Review: Entertainment Weekly

Back to Basics
July 21, 1995
by Jeff Gordinier


While the Colorado audience greeted true originals like Beck and the Jesus Lizard with a detached curiosity, it was the familiar stuff that whipped up a real frenzy. Groovy and charismatic, Compton rapper Coolio commanded a wet, writhing, arm-waving throng at the Second Stage. On center stage, the horde roared for the hemp-hazy hip-hop of Cypress Hill and the gossamer lullabies of SinĂ©ad O’Connor. Even without a shaved head or Pope-hating shenanigans, O’Connor managed to hold the crowd in a rapt hush.

Hush, of course, is not the word for Courtney Love. Hours before her band, Hole, stormed the stage, it became clear a lot of fans were hankering for a glimpse of Kurt Cobain’s spitfire widow. “I want to see Courtney get her clothes ripped off in the pit!” enthused 16-year-old Zach Delong.

He got his wish, even if Love did churn out the same show she’s been doing for months — an act that’s getting as glammy and predictable as Norma Desmond’s. On a stage atwinkle with disco balls and silver stars, Courtney took her trademark stance (one foot planted on a speaker), typically baited and badmouthed the audience (“If you throw one more drop of liquid on my body I’ll kick your f—in’ ass!”) and finally hurled herself to the fans, who tore her baby-doll dress and left her strolling off in pink bloomers. Performing in Love’s wake, Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon was just happy to see people sticking around. “We figured after the big celebrity, they would leave,” Gordon deadpanned. “I mean, we just go out there and play our music.”