Review: Rolling Stone

The Viper Room
Hollywood, CA
January 9th, 1999
by Lorraine Ali

“People are always talking about surgery,” said Courtney Love, pointing to her gravity-defying breasts. “But look, this is all yoga.” This uplifting piece of news came during a $200-a-ticket benefit show for the Los Angeles yoga center Golden Bridge/Night Moon, which coupled the sacred with the profane at Johnny Depp’s newly reopened Viper Room. Hole played an hour-plus acoustic set to a mixed crowd dressed in turbans, Prada and press passes. Tom Hanks, Roseanna Arquette, a mohawk-wearing Scott Weiland and Portia De Rossi (the new blonde baby from Ally McBeal) sat sequestered at tables, while the Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz mingled with the yoga center’s co-owner Gurumukh Kaur and various MTV personalities.

A group from Golden Bridge opened with some Hindu yoga chants before Love hit the stage. Kicking one leg up on the amp, she clutched prayer beads in one hand, a cigarette in the other, and launched into a true-to-form version of Guns n’ Roses’ “Paradise City” – which, by the song’s end, seemed tailor-made for Hole. The band went on to play its own numbers “Miss World” and the new “Hit So Hard,” softening its caustic sound with Eric Erlandson on an acoustic guitar and bassist Melissa Auf Der Maur simply sipping red wine and singing backup. Love occasionally picked up her guitar, only to ditch it later in disinterest. She deftly toned her railing vocals down to sensitive-ballad level, only to let it rip later in fierce numbers like “Doll Parts.” She tempered the outbursts with a brotherly sing-along of the Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” but redeemed her sardonic edge in a campy closing rendition of “Celebrity Skin.”

Though Hole were out of their electrified element, Courtney Love’s powerful persona and searing lyrics quashed potentially embarrassing unplugged moments. Here’s to Hollywood-style enlightenment (Visa and Mastercard accepted).