Review: The Orange County Register

‘Paloozin’ It
by Mark Brown
August 15, 1995

Hole gives a galvanizing performance as normality reigns at this incarnation of Lollapalooza.


Ready for that annual report on what the wacky youth of America is up to this summer? It rolled into town yesterday: the all-day rockfest better-known as Lollapalooza ’95.

And what are they up to? They’re … well, they’re doing just what baby boomers were doing some 25 or 30 summers ago: Taking a day or two to gather together, immerse themselves in music, beer and just relax.

The good news this year is that those ridiculous Dr. Seuss hats and Smart drinks have gone out of fashion, with the operators of those booths getting a good idea of exactly what “Oh, that’s so five minutes ago” means.

Common sense reigned. The smell of Coppertone was more prevalent than marijuana. At the second stage, bands early on even pointed out a drunk unruly mosher so security could toss him out.

Even Courtney Love was restrained, reigning in her more obnoxious side and turning in one of the strongest sets of the day.

As Love was coming onstage, she announced with a smirk that her band was Bon Jovi.

The irony wasn’t lost on Love herself. After all, Lollapalooza was instrumental in helping kill off Bon Jovi’s ’80s rock stardom. Yet here she was, headlining the festival with a light show, glamour dresses, mirror balls and cosmetic surgery _ the closest thing to a rock superstar Lollapalooza has ever seen.

Love’s greatest strength, however, is delivering when everyone thinks she’s crossed the line. After months of offstage media antics she got up Monday night and delivered once again. As surely as she manipulates her image, Love delved into her undeniable songwriting and performing skills with a vengeance.

From “Credit in the Straight World” to the unreleased “Sugar Coma” to the hit singles, “Asking for It,” “Miss World” and “Doll Parts,” Love and band ripped through a riveting set, stopping only briefly when she threatened to go after a guy in the crowd with a squirt gun.

It wasn’t the water she objected so much as the risk of electrocution. “And when I die, it isn’t going to be in front of you,” said the woman who’s lived some of her most personal moments in public. “It will be in a nice quiet bed with a tube down my throat.”

But perhaps it says something about the routineness of the day that Love was forced from the stage, not for any outrageous antics, but because she’d gone over her allotted time. After about an hour, the lights were turned on, the sound was cut and that was all, folks.

But if Love was the scene-stealer of the day, there were other, lesser pleasures, be they Beck’s noisy folk, Sonic Youth’s redefining of noise and feedback in rock ‘n’ roll or Cypress Hill’s hazy shade of hip-hop.