
The 20,000 strong audience gathered at Kalemegdan Park in the Serbian Capital to catch a glimpse of Amy Winehouse, in what was meant to be the launch of her European tour, were not amused by the shambolic performance so they booed and jeered at the Back to Black singer who went on stage an hour late and was barely able to tell which country she was in.
Apparently she said "Hello Athens" and even may have made reference to the gig being in New York.
As a result of the performance Amy will not be performing in Athens or Istanbul leaving her next live date as July 8th in Bilbao, Spain but that date has also been put into question.
The reason given by Amy's management for pulling out of the next two performances in her European tour is as followsÂ "Despite feeling sure that she wanted to fulfill these commitments, she has agreed with management that she cannot perform to the best of her ability and will return home.Â She would like to apologise to fans expecting to see her at the shows but feels that this is the right thing to do."
In Serbia the average wage is Â£264 per month so a ticket costing Â£35 comes at great sacrifice to the individual and family of the purchaser.
To then turn up to a gig so drunk that you are incapable of performing is a disgrace but to do so to such an impoverished nation demonstrates little or no regard for the audience which have paid to see you.
There is a long tradition of romanticising the tragic figure of the fallen star who struggles with their demons and I for one would pay a years wage to go in a time machine back to 1967 to watch Syd Barrett dribble over his Telecaster in the UFO club.
We all have preferences, but to successfully pull off the role of elegantly wasted you must be original in your fall from grace, you must make your drunken and drug fueled antics interesting in order for the public to quantify them as the actions of a romantic figure thus transcending what is otherwise just some drunk trying to be cool by attempting to strike the pose of the tortured artist.
Turning up drunk just doesn't cut the cloth.
Almost every conceivableÂ drunken stage entry has been done with varying degrees of success andÂ enacted by greater talents than Amy Winehouse.
If Amy doesn't go back to Rehab and sort herself out once and for all, the paying audiences will say No No No.
And it is not just Amy who should take heed of this….there is a plethora of prima donnas who also think its cool to turn up to gigs "fashionably late" with no regard for the travel arrangements of those attending the concert.
There is always the technical gremlin which can cause delays and that goes as part of the course and audiences may not like this but they will forgive it providing that there is money back off the ticket.
As long as the artists are prepared to compensate appropriately an individual who has to leave a concert early due to the artist's late arrival upsettingÂ travel commitments or other time related restraints then there is no problem….but this could prove to be very costly and might actually shake artists into responsibility.
My sympathy goes out not just to the audience but to the backing band who just have to grin and bear it…..I know I have been there when some ego decides to turn up late on stage because their make up was wrong or they couldn't get enough cocaine down them before going on stage.
Next time you're at a gig and the "artist" is being a prat for what ever reason, don't take it out on the backing band……they usually get paid pittance to stand there and make the ego sound and look good……