Slideshow: Courtney Love Needs Her Nicotine at House of Blues Chicago

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CHICAGO – From Courtney Love’s first words hitting the stage at her sold-out July 18, 2013 show at the House of Blues Chicago – with a cigarette dangling defiantly from her lips – it was apparent the 1990s grunge queen was back and still all about breaking the rules.

While her four-time, Grammy-nominated band Hole may have been recently declared deceased, the 49-year-old proved once again that she is the consummate survivor.

Only two songs into the set, Courtney called a center-stage huddle to break free from even her own set list. Then she dove into an impromptu and rarely preformed smoldering version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman”.

At a time when musical performances have often devolved into either lip-synched backtracking, auto-tuned whiteout or soulless vocal histrionics, Courtney Love still flips the bird, calls “bullshit” and reminds us of the ancient glory days of our youth when rock ‘n roll was actually wild, unpredictable and still slightly dangerous.

The music of rebellion was never predicated on flawless perfection. Sadly absent were the vocal harmonies on such songs as “Malibu,” which were once provided by former Hole band mate Melissa Auf der Maur. Still, the band was tight and well-rehearsed. They ripped through nearly every song off the albums “Live Through This” and “Celebrity Skin” and even the unexpected powerhouse “Jennifer’s Body”.

Time has been extremely kind to Courtney Love. Her voice and primal scream have retained all of her original fury. The between-the-song banter with audience members was classic Courtney and worth the price of admission in and of itself. She told of sending flowers to Pearl Jam and playing Wrigley Field the next day.

When a scuffle broke out near the stage, she asked if a mosh pit was being formed. If nobody there remembered what a mosh pit was, she said they should go home and ask their fathers. When a male fan tossed his underwear on stage, Courtney commented that she had never seen such male panties. To the attractive female fan screaming out for a hug, Courtney retorted that she really wasn’t a big fan of giving hugs, but she was more than willing to make out with her later backstage.

The hits continued. Love demanded a round of applause for her drummer for picking out her perfect performance blouse and the audience complied. The queen was clearly in charge of her court and commanded her subjects with the skill that comes from only the noble hand of rock’s old-school aristocracy. Make no mistake that this was no house payment due, half-assed, phoned-in, reunion-tour performance.

Courtney Love is a rock star still poised to take over the world. Eight tracks have already been recorded for her new album “Died Blond” and a Harper Collins autobiography entitled “Last Bitch Standing” are both due for a Christmas release. If that wasn’t enough, she has a new gig on a major network reality show that legally she isn’t permitted to talk about yet. (Hello, “American Idol”?)

She closed the show with “Doll Parts” as the audience sang along and a final encore of “Petals” with just a single acoustic guitar accompaniment. Leaving the stage, she flashed the victory sign to the audience and was all smiles. I don’t know about the future of rock ‘n roll, but Courtney Love once again proved that she was still the girl with the most cake.

Band Members:
Courtney Love: Vocals, guitar
Micko Larkin: Guitar
Ginger Wildheart: Guitar
Shawn Dailey: Bass
Scott Lipps: Drums

Set List:
Miss World
Skinny Little Bitch
Gold Dust Woman (added)
Asking For It
For Once in Your Life
Jennifer’s Body
Celebrity Skin
Reason’s to Be Beautiful
Oh Claire

Northern Star
Doll Parts
Petals (added)

All text and images © Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

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