Hollywood Vampires and The Darkness, Genting Arena, Birmingham

Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry gave Birmingham fans a show to sink their teeth into when they played as Hollywood Vampires on their first-ever UK tour.

The supergroup received support from The Damned and The Darkness at the Genting Arena show, which attracted thousands of fans – many of whom were dressed in Alice Cooper-like attire and make-up for the occasion.

The Darkness gave a stellar performance as the warm-up act, with a 45-minute show made up of hits, fan favourites and newer tracks.

Among the highlights was a superb rendition of Growing On Me, on which frontman Justin Hawkins – dressed in a white shirt and white flares – showed off his trademark tremendous range and wacky stagemanship.

“Who’s excited to see Alice Cooper?” bellowed Justin.

“Who’s excited to see Joe Perry?”

The glam rock icon then fell silent – provoking laughter from the crowd.

“Me too,” he quipped.

Fans were then treated to numbers such as One Way Ticket and Get Your Hands Off My Woman, before the talented band’s excellent high-energy set was drawn to a close with 2003 hit I Believe In A Thing Called Love, which went down a storm.

It was then time for the main attraction following an interval and, as the lights went down in the packed-out arena, huge cries of excitement came from the crowd as eerie organ notes floated across the venue, followed by wolf howls.

Then on strolled Joe, cigarillo in mouth, followed by the band’s drummer, backing guitarist, keys player and bassist, Johnny Depp and finally Alice Cooper.

Johnny, aged 55, has hit headlines recently over fears he may be unwell due to his ‘gaunt’ appearance.

And though his face looked a little more drawn than we are used to seeing on the silver screen, made-up – with only the very best of lighting – he looked good for his age, if a little haggard.

I do, however, think people easily forget how close the Kentucky-born heartthrob is to reaching 60.

“We are the Hollywood Vampires,” announced Alice, donning a dark velvet coat, frilled white shirt and trademark eye make-up.

“We sing for our dead, drunk friends.”

The story of the Hollywood Vampires began in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the Rainbow Bar and Grill’s upstairs bar; a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through Los Angeles.

Among those to frequent the club were Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Keith Moon – and it was these late icons to whom the band last night paid tribute.

The 90-minute set was filled with covers a-plenty, with some of the group’s original material added in.

The Doors’ Break On Through saw pictures displayed of Jim Morrison, while on Ace Of Spades by Motörhead the band paid tribute to Lemmy Kilmister, with his photos also shown.

Baba O’Riley by The Who saw Alice refer to ‘one of the most beloved undead’ Keith Moon, and The Jack by AC/DC, on which the group remembered Malcolm Young, also featured.

Among the Vampires’ original numbers was As Bad As I Am, which Alice told fans was written by Johnny Depp about his father, which saw Johnny speak a section of the lyrics.

But the Edward Scissorhands idol really shone during the band’s wonderful rendition of David Bowie’s Heroes, on which Johnny’s vocals were outstanding – and incredibly, unexpectedly close to those of the late Jean Genie star’s.

Stop Messin’ Round by Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, meanwhile, which was also recorded by Aerosmith, saw Joe Perry take over the mic for one song, showing off a wonderful voice with great range and gritty, yet smooth tone.

Joe impressed with his excellent guitar skills on this number too – as well as on many others; even playing behind his head at points.

Another treat for the audience was a surprise, excellent performance from Mott The Hoople’s Ian Hunter, who sang alongside the band on 1972 hit All The Young Dudes.

As the show drew to a close, the audience gave the group a standing ovation, before they returned to the stage for one final number – School’s Out; much to fans’ delight, which merged into a rendition of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall.

A fangtastic evening, filled with bloody top-class talent and a-list stars – and one for fans to remember.

By Kirsten Rawlins for Expressandstar.com