As she planned for a 12-date European tour this spring, Winehouse checked herself into the Priory clinic in London for a "rehab assessment," reportedly at her father's request. The clinic released her just a week later, allowing Winehouse to complete the rest of her treatment as an outpatient so she could go on the road. Her representative released a statement saying that Winehouse was "now looking forward to playing shows around Europe this summer and is raring to go."
"Before she went away, it all seemed fine – she did a gig at [London's] 100 Club, she did a little gig here," confirms the Hawley Arms' Charles-Ridler. "And she seemed really upbeat. The color in her face was a lot better and she seemed to have put on weight, and it was like the old Amy coming back."
But the first show on that tour, at Kalemegdan Park in Belgrade, Serbia, on June 18th, was a disaster. Before an audience of 20,000, a visibly inebriated Winehouse fumbled her lyrics, missed cues and occasionally stopped singing entirely while her backing vocalists carried on. The crowd began booing, and she threw a shoe at them. On June 21st, after footage of the performance went viral, Winehouse's rep announced that the singer was "withdrawing from all scheduled performances," canceling the 11 remaining dates and saying, "Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen." Her final public appearance came less than a week before her death, when Winehouse showed up onstage during a Bromfield gig at the London Roundhouse, dancing nearby while her goddaughter sang the Shirelles' "Mama Said." She looked sober but nervous, less like a lioness and more like a little girl.
For fans, one solace is the possibility that there is more music than just the few dozen tracks she released in her lifetime. There are Back to Black outtakes that could eventually see the light of day, and Winehouse was reported to be working with Remi, ?uestlove, Raphael Saadiq and others on a follow-up. When Hoffman visited her for Rolling Stone, Winehouse described what she had in mind: "When the songs are done, they'll be all atmospheric and cool like that. They might be like these girls I've been listening to, like the Shangri-Las."
And she was looking forward to brighter days. Remi says Winehouse was supposed to attend the wedding of her first manager, Nick Shymansky, the day after she died, and that he, Winehouse and Nas were planning to vacation together in Barbados this fall to celebrate the singer and rapper's shared birthday on September 14th. "We'd actually been working on her third album for the last three years – here in London, in Barbados, Jamaica and St. Lucia," Remi says. "We'd talk on Skype regularly for two or three hours at a time. She was better – better than she was three years ago, for sure, and in a different space. She's gone, but what she's done is going to live on forever."
Additional reporting by Patrick Doyle; Monica Herrera; Olly Parker and Courtney Rubin.
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