God save the queen of rock ‘n’ roll. Courtney Love played a blistering 17-song set list that was everything a fan could hope for. This is a remarkable woman who has led an even more remarkable life. She’s firmly planted on Rolling Stone’s list of all-time greatest albums, was nominated for several Grammys, won a Golden Globe, and led a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle over the past 20 years that would make even Nikki Sixx blush. And I have to tell you this night at The Phoenix in Petaluma, CA, of all places, she blew the roof off of the joint.
I would have never guessed that Love was 49 years old as she gracefully took to the stage looking stunning in a silver sparkle cutaway dress. Love is famously quoted as saying, “I am not a woman, I am a force of nature,” and this mentality would certainly prove true as the night progressed. The set list consisted of 17 choice cuts, with the vast majority pulling from Hole’s impressive catalog, along with a few from her solo record.
Love opened the night with the song “Plump” from Hole’s 1994 masterpiece Live Through This. It was the perfect sort of “fuck-you-hello-I’m-back,” and the crowd truly embraced the approach. It was the perfect contradiction to the smiling Love that walked on stage and accepted a bouquet of flowers from fans in the front row, which she would later end up returning to them petal-by-petal as a gift of her own.
Next up, the guns were still ablazin’ as she ripped into “Miss World,” then right into “Skinny Little Bitch.” The entire show would continue to replicate this juggernaut of an intro, never losing steam but instead turning the volume and the angst all the way up, until the four song encore came to a full climax by ending on a high note with a grand finale of “Doll Parts.”
Courtney Love is a true artist in every sense. They really don’t make them like this any more, and I think they may have broken the mold with Love regardless. I for one cannot wait to hear her new record, tentatively titled Died Blonde, due out in December. She opted not to play any new music this particular night, and instead gave the crowd exactly what they wanted in a greatest-hits-style format. Love is also releasing her first memoir later this year, which was co-written with Rolling Stone writer Anthony Bozza, who also co-wrote the very successful autobiographies by Tommy Lee and Slash.
As far as rock ‘n’ roll shows go for the rest of 2013, I highly recommend you see this one if it comes within 100 miles of your city. Simply put, she sounded absolutely spectacular, and her band was stellar as her foundation. There’s still plenty of rebellion and creative genius left in this woman, so let’s all be sure to celebrate this one.
Were you at the show? What did you think? Join the conversation in the comments section below, and check out all of the hi-res photos.