Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: Celebrity Theatre
Date: Saturday December 8th, 2018
For the past 17 years Alice and Sheryl Cooper have been putting on a combination auction/concert to help raise money for their nonprofit, Solid Rock. They have created a teen center that “provides teens with free music, dance and art lessons, vocational training in sound, lighting, video editing and recording, as well as a safe place to hang out after school“. Alice and Sheryl came up with the idea when they saw the art programs were being dropped by many of the schools. The teen center was their way of allowing kids to develop their artistic talents. Sheryl is best known as a dance instructor/choreographer and of course Alice is a Rock music icon. You can find out more about Alice Cooper Solid Rock here: www.alicecoopersolidrock.com .
When I arrived at the Celebrity Theatre 1 hour prior to the start (I got there at 7PM), the parking lot was already full and we were directed to the dirt overflow lot. The event was sold out. When I walked into the theatre, the lights were already out, but I was lucky enough that I got there just as they were starting the main part of the event. I asked a couple of friends and was told that people had actually started to arrive at 3:30. The show started with the entire Cooper family on stage and Sheryl leading us in a prayer. Then started the festivities.
First up were the Solid Rock Dancers. They performed a couple of different choreographed dance routines. These are all kids that the Solid Rock teen center have helped.
Then we got to see the “Proof is in the Pudding Soloist Winner”, Conrad Varela. He played a couple of solo guitar Christmas songs with backing music.
Next up were the “Proof in the Pudding Band Winner”, Undecided Youth. They are a high energy rock band fronted by the very charismatic lead singer, Summer Welsh. Conner Kelly provided the guitar riffs with Will Hanson on bass and drummer Jacob Treat laying down the rhythm. It’s hard to believe that this talented group of musicians are just kids with most still in high school. You can see Undecided Youth at a number of venues around the valley in January and it would be worth your time if you like good solid Rock and Roll music.
After a short break for some items to be auctioned off, Beastö Blancö came out to amaze the crowd. Beastö Blancö performance is very similar to an Alice Cooper show. It is not surprising that this band looks a lot like an Alice show since it has both Alice’s daughter Calico Cooper and Alice’s band member Chuck Garric as members. They put on a 3-song set that was kickass if you like exceptional rock music and an extraordinary stage show. Chuck is a masterful guitarist driving out riff after riff. Calico was mesmerizing as she danced around the stage singing. During the last song of the set, Calico got a fire extinguisher and sprayed down the stage engulfed all of the band members. The rest of the band is made up of drummer Tim Husung, bassist Jan LeGrow and Brother Latham on guitar. Personally, I can not wait to see this band again when they perform a full set.
While the stage crew removed equipment and setup for the next performers, we had one of the big auctioned items of the night. Local restaurant owner and master chef, Mark Tarbell came out and they auctioned off a personal dining experience at his restaurant. The winner got dinner for themselves and 9 friends with Alice and Sheryl. Mark would personally cook the meal and the winner got to pick the wine from Mark’s personal cellar.
The stage was setup and Sixwire, a Nashville band came out to perform with the next guest artists. Each of the artists performed a 3-song set.
First up was Sabastian Bach, front man and lead singer of Skid Row. Sabastian still has a great voice and an impressive stage presence.
Next was singer Gretchen Wilson. She has a terrific voice and superb stage presence. For her last song she did a cover of the classic Heart rock song, “Barracuda”.
One of my favorite classic rock band, Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult were up next. They played their classic songs, “Godzilla” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”. Ever since the Saturday Night Live skit where cowbell (“I need more Cowbell”) was played during the recording of “The Reaper”, Blue Oyster Cult has added it to their show as a joke.
While the stage was cleared and setup for the main event, Larry the Cable Guy came out to entertain us. He did about 30 minutes of jokes including his famous “WalMart after Midnight” jokes. Larry also helped auctioneer Letitia Frye calling out the different items being auctioned off all night.
Probably the most sought-after item of the night was an autographed guitar that Johnny Depp played during the concert. I have heard that Johnny can be very standoffish, but tonight he was anything but. He was gracious, funny and warm. He posed numerous times for selfie’s with different members of the crowd. And when the lady won the bid for his guitar, he bent down, talked to her and hugged her. As a special request, he asked if he could use the guitar for the performance and would give the guitar to the lady after the show. All of the winners of auctioned items gathered after the show in the bar downstairs to get the item(s) and they could take photos with the different entertainers.
So now we are at the time and performance that everyone was waiting for, The Hollywood Vampires. The main 3 members of the Hollywood Vampires are Alice Cooper as lead singer, Johnny Depp on guitar and Joe Perry on guitar. Due to illness, Joe Perry was unable to make it. Alice and Johnny were joined by Tommy Henriksen on guitar, Duff McKagan on keyboards and acoustic guitar, Chris Wyse on bass and Glen Sobel on drums.
Johnny wandered around the stage laying down both rhythm and driving guitar riffs. Alice, the consummate front man, strode around the stage playing to the audience. At times he had his signature cane and top hat as be belted out the songs. Alice said that he, Johnny and Joe created the band as a tribute to their fellow musicians that drank too much and some were no longer with us. As a tribute to Keith Moon of The Who, who died of alcohol poisoning, they performed “Teenage Wasteland”. They ended their set with Alice’s signature anthem, “Schools Out”.
For a finale, Alice invited all of the other band members out on stage. They then performed “Run, Run Rudolph” were Alice would point to different people and they would perform a mini solo. It was truly amazing that they got all of the artist on the stage. It was really a fantastic way to end an awesome evening.
This was my first year to be at the event. It was phenomenal and I would highly recommend you take in next years performance. If nothing else, you can bid on some incredible merchandise and get to meet the performers and even get your picture taken with them.
As for the event itself, remember that this is the Celebrity Theatre that has a rotating round stage and that you are at a maximum of only 75ft from the stage and the front row is at the stage. Where else can you see so many outstanding performers like this at such a close distant. Also, with the new Bose sound system installed at the Celebrity Theatre, it now has some of the best acoustics in the valley. And on a personal note, I love the lighting at the Celebrity Theatre. They actually light up the stage and the performers so that the audience can see and we as photographer can actually get quality images.
If you want to see additional images from the concert, I have posted them at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dagget2/collections/72157703050322781/ .
The Hollywood Vampires Setlist:
I Want My Now
Raise The Dead
As Bad As I Am
The Boogie Man Surprise
Dead Drunk Friends
Welcome To Bushwackers