Amy Winehouse: The diva that represented a part of us.
Amy Winehouse had a voice that spoke to me the moment I heard it. I was living in the midwest at the time Rehab came out, and I remember a friend talking about “the rehab song” that they kept playing in the clubs on the weekend. I went home and downloaded the album Back to Black and became immediately hooked.
Back to Black is a beautifully crafted album, and I could go on about it’s arrangements and borrowing from the Motown style. But what caught me about the whole thing was this woman with a deep, soulful voice, singing about modern love and relationships in a way that said, “I’ve been there too.” It wasn’t just the lyrics themselves, but it was the way she sang it with her voice that let you know she’d been there and back, and sometimes there and back again.
After listening to her album, I decided that I had to see this chick perform live. I called up a friend in DC who was a music lover and we agreed to meet in Philadelphia to see her perform at the Electric Factory.
The night of the show was an amazing experience. Living in the midwest at the time, I was a little cut off from urban culture, so I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the crowd. We got there and I was pleasantly surprised to see a diverse group of people mostly in their 30′s all the way up to 50′s. I still wasn’t sure if this was going to be a dead audience or not but all of that changed when Amy hit the stage.
The crowd was ready for her to do her thing and she delivered every song from the album perfectly and with the full force of her voice. Folks were dancing and grooving everywhere. She’d stop in between songs to say something in an extremely thick British accent and to take gulps from a red cup.
To this day, Amy Winehouse has been one of the best concerts I’ve ever experienced. While Back to Black spoke to the joys and heartache of modern love, her delivery of the album in concert gave you that wink-wink, nose rub feeling that love can suck, but we’re going to party anyway.
When Amy’s real rehab troubles started, I intentionally stopped keeping up with the news reports. I wanted to know her for what she represented with Back to Black, and hold out hope that she would come back to that reality soon. While her passing isn’t surprising, it’s hard to deal with, because you wanted her to remember what she wanted you to remember about love and love lost; that the tears dry on their own.
RIP Amy Winehouse.