The Most Brutal Concert Review… Ever?

We’re not sure if the review of Courtney Love’s Washington, D.C., show posted on a newspaper’s website is the most brutal concert review ever written, but we’ll bet it’s in the Top 10.

Written by Washington Post staffer David Malitz, the review details what appears to be one of the most disastrous performances by anyone this year, heck, this decade, as the writer paints a scenario where the headliner is cursing at audience members, forgetting lyrics and even providing a little exhibitionism. In other words, it was an evening with Courtney.

Photo: AP Photo
2010 KROQ Weenie Roast, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Irvine, Calif.

“Imagine a Hole concert that doubles as a complete Courtney Love meltdown,” Malitz wrote. “Not too hard to do. Now imagine it being 10 times more disastrous than that – we’re talking one incomplete song after another, offensive and rambling stage banter, exhibitionism, a mass exodus of paying customers. Now imagine it being nearly three hours long.”

And that’s just the first paragraph.

The role of concert reviewer has always been a somewhat different critter in the world of professional arts criticism. While stage, movie, TV, book and album reviews often help consumers make purchasing decisions, concert reviews aren’t published until the band or artist has already left town, helping provide choice reinforcement for those not sure they experienced the best the act had to offer, or give those who stayed home an inkling of what they missed. That is, when the reviews don’t make staying home seem like the better choice.

So regardless of what you think of Love as a music artist, the review posted on is just one man’s opinion, albeit a very brutal opinion.

“Love took a request for ‘Rock Star’ despite admitting that she didn’t remember how to play it. She stumbled through half the song without strumming one correct chord. She played a new song, ‘Pretty Your Whole Life.’ It was bad. Half an hour later, she played it again. It was worse.”

Do concert reviews even matter? In the Internet age it’s possible to get the gist of any tour as soon as the first date plays. But have you ever been persuaded to buy a ticket to a tour stop in your town because you read a favorable review of one of the tour’s first stops? Do concert reviews influence your ticket-buying habits the way film reviews might send you to the multiplex or book reviews to Barnes & Noble?

So go ahead, click here to read the complete review at (registration may be required). Then come back to this page and tell us what you think of the piece as well as a thought or two on concert reviews in general. As we stated in our opening graph, we’re not sure if it’s the most brutal review ever written, but it’s hardly a love letter to Ms. Love.

On the other hand, if performances are supposed to be unforgettable, Love’s D.C. show might be the best concert of the year, bar none.

Or, as Malitz wrote:

“I’ll never forget this night with Courtney Love, no matter how much I may want to. And isn’t that really what she’s always wanted?”