at the Open Air Theatre, Scarborough, U.K., July 5, 2023

HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES (Live at the Open Air Theatre, Scarborough, U.K., July 5, 2023)
Photo: Mick Burgess

As a holiday resort, Scarborough was a popular destination for multitudes of workers and their families seeking a break from the harshness of life in the inter-war years and one of the draws of the town other than the stunning beaches was the Open Air Theatre. First opened in 1932 the stage has been graced by classic shows including the opera, Merrie England, West Side Story and James Last and his Orchestra and more recently Blondie, Britney Spears and Sting. Quite what the spirits of the theatre past made of the Hollywood Vampires is anyone’s guess but one thing is for sure, tonight’s show by these veritable Rock legends will live long in the memory of those present in this beautiful venue.

Formed by Alice Cooper over 10 years ago to celebrate the lives and music of his legendary, celebrity drinking club, the Hollywood Vampires, with the help of Aerosmith’s lead guitarist, Joe Perry and film megastar Johnny Depp along with Cooper’s solo band mates, Tommy Henriksen, Glen Sobel and Chris Wyse, the Hollywood Vampires is the ultimate tribute to his drinking buddies of days gone by, with Cooper being pretty much the sole survivor.

It’s rather fitting that the sinister Bauhaus classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is used as the intro tape before the Hollywood Vampires descend onto the stage in all of their ghoulish glory to “I Want My Now” and a startlingly thunderous “Raise The Dead.”

As the raison d’etre of the Hollywood Vampires is to celebrate Cooper’s “dead, drunk friends”, the set was liberally peppered with classic covers from “Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side)” by The Doors to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” while the self-penned “My Dead Drunk Friends” saw Cooper’s raising a glass to his brothers who drank until they died.

While Cooper handles the bulk of the lead vocals, Depp steps up to the microphone for Bowie’s “Heroes” while Perry delivered a moving take on the Johnny Thunder’s classic “You can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” making it sound almost as if the song was written for him. Perry too delved deep into the Aerosmith archives for a ferocious “Bright Light Fright.”

Vampire’s originals were slipped in throughout the set matching those classics of their friends every step of the way with the in your face Rocker “As Bas As I Am.” “The Boogieman Surprise” and “Who’s Laughing Now” featuring a deliciously sleazy riff from Perry, hitting the mark.

While the main focus is on Cooper, Perry and Depp, the rest of the band look fantastic, suitably rough and ragged like the Rock ‘n’ Roll vagabonds they are, providing the platform on which the blood sucking trio deliver the classics whether it’s Cooper’s “I’m Eighteen” or Perry’s Funk fuelled Aerosmith classic “Walk This Way,” a song that literally had the whole theatre grooving.

A touching moment came with Perry donning Jeff Beck’s legendary Fender Stratocaster for a medley of Beck classics complete with a video montage for the guitarist that inspired a generation.

With Depp reprising his version of Killing Joke’s “The Death and Resurrection Show,” last performed on his tour with Jeff Beck, it was down to a rollicking “Train Kept A Rollin’” and Cooper’s evergreen “School’s Out” complete with giant balloons bouncing across the crowd, to bring the show to a blood draining end, shaking this sleepy seaside town to its very core.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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