Imagine a Hole concert that doubles as a complete Courtney Love meltdown. Not too hard to do. Now imagine it being 10 times more disastrous than that — we’re talking one incomplete song after another, offensive and rambling stage banter, exhibitionism, a mass exodus of paying customers. Now imagine it being nearly three hours long. You can start to get a picture of the epic train wreck that was Hole’s Sunday night show at the 9:30 Club.
Maybe you watched her recent episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music” and thought, “Hey, Courtney’s finally getting her act together!” If you were at Sunday’s show, you would have thought, “Hey, Courtney is somehow more messed up than ever!” It was an astonishingly and agonizingly awful performance that had a few fleeting moments of redeeming musical value. Song titles, lyrics, guitar chords — Love remembered only some of them, and infrequently.
But what, really, would have been the best-case musical scenario? A competent re-creation of songs more than a decade old, played by Love and her latest hired hands? Is that what people wanted to see — Courtney karaoke versions of 90’s MTV buzz clips? Maybe. But probably not. Perhaps a bit more professionalism would have been nice, but in 2010 you pay your $45 hoping for the Courtney Love Experience, knowing she’s a recovering addict and constant tabloid fodder for, among other things, losing custody of her daughter with the late Kurt Cobain. And Sunday night was an experience like no other.