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LONDON (AFP) - Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse kicked off her 17-date tour with a shambolic performance that saw fuming fans booing and marching out, reports said Thursday.

The concert at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, was a chance for the 24-year-old to get back to singing and put her woes behind her. Winehouse has had "health issues" -- widely reported to be drug and alcohol abuse -- and her party-loving husband Blake Fielder-Civil is being held on grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice charges.

But Wednesday's gig at the NIA, which can hold up to 13,000 people, was slammed by angry fans as a "disgrace" after she turned up late and stumbled about the stage.

When punters started jeering, Winehouse snapped: "Let me tell you something. First of all, if you're booing, you're a mug for buying a ticket.

"Second, to all those booing, just wait till my husband gets out of incarceration -- and I mean that."

The Birmingham Mail newspaper's music critic Andy Coleman said it was "one of the saddest nights of my life".

"I saw a supremely talented artist reduced to tears, stumbling around the stage and, unforgivably, swearing at the audience," he wrote.

James Dyas demanded his money back, according to London's Evening Standard newspaper.

"She came on stage half an hour late. She managed four songs but was slurring her words and swaying all over the place," he said.

"She fell into the guitar stand and dropped the microphone -- it was atrocious. The song dedicated to her husband was so bad it was like swinging a cat round your head."

An, from Birmingham, commented on The Times newspaper's website: "Her singing was awful, out of tune and slurred. She sang for around 50 minutes -- drinking throughout.

"I have never seen so many people leave a show. 'Valerie' was my favourite song -- she massacred it!"

Pete Massera, from north-west England, added: "It was an absolutely atrocious gig. I, like many others in the audience, got our coats and left before she even finished the set."

Gary Atwell, from nearby Rugby, said "streams" of fans walked out, according to the BBC website.

"I went out for a sneaky cigarette half way through and at least 40 people left, just in that five minutes," he said.

"Valerie", the closing number, descended into chaos when Winehouse stopped singing, dropped the microphone and walked off stage.

Winehouse, named best British female solo artist at the Brit Awards in February, has rarely been out of the newspapers in recent months due to her lifestyle issues.

Edited by smallchevy
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She needs help, no doubt, but her pervasive problems are not without precedent. Other female Blues singers... Billie Holiday is one famous example, have had substance abuse problems. I am not defending her, she needs her ass kicked, because her voice is a gift.

I still love her "Back to Black" CD and I hope she can bounce back and give us more along those lines in the future.

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She needs to whack Kate Moss and get with Pete Doherty. They could be the new Kurt and Courtney.

Which reminds me...

When you want to call the front passenger seat, what do you call? Shotgun.

When you want to call the back seat behind the passenger instead of the driver? Kurt Cobain.

Behind the shotgun...


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part of this is society's problem because we glamorize these coked up addicts in the press. And somehow people think the only way you can be a worthwhile artist is to lead a not so humble self indulgent arrogant free wheeling lifestyle.

Fine. Go ahead and lead your effed up existence and pay the price then. We'll just take the next person in line to replace you and idolize you and tear you down again. You're just a media creation half the time anyways.

I tend to think a lot less about artists after I hear about this kind of crap. Like they have pain and angst in their lives that no other people have and i have to sit and listen to them dealing with it. News flash. Everyone has issues.

No doubt she does have some talent, but have some fricking dignity and self preservation skills and clean up. Then step up to the mic and see if there's anything worth talking about.

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