British songstress Amy Winehouse left a 10,000 strong crowd disappointed, angry and bemused following a less-than-stellar performance in Dubai on Friday night.
Singing as part of Gulf Bike Week, Winehouse came on stage late, mumbled through four or five songs and then promptly left the stage, leaving her backup singers to take over and perform the next few songs. Once back on stage, things didn’t improve. Winehouse was visibly disturbed – repeatedly scratching her arms and nose, picking her fingernails and avoiding eye contact with the audience for much of the gig – and appeared to forget the lyrics to many of her major hits.
Tour sound engineers and lighting designers scrambled to keep up with the singer’s erratic behaviour and the event’s vision mixer was forced to include extended sequences of the band on the two screens either side of the stage.
Winehouse’s manager released a statement blaming “technical issues” particularly with the in-ear system for the singer’s poor performance, a claim which the local production team strongly disputes.
“Her tour manager sent me an email saying that they were really happy with the production side of things, thanking us for our patience and saying that the fault was on their side,” said In House Productions MD Nick Groves.
A campaign by ticket holders to get refunds from organiser Done Events is gaining steam, but the company’s COO Thomas Ovesen has told local media that there was no guarantee on the quality of Winehouse’s performance.
“This is Amy Winehouse in February 2011. If fans are disappointed, I’m sure she is too. That’s how she does it, that’s her live performance style,” he said. “The way she interacts with her fans is her decision and responsibility.”
He said a ticket refund was not possible. “If you go and watch a movie and don’t like it, would you ask for a refund? Of course not. When you pay money, you have every right to review it and dislike it if you want.”