"Can you forgive us, this whole new-band-haven't-played-in-five-years thing?" Courtney Love asked about halfway through an hour-long set Friday night at Los Angeles' Roxy Theater.
While Love did play a radio station gig at the nearby Viper Room a night earlier, the sold-out Roxy show marked her "official" return to the concert stage and the first public show since the release of the America's Sweetheart album a couple of weeks earlier. The line outside the venue, which stretched for blocks, was befitting the "event" feel of the show.
Still, fans seemed undeterred when Love and her all-female three-piece band, which she dubbed, "three big blondes and a brunette," finally took the stage ten minutes after one, an hour later than the scheduled midnight starting time. "Hi, and fuck you," she said, launching straight into the rambunctious "Mono," Sweetheart's opening track. When Love, wearing a sleeveless, tight black dress, tauntingly asked, "Did you miss me?" during the song the predominantly young female crowd roared back their answer.
If there were any nerves after the long layoff, they weren't visibly apparent. Love delivered a fairly straightforward eleven-song set that primarily mined the new album, though she did dig into the Hole catalogue for "Plump," a couple of tracks from the Celebrity Skin album, and "Miss World," which she introduced by saying, "I can do one thing really well, that's this."
Her between-song banter was, as one might expect, always entertaining. When Love introduced the band early on she pointed to drummer Samantha Maloney, and said, "That's Dave Grohl." Love also referenced her late husband by saying, "Kurt would've been thirty-seven today. Hi, Kurt."
The encores brought a cover of 'Til Tuesday's "Voices Carry," as well an extended version of "Malibu." The hypnotic number, which featured Love solo on electric guitar, found Love at her most raw as she delivered lines like, "Hey, I think it's time for me to jump" in a spoken voice.
"Goodnight, thank you. Thank you so much," she said as she walked off stage shortly after two, all eyes still focused squarely on her.
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