Hollywood Vampires / The Darkness Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     July 11, 2018    
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Hollywood Vampires / The Darkness - Wembley SSE Arena, London (UK) - 20 June 2018

The Hollywood Vampires have been around for years, although not in this configuration. Originally, it was a collective of musicians and artistes who would get together and basically get legless whenever they could. Previous members included Jim Morrison, Harry Nillsson, John Lennon, Keith Moon and many others under the ring mastership of the guy who has kept the memory alive and brought it to fruition at Wembley tonight – Alice Cooper. His fellow vampires on this particular tour are Aerosmith's Joe Perry and a certain Johnny Depp.

Before that came support from The Damned who, due to the Tube not stopping at Wembley and the box office having too long a queue to only have two people working at the windows, we totally missed. It was the only band I had never seen any of, but I heard they were fantastic, so there you go.

On stage before the headliners was The Darkness who, up to now, had always made me laugh, simply due to the awful Falsetto singing from Justin Hawkins. The music has always been pretty good and, fortunately, the first two numbers didn't feature Falsetto at all. However, the third one did, and I wanted to put my fingers in my ears.

The Darkness Hollywood Vampires Live 2

To be fair though, that's probably what got them noticed in the first place and, to be honest, I started to warm to him with his sense of humour, although the bit about going into the audience and decapitating them if they didn't stand up and join in was a bit inappropriate, as was the threat to drop his trousers because he said that Depp had supposedly told him "if all else fails, show them your knob" which was a bit eeeeeeww. My partner, however, still hates his squeaky vocals and listed the first three songs they did as 'Urrgh', 'Eeirkk' and 'Eeeeggchie' which I thought a little harsh.

Solid Gold, Growing On Me, Love Is Only A Feeling, Japanese Prisoner Of Love, One Way Ticket..., Barbarian, Buccaneers Of Hispaniola, Get Your Hands Off My Woman (followed by the riff of Sweet Child O' Mine), I Believe In A Thing Called Love

The moment we had all been waiting for soon arrived and if you had told me this time last year that I would be able to see Perry, Cooper and Depp all together on the same stage in the UK, I would have made an appointment for you with the psychiatrist. However, here they were before us, and Cooper (as ever) looked just as menacing.

Hollywood Vampires Live 1

When Perry first came on I thought, "who is the guy that looks like Dylan?" and wondered if he was making a special appearance with them. As for Depp, there's been a lot in the press about him recently, and I actually saw a review of the show the next day in one of those free papers you get so that you don't have to look at other people on the underground, and it said that Depp staggered incoherently all over the stage for the first two songs. I would like to state very loudly that this is a load of old bollocks and I don't know what that guy was watching. He was fine and played his Les Paul style guitar (which I admit, I couldn't tell if it was turned up) on songs that he co-wrote with Cooper for the album they released.

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Okay, he was a little subdued, but he was sharing the stage with Perry and Cooper. The whole idea of these shows is to pay tribute to some of Cooper's old drinking buddies who never made it out of the seventies and consequently we got a lot of covers. Most notable were an excellent version of 'Baba O'Riley', 'People Who Died' and David Bowie's 'Heroes', the latter two both sung by Depp; the former was accompanied by projected pictures of some of these people and yes, to be honest, the vocals were a little indistinct, but 'Heroes' was fine.

Hollywood Vampires Live 2

I even thought that Perry was going to take a turn on vocals for 'Sweet Emotion' as Cooper moved to the back at the beginning and stood there as he banged his tambourine, but he took on the vocals after Perry had done his voice box intro. They also covered Motörhead's 'Ace Of Spades' which, alongside 'Heroes'. got the loudest cheers of the night. To close the show, we had another Cooper hit ('I'm Eighteen' had been played earlier) which had to be 'School's Out' and, as ever with a Cooper show, we had the large balloons with the Hollywood Vampires logo on them, which most people happily punched over the whole arena until they suddenly realised they may be worth hanging on to.

Hollywood Vampires Live 3

There you have it, that was the first Hollywood Vampires show in London and Cooper loves it here, so he told us they would be back because they love the English blood. The show was good, but I did notice other photographers paying most attention to Depp, which I feel was a bit unfair to Cooper and Perry, and to Depp himself, although he seemed fairly happy up there. With all the rumours about his health, it suddenly occurred to me that, if there is any truth in them, then he couldn't be in better hands to get through it. Until next time...

Hollywood Vampires Live 4

Bela Lugosi's Dead / The Last Vampire (over PA), I Want My Now, Raise The Dead, I Got A Line on You, (Spirit), 7 and 7 Is (Love), My Dead Drunk Friends, Five To On /Break On Through (To The Other Side (The Doors), The Jack, (AC/DC), Ace Of Spades (Motörhead), Baba O'Riley (The Who), As Bad As I Am, The Boogieman Surprise, I'm Eighteen (Alice Cooper), Stop Messin' Around (Fleetwood Mac), People Who Died (Jim Carroll Band), Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith), Bushwackers, Heroes (David Bowie), Train Kept A-Rollin' (Tiny Bradshaw), Encore: School's Out (inc 'Another Brick In The Wall), Anarchy In The U.K (over PA).

Review and pictures Andy Brailsford

Hollywood Vampires Live 5

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