Hollywood Vampires Pay Homage To The Dead At The O2

Formed in 2012, Hollywood Vampires are an American rock supergroup currently consisting of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, and Tommy Henriksen. Cooper regales how the band takes its name from a drinking club consisting of mainly himself, late The Who drummer Keith Moon, Beatles men Ringo Starr & John Lennon, Monkees man Micky Dolenz, the late Harry Nilsson and more! This took place during the height of Cooper’s drinking in the 1970s and the mission of the original Hollywood Vampires was to drink until you could no longer stand up.

Hollywood Vampires @ The O2

Alice Cooper & Joe Perry of Hollywood Vampires @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)
Alice Cooper & Joe Perry of Hollywood Vampires @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)

For tonight’s unforgettable performance at London’s O2 Arena we have Aerosmith guitar Legend Joe Perry on lead guitar, Cooper on harmonica, rhythm guitar, lead and backing vocals, Hollywood star Depp on guitar, backing and lead vocals and finally, newest member Henriksen, of German metallers Warlock, on guitar and backing vocals. The troupe are joined by Cooper’s touring drummer Glen Sobel, Aerosmith touring keyboardist and guitar man Buck Johnson and bassist Chris Wyse. As you can tell from the lineup there is no shortage of guitars on the stage tonight and that’s before a surprise guest joins us later in the set…

From the moment the band took the stage, the energy in the venue was palpable. The audience erupted in cheers as the iconic members appeared before us one by one. The stage was set with a gothic ambiance, complete with elaborate props, including giant fangs unfurling from the top of the stage, things of your worst nightmares on the big screens behind the band and captivating lighting and smoke machine effects that enhanced the atmosphere.

One of the highlights of the night was the impeccable musicianship displayed by each member of the Hollywood Vampires. Alice Cooper, the godfather of shock rock, showcased his unparalleled showmanship, captivating the crowd with his commanding stage presence and distinctive vocals. Joe Perry, a guitar virtuoso, delivered breathtaking solos that sent shivers down the spines of every rock enthusiast in the audience. Johnny Depp, known primarily as an actor, proved his musical prowess as he skilfully played guitar alongside his fellow bandmates.

Hollywood Vampires @ The O2

Johnny Depp of Hollywood Vampires @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)
Johnny Depp of Hollywood Vampires @ The O2 (Kalpesh Patel)

The set list was a well-curated blend of original songs and classic rock covers, The Vampires breathing new life into timeless hits such as The Doors classics Five To One and Break On Through as well as The Who mainstay Baba O’Riley, paying homage to their musical influences and brothers in (musical) arms. Standout performances included powerful renditions of School’s Out and I’m Eighteen by Alice Cooper, as well as electrifying versions of Aerosmith tunes Bright Light Fright and Walk This Way, with Johnny Depp joining in seamlessly on guitars and backing vocals before stepping in on lead vocal duties for a rousing rendition of David Bowie classic Heroes.

Throughout the concert, the Hollywood Vampires exhibited a genuine camaraderie on stage. Their chemistry and mutual respect were evident, creating an infectious energy that spread to every corner of the venue. Another notable moment was the heartfelt tribute paid to fallen rock stars, the band honouring the legacies of musicians like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Jeff Beck, among others.

Our surprise guest, Rolling Stones guitar man Ronnie Wood, enters the arena and the crowd are in for a touching instrumental tribute to the late Jeff Beck, pictures of his life and career show up on the big screens behind this stage of legends. This is then followed with The Train Kept A-Rollin’ where the guitarists lined up together and the chorus was sung by special guest Imelda May.

Each tribute was accompanied by a powerful performance, creating an emotionally charged atmosphere that paid homage to the greats who have left an indelible mark on the world of rock music. It was a night that transported the audience back to the golden age of rock, while simultaneously showcasing the enduring power and relevance of the genre. Whether you were a lifelong fan or a newcomer to their music, the Hollywood Vampires delivered a concert that left a lasting impression. It was a reminder that rock and roll is alive and well, and that its spirit continues to thrive in the hearts and performances of these iconic musicians.

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Review of Hollywood Vampires @ The O2, London on 9th July 2023 by Bernadette O’Malley. Photos by Kalpesh Patel.

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