"I can’t believe I just met him,” 12-year-old Molly Smith said after receiving a hug from the 'Pirates of The Caribbean' actor
By Juliet Pennington Published on July 29, 2023 01:01PM EDT
Johnny Depp is delighting U.S. fans once again!
After canceling multiple international performances — most recently last week in Slovakia — The Hollywood Vampires, featuring Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Tommy Henriksen, took to the stage in Boston Friday night to play before a sold-out crowd of 3,500 at the Boch Center’s Wang Theatre.
Prior to the performance, Depp arrived at the venue's backstage entrance and made a beeline to the fans who had gathered behind a barricade, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. The actor and musician took selfies, signed autographs and gave hugs to at least 20 of the more than 60 screaming fans.
Molly Smith, a 12-year-old from Concord, New Hampshire, was one such fan, and became tearful when she received not only a selfie with Depp, but a hug from him, too.
“He smiled at me and all I could get out was `hi’,” Smith says. “My mom got me into his movies and into his music. I can’t believe I just met him.”
Her mom, Cathy Smith, says Depp was “unbelievably sweet” to not only her daughter but others in the crowd whom he met.
“He really was so nice, and I’ve never seen her that excited,” she says of her daughter’s encounter with Depp. “She will never forget this.”
While all of the band members — including touring bandmates Glen Sobel, Buck Johnson and Chris Wyse — have long-established careers in the music industry, it was Depp, who is known primarily for his movie roles, who fans appeared to be the most excited to see.
When Depp took over the microphone to sing the lead vocals on “People Who Died” (The Jim Carroll Band cover) 10 songs into the 19-song setlist, the audience erupted in cheers and chants — everything from “we love you, Johnny” to “Jack Sparrow rocks,” a nod to his popular character in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Later in the set, he again received deafening cheers when frontman on a cover of David Bowie’s song “Heroes.”
Wearing a striped blue denim cap, a black vest — with “Hollywood Vampires” written on the back —over a black short-sleeve shirt, black pants and black boots, Depp showed continuous signs of appreciation for the audience. He pumped his fist to his heart and stretched it out to the crowd, clasped his hands together in gratitude, waved and smiled almost constantly. He played guitar for all of the songs and sang backing vocals on several.
After the encore — Cooper’s iconic “School’s Out” — Depp received gifts, ranging from stuffed animals to a custom Hollywood Vampires jacket, from fans who made their way to the stage.
Ahead of the show, several fans had said they were confident The Hollywood Vampires would not cancel the Boston show. Depp's band canceled several of their latest shows in a row, including a Slovakia tour date in mid-July.
"Upon arrival today to the venue in Slovakia to begin set up for tonight’s performance, it quickly became clear that the construction of the facility was incomplete, and therefore unsafe for both the band and the general public," wrote Hollywood Vampires in a since-deleted note on Instagram, attributed to the four main members as well as touring bandmates Sobel, Johnson and Wyse.
Back in May, Depp posted to Instagram the news of a fracture that would keep him from touring with his band for awhile.
However, one fan admitted to calling the theater Friday morning to make sure the nearly two-hour drive would not be for naught.
“I guess for a split second I thought `oh no, what if they cancel this one, too,’” says Iliana Donis, 32, a daycare worker from Lawrence, Mass. “But then when my brother and I got here and saw all of the equipment trucks [and] tour buses, we felt confident that the show would go on.”
And while she’s a big fan of the band, the mother of four says it’s Depp who was the main draw for her to attend the concert.
“I’m just such a fan of his and the kind of person he is,” Donis says. “I love his acting, his music, his art… he is so talented, but he is so humble, too.”
A source at the venue said that Depp arrived in Boston just before the show – unlike Cooper, who tells PEOPLE that he spent five days prior to the concert in Beantown.
“We usually don’t get that kind of time off, so my wife and I went everywhere in and around Boston,” Cooper said when he arrived at the venue, adding that he had “some great food and played golf.”
The Hollywood Vampires are scheduled to play in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Saturday and in Bethel, New York, on Sunday.