Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Presents (https://www.dannyzeliskopresents.com/ )
Venue: Celebrity Theatre (https://celebritytheatre.com/ )
Date: Saturday December 04th, 2021
Alice and Sheryl Cooper started Solid Rock, a youth center in the Phoenix area to be a safe place for teens and a place where they could learn music and dance. Over the last 20+ years they have expanded to include other activities include photography, video and even how to become a roadie. This past year they opened a second facility in Mesa, Arizona. Their goal was to give a safe place where kids could come and learn and participate in the arts and hopefully discover something that they might be able to make a career. Their other goal was it would be no cost to the kids or families. To make this dream come true, Alice and Sheryl came up with 2 annual events to raise the money to keep the faculty running. One event is Alice’s Golf Tournament where he and a number of other celebrities play along with fellow golfers that wants to join them. The other is Alice’s annual Christmas Pudding party. This year was their 19th annual party (last year was canceled due to Covid). The event is a combination party, auction and concert. As Alice told us, “All he has to do is ask his friends and they are more then willing to come and participate”. Over the years he has had members of KISS, Hollywood Vampires, Pat Boone and Rob Zombie perform (actually Rob and Pat were on the same stage).
With Covid protocols still in effect, they decided to limit the “Meet and Greet” from past years where the VIP guests and individuals that won auction bids could meet the performers. Instead, Alice came out to the VIP area (the lower bar area) and talked and answered questions from the fans. He talked about how the Hollywood Vampires got their name, when he got sober in 1983 and the movie he did “Monster Dog” in Spain, that he loved “C” movies that have no stars and many other stories.
The show started with “The Bucket Brigade” from Solid Rock to let everyone know the show was starting. Then Jeff Moore, the Executive Director of the Solid Rock Teen Centers can out and introduced the board or directors include Alice and Sheryl Cooper. The rest of the Cooper family join them on stage including Sheryl’s parents. Sheryl had her dad do the opening prayer to officially bless the event.
One of the main things available at the Solid Rock centers is dance. Sheryl is a dancer, teaches dance and actually met Alice during his “Nightmare” tour when she was one of the dancers. Adam Christing was introduced as the Emcee of the night. He told a few jokes and then announced the Solid Rock Dancers. A number of different dance groups all come out and performed different dance sequences and then all of the dancers came out at the end to perform to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
One of the special features of the party is that a solo artist and a group are introduce that won the Proof In The Pudding contests get to perform. This year’s solo winner was an amazing singer, Isaiah Tilson. For the first time, there were 2 winners of the group Proof In The Pudding. So, both The Sintrics and KOZA performed.
The main reason we are all at this event is help raise money for the Solid Rock Youth Centers. This is done by both donations and the auction of items. This night, we had 3 different signed guitars including one by Ace Frehley, one by all of the performers tonight and one signed by Orianthi. They also had a couple of pictures of Alice and Ace that brought in some good money. But the highlight of the evening was a custom-made portrait of Alice that was made of guitar picks. As a special treat, world renown master chef, Mark Tarbell offered everyone at the party his variation on Christmas Pudding. It was spectacular, I even had seconds.
Each year Alice pulls together a number of his friends and they perform at Christmas Pudding. Tonight, we got Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, Ed Roland of Collective Soul and Ace Frehley. Each of the artists performed with Nashville’s Sixwire, the house band for this event and performed 4 of their songs. Mark McGrath and Ed Roland, both singers commanded the stage and danced around and sang to each section of the venue. Felix Cavaliere played his Kronas keyboard and sang 4 of The Rascals greatest hits including “Groovin'”.
Ace Frehley came on stage and performed “Shock Me” and 3 other classic KISS songs. Of all of the artists, Ace had the most colorful outfit. His shirt was multi-color with Marvel characters on the front and a large “A” on the back. Tom Morello was scheduled to perform, but due to an injury he was not able to make it. So, Alice called up Orianthi and asked her to join them. Orianthi performed with Alice’s band. The highlight of Orianthi set was her last song, Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze”.
Alice always performs at the end. Three years ago, it was with the Hollywood Vampires. Tonight, it was with his touring band, guitarists Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henrikson, drummer Glen Sobel and bass player Chuck Garric (Nita Strauss was missing because she was on tour). They started with the classic “Under Mt Wheels”, “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Poison”. They then played some songs from Alice’s newest release Detroit Stories. They ended the set with the fan favorite “School’s Out” that brought everyone to their feet (the last few that were not already standing). Alice and the band played for over 45 minutes. Then as a tradition, all of the other artists and Alice’s family comes out on stage. Tonight, they performed “Run Rudolph Run”. Alice had each of the guitarists, keyboardists and singers doing a mini solo during the song as he pointed to them. Calico and Sheryl also got involved singing as backup singers.
It was a great night of fun and great music. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and they raised a lot of money for the kids. If you ever get a chance to attend one of Alice Cooper’s Christmas Pudding parties, do it. It is a great time and you will definitely enjoy yourself. And how can you go wrong by seeing all of these great artists at the Celebrity Theatre. No seat is over 100 feet from the stage and if you are up front you are right at the stage. Some lucky fans in the front actually got their photos taken with the musicians when they posed with them.
Photos by Fred Kuhlman, All Rights Reserved