HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES – 08.07.2023 – Manchester, UK
PHOTOGRAPHER: C. Nepper
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The fabulous Hollywood Vampires featuring Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, and Tommy Henriksen played a rousing and utterly entertaining set at the AO Arena in Manchester on July 8, and I can honestly tell you that it was the best night out of the year.
Backed by a thunderous rhythm section consisting of the inimitable Chris Wyse (The Cult, Ozzy Osbourne) on bass and Glen Sobel (the Alice Cooper band) on drums and then having multi-instrumentalist Buck Johnson (Aerosmith) on board to add keyboards and atmospherics to the proceedings, it should come as no surprise that it was incredibly fun and inspiring to see this group of friends tear through some of the best rock songs known to man with such gusto, flair, and style. The stage itself looked amazing as did the projections and videos that were showing on the four rectangular screens behind the kick-ass ensemble, and the sound was thick, massive, and delightfully crunchy. With the setlist containing such gems as ‘The Jack’ (AC/DC), ‘Break on Through (to the Other Side)’ (The Doors), ‘Baba O’Riley’ (The Who), ‘Walk This Way’ (Aerosmith) and original tracks such as ‘Raise the Dead’ and ‘Who’s Laughing Now’, this was fist-pumping rock ‘n’ roll music at its finest.
The standout moments, or most epic highlights, if you will, included a heartfelt rendition of Johnny Thunder’s ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Round a Memory’ with Perry singing lead vocals, the charmingly sinister and playful ‘The Boogieman Surprise’ with Alice wielding his usual charismatic magic, and the fiery (not to mention infectiously catchy) ‘People Who Died’ where Depp was in charge of the microphone. David Bowie’s beautiful and poignant ‘Heroes’ was moving too, and the hard-hitting and edgy ‘The Death and Resurrection Show’ by Killing Joke was mesmerizing. And do not even get me started on how superb the tribute to Jeff Beck was – what a lovely moment!
‘School’s Out’ served as the encore and was a fittingly anthemic musical finale to a marvelous evening in the company of one the coolest and most unique acts out there, and it was thrilling to feel the raw power that roared through the speakers at AO Arena that night. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be “electrifying”. Do see Hollywood Vampires if and when you get the chance, okay?