I was one of those people who absolutely adored Amy Winehouse and was devastated when she passed away in 2011. While I, like everyone else, was aware of her continued struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, I was always rooting for her and excited by the prospect of a new album and new tour, since I'd never got to seen her live. Of course, that never happened, much to my great sadness. Four years on, I still love her as much as I always did and am looking forward to seeing the new documentary Amy , which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this week and which Winehouse's family has recently shunned but which features personal and harrowing clips of the singer throughout her life. And while I'm excited about the "behind-the-scenes" look at Amy's life, there's one thing that always brings me back to her: that beautiful voice.
Winehouse may be gone from this world, but that doesn't mean she still doesn't live on through her music. While I never got to see her in concert, the live performances she gave over the years are still out there to be re-watched and appreciated, because no vocalist in recent history had so much soul, and her loss will always be felt.
Here are 7 of Winehouse's best live performances that'll be guaranteed to break your heart in the best way possible.
"Back to Black" at SXSW
Part of what I loved so much about Amy's performing is that it partially seemed nonchalant due to her inherent awkwardness/stage fright, but also because her voice was taking her somewhere else entirely that none of us could reach, only witness. She didn't need special effects or smoothing out, her voice was just amazing on its own, a fact that was most evident in her acoustic performances.
Her entire set at Glastonbury 2007
This was Amy at the height of the fame brought to her by the release of Back to Black, and man, was it amazing. While it's difficult not to notice that she was likely under the influence of a cocktail of drugs and alcohol during the performance, no one can deny the effortlessness of her voice throughout this set.
"Tears Dry On Their Own" from Other Voices 2006
This is one of my favorite songs of Amy's, one that harkens back to Motown with its soul and energy, and watching Amy perform it live was always transfixing. She completely melts into this one, likely thinking of all the times she'd been hurt in love. Man, it's good.
"You Know I'm No Good" from Live In London 2007
This performance featured on the DVD release of this concert, but "You Know I'm No Good" is definitely one of the highlights. This song is so feisty and powerful, and Amy is so sultry and convincing in this one... it's pretty mesmerizing to watch.
"Take The Box"/"In My Bed" at Baden Baden 2004
I've loved Amy since her first album, Frank, and this early performance in Germany of two songs from the album is just amazing. If there was ever any indication that Winehouse was going to be a massive star, it was this show. Just as a reminder, she was only 20 years old during this performance.
"Love Is A Losing Game" studio recording
Not only is this probably Winehouse's most heartbreaking song ever, this stripped back studio performance is just... other-worldly. I honestly am speechless every single time I watch this clip, and whenever I'm recommending her music to anyone, I always start with it.
"You Sent Me Flying" at Baden Baden 2004
That's right, another song from the Germany concert. It's just that good. "You Sent Me Flying" was another song from Winehouse's first album, Frank, and really showed off her vocal range, which is out of this world. I really miss her, guys.
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