Review: Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper & Johnny Depp in Birmingham with surprise visit from Tony Iommi

Superstar Johnny Depp and rock gods Alice Cooper and Joe Perry provided a 'raucous assault to the senses' - with a surprise hometown tribute to Black Sabbath

Who are the Hollywood Vampires? If you haven't already heard of them, Hollywood Vampires is a collection of metal’s greatest hits in human form.

Fronted by Alice Cooper, they feature Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp on lead guitar as well as Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on guitar and vocals, Alice Cooper’s own Tommy Henriksen on guitar and vocals, as well as touring members Glen Sobel on drums, Chris Wyse on bass and Buck Johnson on keyboards

Named after Alice’s celebrity drinking club, the original Hollywood Vampires (aka Alice Cooper’s drinking buddies), frequented Rainbow Bar and Grill in LA where the plaque still stands to prove their existence like a tiny Hall of Fame.

Starting the Birmingham Utilita Arena show off on Tuesday night (July 11) with the statement “We are the Hollywood Vampires and we play for our dead drunk friends”, Alice took us down his very own memory lane of stars and days gone by. He’s 75 years-old now, and he’s an amazing performer as are all of the Hollywood Vampires.

Alice Cooper appeared from the smoke and lights first like a circus ringmaster, resplendent in leather to the tune of ‘I Want my Now’ followed by ‘Raise the Dead’, which had us cheering him on like a destructive schoolboy hellbent on classroom destruction. The set itself was a raucous assault to the senses, with flashing tv screens behind, smoke and lights galore.

Onto the setlist, the show covered hits from The Doors, The Who, The Jim Carroll Band, Aerosmith, AC/DC, David Bowie and Johnny Thunders as well as a sweet tribute to Jeff Beck who passed earlier this year, featuring his very own guitar. Taking the lead, Alice himself slid his leather clad snake hips across the stage for the first half of the show, before Johnny Depp took over lead vocals for a heartfelt rendition of ‘Heroes’ which of course left the crowd in rapture.

Joe Perry took a turn in the limelight for ‘Bright Light Fright’, proving his versatility on both guitars and vocals, stepping up to centre stage and playing his guitar behind his head for ‘Walk This Way’ in true rock n roll style. At crowd favourite ‘School’s Out’, giant balloons were thrown into the crowd to add to the frenzy and finish off the show.

But of course, there was an encore; and this one was a very special one indeed. Birmingham is of course known as the Home of Metal, with an exhibition and Walk of Stars to prove it. None other than Tony Iommi took a surprise turn on the stage for Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ and the crowd went wild. Who better to close the show than this man, this legend, himself?

The Hollywood Vampires don’t just play for the dead, but for the living. Any fan of these icons of days gone by will be thrilled to see the band perform, keeping the memory of the glory days alive. Miss it and miss out.

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