It’s 11:30pm at the Vinyl in Hard Rock’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and people are starting to assemble in front of the stage in anticipation of one of alternative rock’s favorite angry girl-rockers, Courtney Love. This is the seconed of two performances to commemorate Vinyl's One-Year Anniversary.
15 minutes later a regal soundtrack starts playing in the front speakers of this medium sized venue announcing her triumphal entry. As she appears the roaring crowd of Gen Xers goes crazy as she starts throwing flowers left on stage back into the audience.
Love then went right into her hits, starting with Miss World from Hole’s 2nd album ‘Live Through This’. After some funny Celine Dion related comments, Love followed with the more recent ‘Skinny Little Bitch’ from Hole’s short-lived regrouping in 2010 for the album ‘Nobody’s Daughter’.
Someone in the audience handed Love another bouquet of roses, which she accepted then proceeded to tear the petals off and throw them back into the crowd in a somewhat defiant, symbolic gesture. One would have expected to hear Hole’s song ‘Petals’ at this moment but instead they played a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Gold Dust Woman’. The crowd went wild as the rose petals rained down on them from the stage. Originally sung by Stevie Nicks, Love’s version came off as more edgy and translated well to the fans.
Love’s band of veteran musicians carried the music well, along with the younger 26 year old Micko Larkin who joined Courtney’s band in 2007 as lead guitarist and eventually replacing Eric Erlandson in the 2010 regrouping of Hole.
‘Pacific Coast Highway’ also from ‘Nobody’s Daughter’ was next on the set list. Known as an homage to her late husband Kurt Cobain, the song is lyrically quite transparent as Courtney opens up about the scars she incurred during that time.
Another selection from ‘Live Through This’, ‘Violet’ was next on the list leading into ‘Malibu’ from Hole’s 3rd studio album ‘Celebrity Skin’ and followed by the introspective ‘Letter to God’ from ‘Nobody’s Daughter’.
The next song, ‘Asking For It’, although never released as a single, charted on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks in 1995, and originally featured Kurt Cobain from the album ‘ Live Through This’. From the same album, ‘Softer, Softest’ followed.
To kick things into high gear as the concert was nearing it’s finale they pulled out ‘Plump’ with a more up-tempo raunchy rock soundtrack from ‘Live Through This’ and ‘Celebrity Skin’ with a similar vibe and title track of the album.
The loyal fans seemed to know all the lyrics as they sang along to every song, many of them probably having grown up listening to her music and having followed Love’s career since their teens. After about 40 minutes, Courtney ended the concert, and the crowd kept cheering until she returned for an encore.
Love closed out the show with two more songs, ‘Petals’ with a more ‘unplugged’ feel which was so popular in the 90’s when she rose to fame as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist with Hole. The final track ‘Doll Parts’ brought the band back on stage for the finale.
The concert, under an hour in length, might have been a little on the short side, but definitely left the crowd wanting more and ready to see her again the next time Love comes to Vegas.
Love’s sarcastic, rough around the edges approach in interacting with her audience between each song is reminiscent of a comedian razzing his audience, and seems to connect well. Love has long been known for these kinds of stage antics and abrasive lyrics, named ‘"the most controversial woman in the history of rock’ according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Skinny Little Bitch
Gold Dust Woman – Fleetwood Mac cover
Pacific Coast Highway
Letter to God
Asking For You