Courtney Love threw rose petals at me. I managed to get one, put it in my bra, and sure enough it had wilted by the time I got home. I felt like that pretty much summarized my quest to see her in Asbury Park.
But let me backtrack.
There are a few things you need to know about me before we proceed:
- I’m from Jersey.
- I’m tiny.
- I’m kind of an asshole.
- I love Courtney Love more than anything.
My high school years were lived in vintage slips and red lipstick. I have Hole lyrics scribbled in every notebook and my iPod is filled with bootlegs and rare songs. I’ve fit Courtney Love references in everything from old Livejournal entries, to casual Facebook statuses, to Media Law and Ethics midterms, to research papers about Victorian mourning procedures to application essays for 3rd wave feminist magazines. This, however, is the first time I’m expressing the extent of my love through an actual publication, one that, ironically, made her our last cover girl.
So let it be known.
Sure enough, I jumped at the opportunity to see Courtney's show at The Stone Pony.
First of all, the crowd...it has to be said: there were a lot of people there with serious attitude problems. Everyone was incredibly defensive and possessive when it came to getting a prime spot to see Courtney. Harsh words were spoken. Threats were traded. There was pushing and hair pulling and fights erupted. When I last saw Hole (well, “Hole”) in 2010, some guy punched me in the face at the end of “Violet,” and this crowd was STILL more hostile.
I feel like everyone was trying to be the Alpha Bitch, and dude, this is a Courtney Love concert. There can be only one Alpha Bitch, and she’s on stage.
Unfortunately I sort of got shafted in terms of my view at the show. Because the polo-shirt-wearing men who are 6 foot 3 but got there first INSIST on staying in front, and subsequently this was my view for the entire show:
Not even, really, because that was taken with my arm extended and an elbow in my back. Grumble, grumble, grumble.
There were four opening acts (FOUR. OPENING. ACTS.) which probably contributed to the volatile environment, and I’m sure you care about that as much as I did. But for the record, the line-up included Starred (who’s touring with Court), Random Neo-Grunge Band, Dad Rock Band, and The Obvious, who are actually from Asbury Park, and really have a nice Jack Off Jill kind of energy, if you're into that sort of thing.
After what seemed like forever, Queen Court appeared, with regal music announcing her entrance, and she set the room on fire with "Plump." SUPER MEGA SWOON.
Courtney was decked out in vintage (or vintage-looking) black slips with a giant crystal necklace coating her like a breastplate of armor and a wreath of aluminum stars as a crown. Though she was sick (and vomited before the show, apparently) she felt much better after some beautiful man got her some Tums. Literally the show could not have gone on without this mystery “Mr. Tums,” so thanks, dude.
She also shared that despite years of chainsmoking and…other vices, she has athletic level lungs and an athletic level liver. Dude, Corky’s never going to die, which comically compliments the fact that this mini tour is called the "I'm Still Alive" tour.
She played “Miss World” next (which I had been singing earlier with New Concert Friend) and I cried. She touched upon some gems from Nobody's Daughter, including "Pacific Coast Highway" which I recorded for an impressive 9 seconds for my friends in LA.
And I was particularly psyched to hear "Reasons to be Beautiful," which has potentially my favorite lyric of all time ("I'll give you my body, just sell me your soul").
Nothing from her first album, which was kind of a buzzkill. She opened with "Pretty on the Inside" at her last tour, and I still get chills thinking about it. We did, however have a sing-along to "Rock Star" (or the song originally called "Olympia," if I'm going to be a snob about it).
She ended with the Celebrity Skin-era dirges of "Northern Star" and "Dying," finally closing with “Doll Parts” and I cried again through...all of that. The concert could have seriously been divided into “times I was crying” versus “times I was not crying.” So could my entire life, to be honest.
And as she threw the rose petals into the crowd, followed by some dying flowers (dead flowers? Maybe even just the stems?), I thought, "It's so weird that I'm still here after everything." Standing in a crowd, looking at my unlikely idol, and questioning why I put myself through the sweat and anger and hostility.
Why bother having a voice? Why do we open our mouths when we know that the words we say will only anger people? Why fight for what we think is right? Why do we put ourselves out to people who may hate us, or worse, ignore us? Why even bother getting out of bed in the morning when the world is cruel?
Because of the promise of Love.
The idea that someone out there has felt your pain, and will let you scream it out until you’re pacified. Love ensures that you are not alone. That you can survive through anything, despite your mistakes. Love cradles you, makes you feel powerful amongst the chaos. When the world is falling to pieces around you, at least you know that you have Love to keep you going. Love will save your life.
In short, my personal experience was a live awake nightmare, but Courtney herself was amazing, and I would fight an army to see her again.
There's really nothing more to say. My petals are off. I told the truth. I lived through this, and I would do it all over again.
Images courtesy of Songkick.com, StonePonyOnline.com, Facebook.com, App.com and the author's iphone