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Johnny Depp: Fear and loathing in Birmingham for Jeff Beck fans but delight for actor's army

Hollywood mega star Johnny Depp has ticked off another Birmingham icon.

Out front, Johnny Depp
Out front, Johnny Depp

Sunday, a balti; Monday playing the Symphony Hall with his friend Jeff Beck.

And people shouted "Megapint" at him throughout, as people will do for the rest of his life, such is the extent of how his dirty washing was done in public.

Guitar aficionados who waited three years after a Covid cancellation and forked out over £60 to see arguably the world's greatest living guitarist were livid they were forced to watch someone who doesn't earn their living strumming strings.

But for the 25 per cent of the crowd who had brought their tickets in the last few days to see the film star it was one of the greatest concerts they've seen. Depp fans came from London, Devon and even France to celebrate a court victory across the pond.

They wore T-shirts with either the old Viper Room owner's face emblazoned on or huge prints of catchphrases which have been thrown up by his global libel trial with ex-wife Amber Heard, "Megapint" being one suitable for a family newspaper.

Mega Pint, a Depp fan's t-shirt

And they were loud, when the microphone was placed on stage for the first time the shouts began, with those hollering totally ignoring the sublime string work by Mr Beck in the opening 20 minutes of this strange concert.

Depp waved to the audience as various shouts cut through the music and crowd; "We love you Johnny", "well done Johnny", "Johnny, its my birthday".

Whereas Jeff Beck looks like an old rock star - wizened, and lithe, wearing the same denim jeans and jacket he would pop down the garage to get his oil checked - Depp looks like a bloated film star, a whirl of scarves, shirts and jackets.

I could not count how many clothes he wore in less than 40 minutes on stage or how many guitars he used, where Beck stuck to his white Stratocaster until the final song, and needless to say did not remove any clothing.

Beck and Depp on stage

The former Yardbird is 77-years-old, an icon in his own right, who is spoken in the same breath as Hendrix and Clapton. He is the guitar player's guitar player, the guitar teacher's guitar player and even the guitar string tightener's guitar player.

Jeff had only played five songs before Depp wandered on stage to a hero's ovation, and then he began to sing, the Beck music fans exchanged glances and furrowed brows as the film fans stared adoringly at Jack Sparrow, Edward Scissorhands and Hunter S Thompson.

Beck does not need a singer normally, on account that he can make his instrument sing, beautifully. This is a man who can play Nessum Dorma on guitar.

Johnny got the message when they performed Marvin Gaye's What's Going On. Beck's guitar did the work on those wonderful verses only for Depp to sing "brothers" "sisters" and a few other phrases that Marvin never uttered. Hendrix's Little Wing was then butchered by Depp, the Symphony Hall's acoustics are incredible, but that means you can hear ever bum note, and there were a few.

Embracing at the end, Depp and Beck

Upping the tempo, Depp changed his voice, from crooner to death metal, when they performed Killing Joke's The Death and Resurrection Show. This was Depp's best moment and during the second after hitting the note on the word "purity" came the shout "Mega Pint" from the audience, and everyone laughed.

Depp then wandered off waving as he went but was back for the encore, The Beatles' A Day In The Life.

The Depp fans bounded down the front to get a closer look at superstardom.

As the crowd melted away into the Birmingham night, excited women shouted down their phones it "was the greatest concert ever".

And then the Beck fans like Alan Hadley, from Alrewas, who saw the Yardbirds in 1964, Hendrix in London, and Clapton, complained to each other about "Beck's mate being on stage".

He was a lot more polite than most when he said: "Well Beck was incredible, but it was ruined by Johnny Depp who appears can't sing or play guitar and was on stage for 40 minutes out of a 70 minute show. We brought tickets for Beck, not Depp."

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