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Not enough Love: Courtney leaves fans hanging

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Courtney Love performs on the second of back-to-back nights at Vinyl, on August 23.
Photo: Corlene Byrd

Three stars

Courtney Love August 23, Vinyl

Wearing a mostly see-through black top, Courtney Love hit the Vinyl stage just before midnight on Friday night in a burst of ferocious energy, tearing into the Hole classic “Miss World” to the delight of the enthusiastic audience. For the first five songs or so, she was captivating and magnetic, belting out the title refrain of “Skinny Little Bitch,” giving an ominous rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” and matching the audience in screams of “Go on, take everything” on “Violet.” When an audience member handed her flowers, she responded by asking, “Can I break them?” and then throwing handfuls of petals into the crowd.

But right after “Violet,” that energy seemed to dissipate. Love complained that the air conditioning was making her tired, and for the rest of the show her eyes looked like she was perpetually on the verge of falling asleep. Musically, though, she didn’t lose a step. Her voice remained strong, and the set, focused mainly on Hole songs from the ’90s, was packed with crowd-pleasers. It was disappointing, then, that after about 45 minutes, she left the stage, telling the audience, “If you want me back, you know what to do.”

The crowd certainly knew what to do, chanting “Courtney!” until she returned for a two-song encore. In all, the performance lasted less than an hour, and combined with the fact that the opener was an acoustic set from Love’s own guitarist (Ginger Wildheart, formerly of U.K. rockers The Wildhearts), it made for a pretty insubstantial show. For years, Love’s problem was that her onstage antics and unreliability overshadowed her music, but nothing about the Vinyl show was lacking musically. Love and her band both sounded great, and her songs have held up better than a lot of ’90s relics. There were plenty more of them the audience would have loved to hear.

Set list:

“Miss World”

“Skinny Little Bitch”

“Gold Dust Woman”

“Pacific Coast Highway”

“Violet”

“Malibu”

“Letter to God”

“Asking For It”

“Softer, Softest”

“Plump”

“Celebrity Skin”

Encore:

“Petals”

“Doll Parts”

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