Friday, April 30, 2010

Love for Courtney

Caution: This review of Wednesday's night's Hole show at Terminal 5 may disappoint with its lack of drama and other theatrics. The Internet was abuzz after Tuesday's show that Courtney Love was up to her old tricks, coming out and playing just 25 minutes and then a brief encore before calling it a night. It sounded like her typical routine -- give or take a microphone stand in the head -- so I went the following night prepared for anything (and less). Instead, Courtney -- looking like she was fresh from the beauty parlor ("Give me the Loretta Swit!") -- and her fake Hole-sters treated the crowd to a great show -- filled with old songs, new songs and a handful of interesting covers -- and then she called it a night. (It was kind of like going to a regular old concert.) But even while they were still onstage, my concertmate was already graciously trying to write me a headline for my review of Wednesday's show, with "Snore Through This" as his suggestion. Later, I caught up with someone I know who is friendly with Courtney who swore he loved the show, but then kept almost apologizing by saying she's "not the rock star she used to be" knowing that this was my first time seeing her live. Afterward, I couldn't help but think of Jim Morrison, who, after getting arrested on obscenity charges for allegedly exposing himself during a concert in Miami back in 1969. Once this happened, Doors concerts ceased being about the music as everyone was now showing up to see what Morrison would "do" next. Without theatrics, however, the Hole show was about the music -- and that was just fine with me. Sure, Courtney lacked a little stage presence for someone who has been around as long as she has. But I couldn't help but wonder if performing not completely out of her mind was a whole new experience for her. To be honest, I wasn't aware of how many devoted fans she has and was almost taken aback when the crowd knew every word (and breath) to every song she did off "Live Through This" -- "Miss World," "Violet" and "Doll Parts" -- and "Celebrity Skin" -- the brilliant title track, "Malibu" and "Northern Star." I have to say it's entirely different experience to hear hundreds of fans sing along to these angry anthems versus, say, a Madonna song. She did seven tracks of the new record, plus two Rolling Stones covers that she's been doing throughout this tour. In addition, she surprised us with "Gold Dust Woman" -- which the old Hole recorded in '96 for the soundtrack of "The Crow: City of Angels" -- and Big Star's classic "13," in a nod to the late Alex Chilton. I generally don't look at my watch much when I'm having fun at a concert. But I did jot down the set list, and by my count the band did 17 songs, which sounds like a completely normal-length -- one might even say typical or boring -- show to me. I haven't read many reviews from this tour, but I sure hope people don't beat Courtney up for being punctual and professional. At 45, it's far too late for her to die young. Instead of longing for the messy "rock star" days, I say her fans should fully embrace Courtney 2.0 -- who, assuming she stays relatively clean, I can see aging into a Debbie Harry by way of Marianne Faithfull type -- and enjoy the fact that she's still making good music. Hole, live @Terminal 5 April 28, 2010: "Sympathy for the Devil" (Rolling Stones cover) "Skinny Little Bitch" "Miss World" "Violet" "Nobody's Daughter" "Letter to God" "Pacific Coast Highway" "Gold Dust Woman" (Fleetwood Mac cover) "Someone Else's Bed" "Malibu" "Celebrity Skin" "Samantha" "Play With Fire" (Rolling Stones cover) "Doll Parts" "13" (Big Star cover) "Northern Star" "Never Go Hungry"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see Hole at First Ave in Minneapolis this July!