City National Grove of Anaheim
Say this much for Courtney Love: At least she gave it the ol' college try. Two songs into what was supposed to be a 90-minute set, the singer confessed to the audience that her voice was in rough shape and she wasn't sure if she'd make through the night. While some fans looked at each other with confusion mixed with some disbelief, the show went on.
Somehow, the metallic jumpsuit-wearing Love made the best of a bad situation and managed to play for little over an hour, trying to overcome her voice giving out. It's a shame that her voice didn't cooperate because this had the workings of what would been one the most pleasant surprises of the 2013 calendar thus far. Love's stellar backing band delivered with meaty guitars and a steady rhythm section that got out of the singer's way and allowed her to shine, if only things went according to planned.
It was painfully obvious on the slicked up “Malibu” that Love's vocals really weren't going to cooperate. Though she was never the most technical singer, Love sounded rough, like negative ply rough, when trying to hit the high notes. The thunderous “Violet” didn't lack intensity, but her trademark screeching howl fell short.
Throughout the night Mrs. Cobain joked about Kenny Chesney, who was playing next door at Angels Stadium. For those expecting her to say something controversial, you're going to be disappointed. “Kenny Chesney wouldn't lose his voice,” she quipped.
As the show wore on, it was apparent this wasn't going to be Love's night. Despite her self-deprecating statements, Love really cared about putting on a solid show regardless of the long-term implications on her voice. Comments like “If you want your money back, I'll totally pay it back, I'm so sorry” demonstrated her own displeasure with the situation.
Nearly six songs in, it looked like the Hole founder was ready to call it quits. She gave the cut it off sign to her band, but the small, yet enthusiastic crowd helped her power through as best she could. More impressively, she did. Usually even the slightest twinge of a singer's vocal chord causes cancellation, reference what Frank Ocean just did in Australia. Yet here was the veteran frontwoman doing her best, even potentially risking her long-term health to ensure that her fans received good bang for their buck. Pretty impressive.
It's a shame that Love's voice didn't cooperate. If not for that (and yes, that's a huge part of the equation), the show appeared to be heading in the right direction. As she told us earlier in the week, the show was going to rock. The songs were surprisingly as good as advertised.
By the time she finished with “Doll Parts” only an hour after she started, fans seemed to be grateful that the singer lasted as long as that. Though she needed the crowd hit the high notes, Love seemed happy for their help. On a night that could have been disastrous, Courtney Love not only managed to hold it together, but showed promise on what could be a late-career renaissance. At this point, there's not much more you can ask for.
The Crowd: Supportive especially in light of the circumstances
Random Notebook Dump: Thankfully the show ended early or else getting out of that lot would have been hell with the Chesney concert letting out at the same time.