I spent a few days this week in Las Vegas. While I was there, I saw the Backstreet Boys residency and it was really good. Packed house, actual singing, lots of screaming women. I also saw "Raiding the Rock Vault" which was something else entirely. Heather met me in Vegas and we decided to see Rock Vault because of our love for all things glam.
Raiding the Rock Vault is now at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. If you've never been, then you should know this is a hotel just off the strip. It's a pretty good place to gamble. I hear the rooms are nice but I've never stayed there. Anyway, the show was at Vinyl, which is a tiny venue inside the Hard Rock. We're talking like less than 200 people saw this show with us.
We bought discount tickets and picked the cheapest seating option. I assumed we'd be in a balcony... but we were five rows from the stage. Not every seat was sold, either. I was lucky and two great guys decided to sit right next to us. Even though we had "tickets" it was still general admission - you just had an assigned row. So shout out to my Carriage House boys who laughed with me and Heather through the whole gig!
Notice I said laugh. I don't think the show was meant to be funny, but it was pretty hilarious.
So the band rotates people and here's the list of people I saw (not Tracii Guns like I was expecting):
Howard Leese [Guitar] (Heart)
Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor)
Doug Aldrich [Guitar] (Whitesnake, Dio)
Paul Shortino [Lead Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot)
Jay Schellen [Drums] (Asia, Badfinger)
Andrew Freeman [Lead Vocals and Guitars] (The Offspring, Last in Line, Lynch Mob)
Michael T. Ross [Keyboards] (Lita Ford, Hardline)
Phil Soussan [Bass] (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Last in Line)
Cian Coey [Lead Vocals] (Meat Loaf, We Will Rock You, Dweezil Zappa)
So. The show takes us through the history of rock, and it's basically a bunch of covers of really big hits from the 1960s-1980s. Fine. There was some weird narration. Think of "The Voice of God" saying things like "I'm Music!" and "Let's Go Back In Time!" Then some dancing girls come out to "add theatre value" or something. I could do without them, as fit and acrobatic as they were.
Paul Shortino's hair is something else, man. He came out the first time and Heather jumped about three miles. He still sounds good! Howard Leese - a member of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame mind you - did a great job on the guitar. We were on his side of the stage. No issues there. At one point I did notice he was wearing a knife. So I say "Why is he wearing a knife?" To which Heather quipped "To butcher music."
To be fair, the band had just done a terrible rendition of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me."
For the most part the covers were okay. The Eagles "Hotel California" wasn't good and neither was the "Jump" rendition for the Van Halen portion of the night. There was bad feedback during "Stairway to Heaven" but they tried.
Doug Aldrich was great as always and he looked hot, too. The best singer on stage was Cian Coey. She did Stevie Nicks, Heart and Pat Benatar.
Back to Shortino. The rest of the guys in the band would do a little choreography here and there but Paul was really having a hard time keeping up. I think he was too stiff. One of my Carriage House boys thought it was maybe arthritis.
Some of the stuff about the show was really cliche. All the costume changes and all the rhinestones on these men cracked me up. During "Eye of the Tiger," Robin McAuley put on a glitter tiger head T-shirt.
But in the end, we had a great time and listened to some of our favorite tunes. The guys (and gal) on stage seemed to be having a blast, and that matters a lot. The tickets were cheap at just $50 a head. The show wasn't quite what I was expecting. Being Las Vegas, I assumed I was in for a giant production show and this just isn't that - but it is live music, so I'll support it. You should go, but be ready for Shortino's hair!