Alice Cooper Serves Up a Steaming Christmas Pudding – Live Review & Photo Gallery
By Libbi Rich

Happy Halloween! In honor of our favorite time of the year, we’ve opened the crypt to bring you some of DOOM!’s spookiest past coverage!

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December 8, 2012 – Alice Cooper’s 12th Annual Christmas Pudding was one surprise after another; mixing hard rock and gospel, magic and speed painting; sunbelt comedy and big-money auctions.

It’s after Christmas, so I’m going to skip all of the stupid holiday puns and get straight to the show.

Alice Cooper’s 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, a fundraiser for Cooper’s Solid Rock Foundation, and The Rock Teen Center, brought a motley crew (no Motley Crue) of performers, Johnny Depp, Zombie Santa, and snow to Phoenix’s Comerica Theater on December 8th, 2012.Split into two “servings,” the show opened with the powerful and exuberant voices of The Pilgrim Rest Mass Choir .

Pilgrim Rest Mass Choir @ Alice Cooper's 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Pilgrim Rest Mass Choir

Since Solid Rock *is* a faith-based organization, and The Rock Teen Center a partnership with Genesis Church, I was not surprised by the prayer offered up by Genesis pastor Pat Stark. Focusing on thankfulness and grace, there was not one moment of the entire affair that my non-faith-based self found heavy handed, preachy, or offensive. It was all love.The show was co-hosted by Seinfeld’s John O’Hurley and comic/magician, Murray SawChuck.

Murray SawChuck @ Alice Cooper's 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Co-host, Murray SawChuck

O’Hurley was smoothly funny, in a Vegas kind of way, but SawChuck stole the show for me with his Thomas Dolby shock of hair and slyly humorous prestidigitation.


The rest of the first serving highlighted local talent, including internationally known singer (and recent Valley relocatee) Jia Frances, who knocked out a few numbers with local church community favorite Danny Hunkin. I was completely knocked out by Hodgie Jo’s “Gift of Drums”, a drum group accompanying several
astonishingly talented dance groups.

Gift of Drums @ Alice Cooper's 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

AJ Odneal, one of Cooper’s ‘Proof is in the Pudding’ contest winners, put on a lovely acoustic set, followed by fellow contest winners Smokestack, a teen rock band out of local Rock and Roll High’s program. Paradise Valley High School Dancers followed.

Alice and Dash Cooper @ Alice Cooper's 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Cooper and his son, Dash, proved that the family that plays together … well, you know. Cooper (the elder) joined Cooper (the younger) for a few song’s with Dash’s band, Co-op.

The excitement level ramped up when Orianthi hit the stage. A whiz-kid guitarist, discovered by Carlos Santana during a tour stop in Australia,  Orianthi Pangaris was named Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year in 2010 by Guitar International magazine. Probably best known for her work with the late Michael Jackson, Orianthi has played with superstars ranging from Carrie Underwood to, uh…Alice Cooper. She’s the first female member of Cooper’s touring band, and she is AMAZING. Check out this amazing guitar jam featuring Steve Vai.

Orianthi Pangaris @ Alice Cooper's 12th Annual Christmas Pudding, ©2012 Libbi Rich ~ DOOM! Magazine

Orianthi Pangaris

The rock continued with speed painter Rock DeMarco doing a live, music-backed portrait of Cooper … much more fun than it might sound … DeMarco isn’t ‘just’ a painter, he’s an entertainer. Long before the paint could dry, the portrait was auctioned off to a member of the audience. The bidding was fast and furious. The winning bid: a whopping $8,000. That was just the beginning, though. Two guitars, autographed by all of the Pudding performers were auctioned for $11,000 EACH. Things really heated up, though, when a DeMarco painting of guest star Johnny Depp hit the auction block. I’m not sure if it was the painting or the accompanying meet-and-greet with Depp that whipped the crowd into a frenzy. The frantic bidding ended at $20,000. I was watching the audience go at it, and saw one of the losing bidders furiously punch her husband in the arm when he wouldn’t top the winning bid.

The second helping of pudding, after a brief intermission, consisted of base of 80s hard rock, mixed enthusiastically with 70s mainstream, and sprinkled with Hollywood magic. The latest incarnation of L.A. Guns (guitarist Stacey Blades announced that he was leaving the band (again) a few days after this show), fronted by Phil Lewis, kicked things off with three from their best-selling 1989 album, Cocked & Loaded: “Never Enough”, “Ballad of Jayne”, and “Rip and Tear”.

Former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach opened his four song set with SR’s hit, 18 and Life, blending and then segueing into Cooper’s iconic I’m Eighteen. Bach closed with Be My Lover and Youth Gone Wild.And the goodies kept flowing, though the pacing dropped a bit; next up, former Eagles guitarist Don Felder.

The night before, at the sound check, Felder and Orianthi seemed to have a blast tweaking the intro to the iconic Eagles hit, Hotel California. They killed it the night of the show.

Felder followed up with a tight rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughn‘s Pride & Joy, and closed with the Eagles Take it Easy.
Finally, it was Alice’s turn. Cooper and his band — guitarists Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen, and Ryan Roxie, bassist Chuck Garric, and drummer Glen Sobel— pulled out all the stops on their 10 song set. Leading off with the oxymoronic No More Mr. Nice Guy, Cooper swaggered around the range of the stage, walking out on the catwalk, pointing his black cane as if casting demonic spells on the audience. After ripping renditions of I’ll Bite Your Face Off, and Billion Dollar Babies, Cooper mentioned that he’d lost a lot of amazingly talented friends to drugs and alcohol over the years, and introduced his new friend, Johnny Depp, to pay homage to some of the dearly departed.
Depp stepped out of the wings to the shrieks of audience members ranging from 10 to 60+. He appeared almost shy, and stood to the back of the stage, just another rhythm guitarist gigging with a pal’s band. I sincerely hope that the crowd noticed the loving treatment Depp Cooper & Co. gave the amazing cover set, featuring the Doors Break On Through (To the Other Side), the Beatles RevolutionJimi Hendrix‘ Foxy Lady, the Who‘s My Generation, and Poison‘s Under My Wheels. Coop closed his set with the iconic (and befitting of a benefit for an after school program for teens) School’s Out.
The cherry on top of Alice Cooper’s pudding? What else but a full-cast (and very full-stage) rendition of Run, Run Rudolph, complete with heavily falling snow and a ginormous zombie Santa? Now THAT was a dessert to savor!
Libbi Rich (40 Posts)

Middle-aged punk princess; pop culture hound; geekgirl; liberal activist and general shit-stirrer; reader of nanopunk/cyberpunk/comics/ anything-I-can-get-my-hands-on; wife and mom.