*More bad singing and flat notes plagued Whitney Houston during her return to the stage last night in Birmingham, England — and there’s a fresh crop of YouTube footage to prove it. [Scroll down to watch.]
The singer resumed the British leg of her European tour late Tuesday after cancelling a string of performances due to a respiratory infection — and critics of her stage shows picked up right where they left off.
“Houston, we still have a problem” was the conclusion of the bestselling tabloid the Sun on Wednesday in a brief review of the 46-year-old’s concert in Birmingham, the first stop of her British leg. “It was not the performance fans were hoping for.”
The BBC’s Colin Paterson said there were “great moments” during the show, highlighting “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK” and “How Will I Know.”
“But ‘I Will Always Love You’ will live long in the memory, and not for the right reasons,” he wrote, adding that Houston seemed to be short of breath throughout the concert, which she blamed on a cold and the air conditioning.
“Those going to see Whitney tonight in Nottingham will hope things are alright. If they are even OK, it will be an improvement on last night,” he wrote.
Alison Dayani of the Birmingham Post also said the singer appeared breathless, and broke up the set with water breaks and chats with the audience apparently to give her time to recover.
“The straw that finally broke the crowd’s back” came as Houston took a 15 minute break, and when a video of “One Moment In Time” was played there were boos in the arena, she added.
The Independent’s Elisa Bray was more positive, saying that Houston, hospitalized in Paris this month after suffering a respiratory infection, had learned to pace her set better than in Australia where she was panned by fans and critics.
“If tonight was the first to attempt to recreate her early zest, she did not quite make it. But it’s still an impressive voice — and you feel lucky to hear Houston live,” Bray said. “Tonight was definitely a spectacle — and for the most part in a good way.”
Houston has dismissed as “ridiculous” recent rumors that she had relapsed into drug use.
“At this point, I just don’t respond,” she told People magazine. “I don’t even read it.”
The singer is due to travel to Nottingham on Wednesday before hitting Dublin, Ireland, for three dates, Newcastle and London’s O2 Arena later this month. She then moves on to Italy, Switzerland and Germany.