Words and photographs by Conor Riley

Courtney. Courtney. Courtney. I wasn’t sure which Courtney Love was going to show up to Warsaw in Greenpoint last night. The only other time I’ve ever seen her live was three years ago at Terminal 5 where she put on a good show, but it seemed at the time, coming off a decade of extreme ups-and-downs (okay, mostly downs), that she had lost somewhat of an edge (after all, at 48 the woman has been through a lot). At the 2010 performance she was coherent, and sounded fine, yet lacked the energy I had come to expect from the pop culture icon. Had I missed out on my opportunity to hear “Violet” and “Reasons to be Beautiful” live with the guttural scream-singing and unsurmountable stage presence associated with Ms. Love in the 1990s? Would I live a life of regret for not finding a way to Hole’s short-lived tour with Marilyn Manson in 1999 (yes I was eleven, but both of those bands were at artistic apexes)? As it turns out, I hadn’t missed that opportunity and I no longer regret missing that tour (well, not completely anyway), because the Courtney Love that showed up to Warsaw last night was, for lack of a better term, incredible. While her setlist was eerily similar to the 2010 Terminal 5 show (right down to the trumpeted procession that welcomed her and her band to the stage), she tore through the songs with the passion and ruthlessness that I felt through the speakers on my boom box the first time I heard them as a youngster. Simply put, she brought her songs, and the crowd – a clearly loyal group of girls and gays, who shouted every word back – to life. What’s more, was that Courtney seemed happy to be there. Unlike her going-through-the-motions showing at the Terminal 5 show, this Courtney fed off of the audience’s energy, and appeared to be out of whatever hole she fell into over the past ten years.