Show Review: Raiding the Rock Vault in Las Vegas, NV
Raiding the Rock Vault
Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Reviewed by: Jessica Messina
Several years ago, a musician friend of mine once told me “Music is like smell. Sometimes it takes you right back”. There’s also a saying that if you remember the sixties (or 70s or 80s) then chances are good that you weren’t actually there. Whichever of those lines applies to you, the newest Vegas show, Raiding the Rock Vault, can accommodate it! Starring what could be the newest supergroup to end all supergroups, comprised of John Payne (Asia), Robin McAuley (MSG, Survivor), Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt), Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company), Jay Schellen (Hurricane, Badfinger), Tracii Guns (LA Guns), Michael T. Ross (Lita Ford band), and Andrew Freeman (Offspring, Lynch Mob), and several guests throughout the year, beginning with Bobby Kimball from Toto, followed by Joe Lynn Turner from Rainbow, it is a show suitable for anyone over the age of four years old who wants to take a two-hour long journey through modern history with pop culture references sprinkled throughout via actors or the giant video screens on either side and the back of the stage. (Random six degrees fact: “All Right Now” by Free was cowritten by Paul Rodgers, who went on to join Bad Company, a band which RTRV guitarist Howard Leese can claim on his resume! BAM! You’ve just been Kevin Baconed!)
If you really think about it, so much of popular culture and modern history has been reflected in or illustrated by music. Throughout the concert, there are visuals and actors that illustrate just how much that is so – from the mixed reaction to the first moonwalk and the Vietnam War to the early days of MTV, and if you were born in the mid to late 60s through the mid-70s, I am sure you can name the first music video ever played. If you were born before 1989, just about every song in the show is one you either grew up with or learned appreciation for later in life. Another example of the history/pop culture/music crossover – the lyrics to the Deep Purple classic “Smoke on the Water” came from an actual event at the Montreaux pop festival in Switzerland – someone shot a flare gun into a rattan ceiling during a Frank Zappa concert and pretty much leveled the place.
For a standard Vegas headline show, it is a tad long, but for anyone who has ever been to a rock concert, it’s either barely enough or just the right length of time! (For those who don’t know or haven’t really thought about it, the standard Vegas headline show is around 80 to 90 minutes long) It begins in 1948 with a brief history of the birth of rock and roll, spends a lot of time in the decade from the late 60s to late 70s – where the music was most influential and unforgettable, and by the time you stroll into the 80s – which brings images of Studio 54, Andy Warhol, Miami Vice, and Nagel prints to my mind – you have heard (and sung along to) some of the most powerful songs ever recorded being performed by some amazing musicians, accentuated with mind-blowing production. There is also not another show in this city that encourages you to get up and dance during it.
As my pal Todd Kerns recently stated in his personal blog, “Take what you do seriously, not yourself.” There really is no better physical illustration of those seven words than Robin McAuley and Andrew Freeman performing “Armageddon It” by Def Leppard. You just have to see it for yourself to understand the significance of those words. Cleverly, the journey ends in the late 1980s – before the angst of the 1990s began.
For Vegas show tickets, it is also a pretty good deal. They cost in the same range as other comparable shows, but you are getting about 30 to 40 minutes more show than the average, so you really come out ahead of the game! It is also a show you can see over and over and be just as captivated – as of this writing, I have seen six of the first eight performances – it’s much like seeing your favorite band in mulitple cities on the same tour. (Something more than one member of the TWRY staff has been guilty of over the years!)
Bottom line? If you like live music, and happen to be in Vegas over the next year, take the time to go see this show at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. Get your tickets here and tell the cast, most of whom come out to mingle with the audience post-show, that I sent ya!
Watch this Video Clip From the Show:
HUGE Thank yous to everyone around this production – but especially Andrew Freeman, Carmen and Paul Shortino, and to Mr. David Kershenbaum.