Most vampires wait until sunset to come out, but not the Hollywood Vampires.
At 8:36 p.m., about 30 minutes before the sun went down, the supergroup appeared on the Fraze Pavilion stage to a cheering audience that stayed on their feet through the entire set.
Two-thirds of the founding members of the Hollywood Vampires — Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp — performed their first full concert without bandmate Joe Perry of Aerosmith. Perry collapsed on stage in New York on Sunday night and was hospitalized.
Cooper asked the audience several times during the concert to send Perry get-well wishes, and certainly, the lead guitarist was missed, especially when the group performed Aerosmith's “Sweet Emotion” and “Train Kept A-Rollin'.”
Perry's absence didn't deter most concert-goers, but he was clearly part of the appeal of coming to the show.
“We've seen Alice Cooper three times, and, of course, Johnny Depp – we love his movies,” said Chris Stacy, speaking about herself and husband Mark.
“And Aerosmith, well, they've been on our bucket list,” the Beavercreek woman said.
The Hollywood Vampires take their name from a 1970s celebrity drinking club formed by Cooper that included other musicians, such as Keith Moon of The Who. The band's setlist honors a number of Cooper's rock musician friends who died untimely deaths due to the excessive lifestyle that's a hallmark of rock and roll superstardom.
“The fact that they'd doing a tribute to all of their dead friends is great,” Mark Stacy said.
Accustomed to starring in leading roles, Hollywood actor Johnny Depp was almost unassuming as he played guitar and sang backing vocals. Other band members included Stone Temple Pilot's Robert DeLeo on bass and Guns N' Roses' Matt Sorum on drums. But it was clear to everyone in the audience that the star of the evening was 68-year-old Cooper, who sang lead on every song.
A consummate singer and songwriter, Cooper is known as the godfather of “shock rock," whose shows typically include snakes, electric chairs, straight jackets and guilletines. With The Hollywood Vampires, he has reinvented himself. He showed off his pipes in numbers ranging from David Bowie's “Suffragette City” to Led Zeppelin's “Whole Lotta Love” to Aerosmith's “Sweet Emotion.”
“If we didn't do one of your favorite covers tonight, it's because they're not dead yet,” Cooper told the audience.
The show's message was a mix of rock-while-you-can carpe diem as well as a reminder of the dangers of living on the edge.
Joe Perry's publicist has reported that the guitarist “will rejoin his fellow Vampires on stage again soon.”