By Helin Jung
Updated March 14, 2007 at 12:00 PM EDT

Perhaps the biggest surprise of last night’s Amy Winehouse show at the BoweryBallroom in New York City was that she showed up at all. A notoriously volatile songstress and the latest Brit Award recipient for Best Female Solo Artist, Winehouse has made a few notable cancellations recently — we got her on a comparatively good day, and the sold-out room welcomed her with palpable adoration.

A 10-member band of burly, sharply-dressed men announced a tiny, teetering creature and she entered, shrouded by a beehive of hair, all tangled up in a giant nest. Festooned with dark eye makeup and naked lady tattoos, Winehouse regularly struts about the stage with guns blazing, or so it would seem. In truth, for much of the show, her performance was distant. Winehouse looked absent as she launched into her rather brief set (mostly tracks off her new album, Back to Black), at times overwhelmed by her gleeful giant bandmates. The crowd wasn’t bothered, though, beaming, singing, and cheering, as if to their own amazement. In the end, her singular voice broke through. There it was, undeniably, the sonic fierceness that, when matched with her melancholy, autobiographical lyrics, brought tapping foot and aching heart together.

addCredit(“Amy Winehouse: Jason Sheldon/”)