REVIEW/PHOTOS: Iconic rockers Hollywood Vampires blissfully bite into Bethel Woods
On an absolutely perfect July evening in the Catskill Mountains of New York, only one night after outlaw country legend Willie Nelson graced the same stage, the Hollywood Vampires flew out into the night to rock a huge crowd that turned out at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for a rare opportunity to see this supergroup perform on the East Coast.
Named after a celebrity drinking club formed by Alice Cooper in the 1970s – whose members included the likes of John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and Keith Moon, among others – Hollywood Vampires began touring in 2015. The core three, consisting of Cooper himself, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, and superstar actor Johnny Depp, have been joined over the years by a who’s who of musical ringers, including Duff McKagen, Tom Morello, Geezer Butler, Perry Farrell, Zak Starkey, and Marilyn Manson. Touring musicians have included McKagen and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses, Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, and Robert Deleo of Stone Temple Pilots.
Simply put, this is a live party of epic proportions. While the mission of the original namesake club was to drink until no one could stand up, the current goal of the band seems to be to have as much fun as possible when they get together and present a serious, straight-on hard rock show unlike any other to their fans.
On Sunday, July 30, they came out in front of four huge video screens displaying skeleton caricatures of the core three and rhythm guitarist Tommy Henriksen while cannons built a wall of smoke across the entire front edge of the stage. Opening with two originals, “I Want My Now” and “Raise the Dead,” the band was in full stride by the time they hit their first cover of the night with Cooper’s classic rock anthem “I’m Eighteen.”
Known for his tight circle of elite touring musicians, Cooper and company tore like bats out of hell through the remainder of a 19-song set, which included a few more originals and a slew of covers like The Doors’ “Break on Through,” Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory” featuring Perry on vocals, David Bowie’s “Heroes” with Depp on vocals, AC/DC’s “The Jack,” The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Jeff Beck’s “Beck’s Bolero” with Perry playing Beck’s guitar, Aerosmith’s “Train Kept A-Rollin’” and “Walk This Way,” and the encore – “School’s Out” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.”
As the night came to a close, fans couldn’t help but smile knowing they just watched truly iconic stars having a blast biting into some of the biggest songs that many grew up partying to on a much smaller scale than they had that night.
With this being the end of an only three-show tour, Cooper is preparing to head back out on the road with his solo band, joining Rob Zombie, Ministry, and Filter on the Freaks on Parade Tour, which hits The Pavilion at Montage Mountain in Scranton on Friday, Sept. 8. Perry will also be heading back out with Aerosmith and The Black Crowes on the “Peace Out” Farewell Tour for the Boston legends beginning on Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.