When I first heard that Courtney Love was opening for Lana Del Rey at Washington's Amphitheater Northwest, my first thought was one of confusion and dismay. How are these two alike? An infamous ‘90s grunge rock icon next to a silky-voiced, dream pop goddess. Based on the public’s perception of both, I couldn't understand what the idea was in having them tour together. I took a risk and went to find out.
The show was set to start at 7:30pm. The time came along... and nothing. It wasn’t until an hour after the set’s intended start time that Courtney Love finally took the stage, wailing through the first track—a Hole song—by herself. Her band then joined her and Hole tracks went on to make up the majority of the setlist.
Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love sound nothing alike. Any common Joe could figure that out. What really differs, though, are their respective personalities. For example:
After ending her first song, Love addressed the crowd of excited preteens, parents and fans of all ages with a massive: “Hello motherfuckers!” Between tracks, Love would go on to address the crowd in this same manner, screaming out profanities and sexual innuendos as well as picking on the crowd themselves, asking where all her fags were at.
Lana Del Rey fans are big into flower crowns. Love apparently was not. “Take off your fucking flower crowns!” she told us. She even took time to scold one girl for texting from the front row. This I can understand, but did she need to call her out in front of everyone?
After starting late and ultimately going over her allotted time limit (most likely because she stopped between each track to cuss people out), Lana Del Rey finally let us breathe in her angelic air.
And here’s where the differences became very apparent. Lana is very mellow, laid back and a seemingly introverted performer. She has a shy stage presence, but it’s exactly this that draws you in. She also establishes an intimate relationship with each and every one of her fans. While Love screamed at the front row, Lana took time between songs to visit her friends in the crowd, sign autographs and take pictures.
Performing songs from both Born to Die, her critically acclaimed 2012 record, and 2014’s Dan Auerbach-produced Ultraviolence, flower crowns were highly encouraged as the massive crowd of diehard fans sang along to every word the pop goddess belted out for all to hear.
Unfortunately, due to the late start and set-in-stone curfew, Lana had to cut a few tracks from the setlist that night, most notably “Us Against The World,” an unreleased track that many fans were looking forward to seeing. Despite this, Lana Del Rey brought a wave of warm love in the form of a cool, jazzy voice to a freezing night across the Oregon border.
After the show, I overheard varying opinions on the Courtney Love pairing. Many thought they could’ve done without, even going so far as to ask, “How does she still have a career?” or wishing they’d seen the tour’s second leg opener, Grimes, instead. However, some enjoyed the contrast and the dark, brazen “humor” that Love brought to the expected vibe of a Lana Del Rey show.
No matter your opinion of the duo, there’s no denying that the two are very different artists. Why was this pairing chosen? It may come as a surprise, but Lana Del Rey has listed Courtney Love as one of her biggest inspirations. Yet, in terms of outward appearances, there aren't very many similarities between the two—as we saw. However, despite the differences between the acts, was it a good way to spend a Friday night? Of course.