I wasn’t sure what to expect from Courtney Love’s sold-out show at the Belly Up. The extent of my knowledge about her was limited to her marriage to grunge icon Kurt Cobain of Seattle’s own Nirvana. I knew she had fronted the punk band Hole. I had heard about her erratic and sometimes confrontational stage behavior, and her penchant for showing up late for shows (sometimes very late). But rather than research her music as I usually do, sometimes I just like to show up and be surprised at what I hear. And man, I was surprised.
After a mellow opening set by her guitarist, singer/songwriter Ginger Wildheart, Love came on stage for his final song, a duet cover of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender”. This is where the fun begins. Some asshat in the back decided it would be cool to throw a handful of ice at Love. Anyone with an IQ over 30 knows that when you get hit by thrown ice, it’s like being hit by a thrown rock. My hat’s off to Ms. Love though, aside from a few expletives, she kept her cool. Unfortunately for those extremely dedicated fans in the front (who waited hours in line to get those precious spots), the venue decided that several very large security guards would be placed at the front of the stage to prevent further asshats from throwing things or threatening Ms. Love’s safety.
After a short break between sets, Courtney came out (on time!) in a stunningly sexy black pantsuit (cigarette dangling from the corner of her lip) with a bouquet of roses, throwing handfuls of rose petals to the crowd. Not the train wreck I was expecting. She briefly put down the roses to strap on her Rickenbacker guitar and stepped up to the mic and burst into her opening song, Plump. After that I was lost in the frantic pace she brought to the set, the grinding guitar, her rather hoarse but at the same time melodic voice, the pounding drums, all came together incredibly well and the crowd welcomed it with open arms. She followed up with Skinny Little Bitch and an amazing cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Gold Dust Woman. The temperature in the Belly Up soared as the crowd surged forward with each new song, and the security guards struggled to keep them back. At this point, having used up my 3-song photo allotment, I made my way away from the front to allow one of the fans next to me to get a little closer to the stage. No easy feat, I assure you! Once I got to the back, drenched in sweat (not all mine, either), I was able to get a different view of the show. To see how passionate her fans are opens your eyes to what drives her music. And the music drives her fans.
Plump / Skinny Little Bitch / Gold Dust Woman / Pacific Coast Highway / Violet / Malibu / Letter to God / Asking For It / For Once in Your Life / Use Once and Destroy / Softer Softest / Reasons to be Beautiful / Miss World / Celebrity Skin
Petals / Dying / Doll Parts