ABU DHABI // Concert-goers yesterday spoke of their disappointment at what they described as a "car crash" performance by the English singer Amy Winehouse.
The pop star appeared in concert in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Dubai Festival City on Friday, as part of the culmination of the city's annual Gulf Bike Week event.
But the singer-songwriter - whose troubled lifestyle constantly features in British tabloid newspapers - angered fans by leaving the stage for 10 minutes midway through her set.
Her backing singers then had to cover for her over the next three songs.
Some concert-goers booed when she returned. Others stayed, despite many of them being unable to hear her.
Winehouse also forgot some of her lyrics, even those of her bigger hits, such as Valerie and Rehab.
Christina Smith, a 31-year-old teacher from Liverpool, said: "She would look around as if saying 'Oh ... I forgot my words'. She was like a little girl singing along to herself.
"At some point she pointed her finger to her head as if saying 'shoot me now'. It was a car crash."
Ms Smith said she would be asking for a refund for at least half of the ticket price.
Thomas Ovesen, the chief operating officer of the concert organiser Done Events, said "nothing was guaranteed" in a live performance.
"If any of her fans were disappointed I am sure she will be the one the most disappointed," he said.
"All we can do is set up the production and accommodate the fans and then hope she delivers a show the fans will like - if you pay to attend you have a right to review and even dislike her show and that is the nature of live entertainment.
"When you attend an Amy Winehouse concert I would assume most people don't really know what to expect, so as she performed all her hits, did a longer set than anticipated and didn't run off half way through, I think she has delivered.
"Fans vote with their feet. Last night 10,000 fans saw her full length show complete with all her hits. Whether they decide to ever again attend another Amy Winehouse concert will be a matter for them to decide on and obviously something the artist will need to be considering."
Kate Donaghy, a 25-year-old from the UK, said: "She sang all of the songs as if she was bored, not there. We paid Dh300 a ticket. It was not worth what we paid for."
Mahmoud al Khoja, a 29-year-old Lebanese national who works in business consultancy, said the concert was not all bad.
"The last three songs were really good. She did an encore which was really good also."
However, Mr al Khoja, who paid Dh500 for a ticket in the fifth row, said he would also be seeking a refund.