Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding: Don Felder, L.A. Guns, Sebastian Bach, John O'Hurley, Murray SawChuck, and Alice Cooper with Johnny Depp @ Comercia Theatre|12/8/12
Local shock rock legend and all Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Alice Cooper hosted his 12th annual Christmas Pudding holiday bash at Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix last night. All proceeds benefiting his Solid Rock Foundation, this year Cooper featured Pudding alum Don Felder, L.A Guns, Sebastian Bach, host John O' Hurley, and magician Murray SawChuck took the stage.
While the line-up of openers may have not been all that exciting on paper, Cooper had some tasty ingredients in his recipe this year (See what I did there?) closing out the night with a 10-song performance which featured superstar actor Johnny Depp and guitar virtuoso Orianthi backing him up.
Before the musical portion of the evening began, the "fastest painter in the world" Rock Demarco painted a live portrait of Cooper. Demarco is truly incredible; Between the Cooper piece, a Depp portrait, and a couple signed guitars, the live auction raised around $95,000.
After the live auction L.A Guns hit the stage for their quick three-song set featuring their best known material: "Never Enough", the power ballad "The Ballad of Jayne," and "Rip and Tear." Singer Phil Lewis was all smiles and you could tell he hadn't performed in front of a crowd that big in years. Comedian Mike "Black Jack" Wilson followed, and he was hilarious and spot on with his celebrity impersonations. His act was great entertainment.
Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach also dove right into his best known work, opening with "18 and Life." Bach was in great shape, hitting the high notes with ease and he really got the crowd involved. Towards the end of the song, Bach started interpolating bits of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen," before his band started a full cover of the song. He continued to pay homage to Cooper with a heavy version of "Be My Lover" before closing with Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild."
Former Eagle Don Felder slowed things down -- to the delight of the older folks -- with a cover of the classic "Hotel California" and Orianthi joined him during his 20-minute set which also featured a cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride and Joy" before he finished with the ambling West Coast pop standard "Take It Easy."
After a quick set change it was Cooper's turn. The media personality, radio deejay, rock 'n' roller, and all-around-nice-guy (despite those lyrical statements to the contrary) started his electrifying set with the rock anthem "No More Mr. Nice Guy."
He sported a black and red-striped jacket and matching pants as he roamed the stage pointing his wand at the crowd. His playful interaction with Orianthi during "I'll Bite Your Face Off" was charming in only a way Cooper could pull it off.
While Cooper is obviously the star of the show, Orianthi is the perfect wing-woman. The Australian guitarist was simply stunning, stealing the show with her deft playing. She rocked during "Billion Dollar Babies," as Cooper danced up and down the catwalk during the chorus.
"In the '70s I had a lot of friends involved in alcohol; four of them are dead," Cooper told the crowd before introducing "Johnny D. from Kentucky" to the stage for covers of The Doors' "Break On Through", The Beatles' "Revolution", Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady," and The Who's "My Generation."
It wasn't very surprising that Depp fit in well with the band. He's one of the guys who is fantastic in just about every role, and he nailed the part of the shy rhythm guitarist lurking in the shadows not trying to bring to much attention to himself. The Cooper staple "Under My Wheels" and "Poison" got the 50-somethings on their feet and dancing. A quartet of backup singers dubbed the "Cooperettes" joined the band for "School's Out," and they played a snippet of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick In the Wall (Part Two)" towards the end.
For the finale, Cooper invited members of all the bands that performed for a rocking cover of the Christmas song "Run Run Rudolph" as a giant Santa zombie stomped across the stage as snow fell. While Cooper may be getting older, he still knows how put on a fun show and deliver the goods -- and the right pals to call in to help him do it.
See the next page for notes, photos, and video from Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding.
Last Night: Alice Cooper's Christmas Pudding @ Comerica Theatre
The Crowd: A ton 50-somethings, and their kids.
Personal Bias: Alice was the first person to ever teach me how to put a golf ball in the middle of a photo shoot as few years back.
Overheard: "I love you Johnny Depp" over and over again from females of all ages in the crowd.