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A capacity crowd greeted Courtney Love at the Belly Up Tavern on August 25, the twentieth show since she began her current tour on June 20.

The night was opened promptly at 9 p.m. by Ginger Wildheart who played a 30 minute set. Wildheart is currently one of two guitarists with Love’s band, alongside lead player Michael "Micko" Larkin. He’s perhaps best known for his work in the 1980’s and 1990’s with rockers the Quireboys and the Wildhearts, both top ten chart acts in their native England.

Wildheart performed solo with an acoustic guitar for the first few songs, which included a vintage favorite from the Wildeart’s days, “29X The Pain.” He was then joined for the last few numbers by Larkin, including a cover of the Replacements “Answering Machine.” While Wildheart’s set was well received, it was when Love came onstage for the last song of his set that the crowd really went wild. Unfortunately, someone threw ice from a drink at her. She laughed it off and commented that someone was trying to cool her down, but that got a few more cubes tossed in her direction. She asked for the ice throwing to stop and ended up flipping off the perpetrator before turning to Wildheart and asking for the first line of the next song, which turned out to be Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.” It was a little ramshackle in parts, but spirited and the crowd loved it.

Following a 45 minute interval, Love and her four piece band took the stage. Dressed in a spangly jumpsuit and alternately playing an acoustic guitar as well as a cherry red Rickenbacker, Love and the band opened strong and kept up the intensity for the entire set. Interestingly, though the crowd was told upon entering that no cameras were allowed, at times there was a sea of phones and cameras to be seen. However, no one seemed to object to their presence. The band was tight and the show well paced, including music from throughout Love’s career.

She opened up the set with a blast through “Plump”, “Skinny Little Bitch” and “Miss World,” before turning in a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman,” which she released as a single in 1996. Love interacted with the crowd throughout the show, handing out roses on several occasions and dousing the front section with a water bottle at one point. The audience sang along with most of the set, Love even letting them take certain lyrics. She made special notice of the Belly Up’s location right off the PCH, performing her song “Pacific Coast Highway,” from her latest album, Nobody’s Daughter. The set closed with a blast through “Celebrity Skin.”

Love changed into what she described as her “nightie” for the multi song encore, opening with a pair of acoustic tunes, including “Petals,” before being joined by the rest of the band. So no train wrecks on this evening, just a pretty good night of rock ‘n’ roll that left her fans happy.

Photo courtesy Dan Chusid

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