The 10th annual Imperial ball was hosted by actor/musician Johnny Depp this year. The event takes place during the NAMM Trade show and is held at a Servite High School in Anaheim, California.  To say that this show was very exclusive is an understatement. The seating capacity of 988 made this a very hard ticket to get. The show was billed as Johnny Depp and friends but took the moniker ”The Band with No Name” which included: Joey Malone (The Kids and Little Caesar) on guitar, Bruce Witkin (The Kids and Adam Ant) on bass, Tommy Henriksen (Alice Cooper) on guitar, Abe Laboriel Jr. (Paul McCartney) on drums and the star of the show, Johnny Depp (The Kids) on guitar.

  The focus of the night was on the two (2) charities that were selected to benefit from this show. They were The Art of Asylum , which is dedicated to enriching the lives of artists and hospital youth. The second one was Pet Orphans, who are dedicated to the welfare of forgotten pets of Southern California for the last 40 years.  Upon entering the school, there were additional prints of musical icons like The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Lemmy from Motorhead available for sale as well by gallery 319. It should be noted that an oil painting of the Hollywood Vampires (a group that consists of Johnny Depp, Joe Perry and Alice Cooper) brought 18,000 dollars for these charities after the show concluded.

  The evening started with an emcee talking about the charities and showing a video of each and why they were selected. Then a representative from each charity came out including a French mastiff named Sadie. Opening the set was a local band called the Glam Skanks. A mix between the Donnas and The Ramones, their 45minute set consisted of originals and a few covers including The Runaways “Cherry Bomb” and David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.”

  Before Depp and friends took to the stage, a video montage of the artists who left us over the last year played on the video screen. As the last one was shown (David Bowie), the band took the stage and went into “Rebel, Rebel.” The first half of the set was led by vocalist Terry Reid. Reid worked very well intertwining between all the members as they played the Bowie covers and then focused on songs from his career.

  Next up was shock rock legend Alice Cooper. Cooper already has a history with Depp playing with him in their side project “Hollywood Vampires.”  You could tell they shared a comradery throughout Cooper’s part of the set. At the beginning of his part of the show, he invited The Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger to do a medley of Doors classics “Five to One and “Break on Through.” He stated that The Doors were the only band to take the original Alice Cooper band under its wing when they first got to Los Angeles. He then proceeded to do a few classic Cooper tracks before inviting out his kids Calico and Dashiell to sing background vocals on “School’s Out.”

  It was a mix of everyone coming and going all night, as you can tell, it was a really a loose atmosphere.  The artists were able to enjoy themselves while giving a very enjoyable and memorable show. For all the people who wonder if Johnny Depp can play, I must remind you, he was in a band in the late 1970s and that was the real reason he moved to California in the early ’80s. He can hold his own and did so throughout this performance.  He even played slide guitar on a track too.  It was a wonderful show that benefits multiple charities and everyone shared in one magical night. You could say… Johnny did good!

Please check out the charities here: 

 

Art of Asylum: http://theartofelysium.org/

Pet Orpans: http://petorphans.org/

 

Set List: 

Rebel Rebel (David Bowie cover-Bruce Witkin on vocals)

Suffragette City (David Bowie cover- Abe Laboriel Jr. on vocals)

Heroes (David Bowie cover- Joey Malone on vocals)

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (Terry Reid song – Terry Reid on vocals)

Seed of Memory (Terry Reid song – Terry Reid on vocals)

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace (Terry Reid song – Terry Reid on vocals)

Brave Awakening (Terry Reid song – Terry Reid on vocals)

If You Let Her (Terry Reid song – Terry Reid on vocals)

Five to One/Break on Through (The Doors cover with Alice Cooper on vocals and Robbie Krieger on guitar)

Be My Lover (Alice Cooper song – Alice Cooper on vocals)

No More Mr. Nice Guy (Alice Cooper song – Alice Cooper on vocals)

Got a Line on You (Spirit cover – Terry Reid and Alice Cooper on vocals)

I’m Eighteen (Alice Cooper song – Alice Cooper on vocals)

Come Together (The Beatles cover – Alice Cooper on vocals)

Schools Out  (Alice Cooper song – Alice Cooper on vocals)/ (Another Brick in the Wall snippet -Pink Floyd cover)

Photo Gallery

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Johnny Depp Imperial Ball 2016
Johnny Depp Imperial Ball 2016

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That's when Backstageaxxess.com began. I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here. When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do. My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows: 1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium - Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96 2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) - Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03 3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05 4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89 5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center - Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06 The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.