Sunday, June 25, 2023

Backstage with the Hollywood Vampires

The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Joe Perry & Johnny Depp) played a kick-ass show in Paris on Sunday, June 25th 2023. Thanks to local promoter GĂ©rard Drouot Productions, we were able to make it backstage after the concert. Here's a quick account of what that was like.

We weren't in any VIP section with access to dressing rooms or anything. We basically were in the hospitality room with a bunch of other guests including music journalists, music industry folks and well-connected fans, all in all maybe about thirty people. Under a huge, very cool-looking chandelier, six big collapsable tables were set up with a bunch of chairs. The bar was open, but only appeared to be servingg soft drinks. But Tommy Henriksen and Chris Wyse soon came to the rescue with some beer and wine...

The whole backing band was there, but it soon became evident that none of the three stars would be joining us. Deep down, we probably all knew that was going to be the case, but if we're being honest we were all hoping to meet Alice and Joe.

As for Depp, we were pleasantly surprised that his presence at the show didn't cause the same commotion as it did during last year's Jeff Beck show at the Olympia. Most of the audience was comprised of real rock fans and not celebrity-obsessed autograph hunters and selfie-chasers. This was the same at the backstage event: the people in attendance were just happy to hang out with Tommy Henriksen, Buck Johnson, Glen Sobel and Chris Wyse. In fact, there was a real hardcore Tommy Henriksen fan who had brought a whole lot of mementos for him to sign, including white label pressings of some of his early, more obscure recordings, including vinyl records of his first band Ruffkut from 1984!
It was pretty cool to see the wardrobe flight cases being brought out. Tommy Henriksen even opened one and took out Alice's giddup for a few fans to see. And then, Alice Cooper's dressing door opened... Could it be?

Alice's wife Cheryl stepped out, soon followed by a couple of other people, including Alice's assistant Kyler Clarke. And then, the man himself... The whole room got quiet. Somehow, everyone knew not to disturb him. A couple of cheers and applauses followed, which seemed to make Alice happy. And then they were whisked off to the car. This was our first time seeing the man in plain clothes, just being Vincent and not playing the Alice character or being a rock star on stage. Without the stage light, the make-up, the clothes and the attitude, the difference was striking: this was just a regular 75 year-old man in trainers. Even his posture was different.

The party was dispersed shortly after that, as the band had to get on the bus for their next gig in Hamburg. As we left, we saw the fans waiting outside for a glimpse at their heroes, as the crew inside was breaking down the stage, probably working far into the morning, and we felt pretty privileged to have been able to attend this little after-party of sorts.

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