Tuesday night I relived a big part of my 1990s musical youth by spending a night with Courtney Love and Hole at the House of Blues in Houston. I just missed seeing the band in 1998 when Courtney and the gang dropped off a tour I had tickets to in Dallas. (Foxy Shazam opened - more on them at end)
The new version of Hole has lost the feminine mystique it was once famous for since, instead of all women and one dude on guitar backing Courtney, it is now exclusively all men behind Ms. Love. But did you really go see Hole for anyone other than Courtney in the first place?
Complete with a "Let it Bleed" tattoo on the inside of her left bicep, Love and the new version of Hole (that she says has been with her for the last five years) started off with a cover of the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil. That would not be the only cover song of the night. The band also did a surprisingly good version of Nine Inch Nails' Closer (think more guitar and less synthesizer) and a hard rocking version of Fleetwood Mac's Gold Dust Woman (also recorded by Hole on The Crow: City of Angels soundtrack in the 90s) among others. Naturally Hole also burned through the hits from most of all the other albums getting the best reaction in my opinion from the song Celebrity Skin.
My wife and I agree Love is a great front woman, albeit a flaky one. Love came on stage announcing the band was a few minutes late because she couldn't find a bra. She also changed the set list as the night went on, played parts of songs by herself after the band had just played them to see if she could remember alternative versions, admitted she was screwing up guitar parts and told the other guitarists (there were two others with her) to "stop covering for her."
Then there was the part where Love told the audience to sing the chorus to Jennifer's Body because she didn't want to play it. The reason is that she didn't like the part in that song that Hole co-founder and former guitarist Eric Erlandson had written. This could be the reason there is a new Hole behind Love. She later said she could no longer work with Erlandson but did miss former Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur. Somehow I don't think Axl Rose talks about missing any of the former members of Guns N' Roses during live shows with his new pack of gunners.
After reading reviews of Love being really late or performing to her assistant's iPhone, the wife and I were a little concerned about how the Hole concert was going to turn out. It turned out to be a great experience. And it was actually nice seeing a show where you really had no idea what to expect and the singer liked to talk to the audience. Rock and Roll has lost that over the last decade or so. One show is the same as the next for the most part, but not with Courtney Love.
I plan to search the Internet throughout the day for cool videos and photos from the Houston House of Blues Hole show. These items tend to trickle onto the Internet the day after a concert. If you come across any, send me the link. UPDATE: Groovehouse has taken care of us SEE PHOTOS.
Foxy Shazam was the opener by the way. I never have heard of them, but they quickly won me over. In all my concert going years, I cannot recall an opening band this full of energy and firing on all cylinders. You don't get more rock n' roll than the lead singer asking the drummer to spit in his mouth or putting five cigarettes in his mouth at one time, lighting them and then swallowing them all. The band's Pantera cover was entertaining too. http://www.foxyshazam.com/