THE HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES — SANDS EVENT CENTER — MAY 21ST, 2018
You didn't think Alice Cooper would come to the East Coast and I wouldn't go, right?
Earlier in the year, the supergroup made up of shock rocker Alice Cooper, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, renowned actor Johnny Depp, and guitarist extraordinaire Tommy Henriksen announced European tour dates to take place in May, June, and July. Luckily for me, they also announced a series of warm-up shows on the East Coast and I was more than excited to attend one. Having missed the group on their first run of shows in 2016 in support of their first album entitled The Hollywood Vampires, I had no intention of missing them again.
New to the band this time around is Alice Cooper drummer (the #1 drummer in rock and roll) Glen Sobel, Ace Frehley's Chris Wyse, and Buck Johnson.
The show took place at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. The event center, connected to a hotel and casino, proved to be incredibly frustrating; at least for someone under the age of 21 like me. In most casinos in the surrounding area, patrons under the age of 21 can roam freely around the casino floor perimeter enjoying shops, restaurants, etc, the exception being crossing onto the casino floor. At the Sands Casino, everywhere was 21+. In order to eat before the show, and to roam between the hotel lobby/parking garage to see friends, I required a police escort along with a black wristband. Police even stood outside of the restaurant while I ate. It was a bit excessive, and unnecessary in my opinion. But other than that, the casino was clean, well maintained, and wasn't all too confusing to get around.
Now onto the actual show.
If you're unfamiliar with The Hollywood Vampires something that makes them so interesting is that along with cleverly curated originals, the band does a wide range of covers to honor their "dead drunk friends."
The Hollywood Vampires started out as the notorious drinking club that would meet nightly at the famous Rainbow Bar & Grill. The group consisted of 'President' Alice Cooper, 'Vice President' Keith Moon, Harry Nielsen, Micky Dolenz, Ringo Starr, 'Treasurer' Bob Brown, John Lennon, and more. Many didn't make it out of this time of sex, drugs, rock and roll, and excess alive, but one vampire by the name of Alice Cooper did. Taking inspiration from his 1970's drinking buddies, he formed the band of the same name to pay tribute.
Similarly to the Vampires first run, they did a fresh batch of new rock favorites as well as incorporating fan favorites from their first record. The show opened up with "I Want My Now", and went into an original from the group, "Raise The Dead." Over the course of the night, they covered a wide range of artists from The Who to The Jim Carroll Band.
I do have to say that such an interesting aspect of attending a Hollywood Vampires show is the sheer volume of people that attend to see Johnny Depp in the flesh. Although Alice Cooper and Tommy Henriksen are my main draws to see the band live, I am incredibly fond of Joe Perry's works as well as Johnny Depp's films. Seeing all of them incorporated in one singular project creates a strong appeal to a variety of people. But it's come to my attention that such a wide range of attendees of these shows don't even really know what's so legendary about seeing Cooper and Perry who have long since secured their spot at the top of rock royalty.
From hearing stories of fans attempting to break into Depp's hotel room, and the intense reaction that erupts from the crowd when Alice introduces him at the closing of the show, I can't help but wonder if Johnny was more than thankful I was not yet another crazed fan when we spoke at the end of the night.
I hope an end result of all of the fans coming solely for Johnny Depp is an appreciation for both Alice and Joe who will soon be celebrating the 50th anniversary of their monumental careers in music.
Overall, the show was an incredible time. A crowd favorite of the night was a cover of The Who's 'Baba O'Riley.' The song started out with a surprising acoustic intro, and erupted into one of the best tunes of the night as told by numerous fans that we ran into after. Another highlight of the night for me personally was a cover of David Bowie's 'Heroes.' Being a rather huge Bowie fan, seeing them pay tribute to him was extremely emotional. The band, as well as having a new range of covers to perform, also debuted a new original song that night entitled 'Bushwackers.' Members of the band took turns singing tunes. Cooper covered songs along the likes of AC/DC's 'The Jack', 'I Got a Line On You', and his own track 'I'm Eighteen', Joe Perry took hold of Aerosmith's 'Combination', Johnny Depp secured his rockstar persona with 'People Who Died' and 'Heroes', and even Chris Wyse took over Motörhead's 'Ace of Spades.'
All in all, this show was not one to miss. Although The Hollywood Vampires have no future dates in the United States as of right now, if you find yourself wandering through Europe this summer, be sure to check their tour dates here to be sure you don't miss it!
I give this show 🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻🤘🏻; there's nothing like good old rock and roll.