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I Saw 'Raiding The Rock Vault' - Here's A Review

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! 




Reader Comments (6)

Pffft.. She comes to town & doesn't even call. I could've saved you the $50 & made a phone call & gotten you in..

This is the 3rd stage for Rock Vault & the biggest step down so far.
March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
I saw this at the Tropicana last year before it closed there. I enjoyed the show a great deal. Too bad that it keeps, as Ace suggests, stepping down a notch each time it moves.

I must have caught them on a far better night (and with a slightly different cast of characters). The only thing I notice about Shortino was how stoned he was! That said, he is 63 rock n' roll years young! Look at me, giving a person a pass for their age. I must be sick. The rest of the group (esp. Boals) did a fine job covering the decades even if, as you suggest, some songs go over better than others. McAuley was also in fine form (and a year older than Shortino); I've loved that guy's voice since "Anytime" with MSG.

As with your experience, we got cheap tickets (39 dollars I think) and were greeted with a less than half full venue. I found it to be money well spent in a town where even the dinkiest stage show can run you a lot of money. Even the Tropicana has its charms, with its "I think they might tear this down" vibe and close proximity to a fake NY, a giant lion, and ye olde casino that used to have--I kid you not--an Italian restaurant called Lance-Alotta-Pasta (now a Buca di Beppo). You start moving further down the Strip and you need a second mortgage to get a drink . . . unless you move allllllll the way down to Fremont Street or off-Strip.

And Ace, that was the trip where I had hoped to meet you. Next time I am there, I hope we can make that happen. It would be even sweeter if your band was playing. Now that would be well worth the price of admission!

My gripe is that you had to go to the Hard Rock Hotel and Jabroni Convention Center. That place just rubs me the wrong way. It's like DJ Asshat decided to get into gambling. Still, their venues are nice. I saw the Scorpions and Queensryche there, as well as the GnR residency, and had (as my review suggested) nothing but pleasant things to say about the Joint and the staff.

Thanks for the review though. Glad you had a great time overall.
March 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHim
Him, You'll have to give me advance warning & I'll make sure there's an Actress gig booked for when you're here. We have a few things booked in the coming months And more getting booked all the time. We were supposed to be playing tomorrow in Burbank CA, at the invite of Randy Rhoads sister, at her wineroom, but she decided to not have the event & will just be at Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernadino all day, on the 35th anniversary of the plane crash that claimed Randy's life. :( And then, the 24th of March we are doing soething at Vampd for the Randy Rhoads Remembered thing... we're planning something including Greg Leon, the guitarist that originally replaced Randy in Quiet Riot, & was the 1st of many guitarists who went thru the "DuBrow" band. First week in April, we're playing "The Gold Mine" in Henderson NV...(it's my birthday party, w/ our guests, the local Runaways tribute band, "Queens Of Noize LV"... And we are scheduled for a "Classic LP Night" @ Vamp'd again, paying tribute to the Scorpions... (We're playing "He's A Woman, She's A Man" & "In Trance"...) May 20th, we will be in Muskegon Michigan @ "The Rusty Spoke" with 2 other bands, Divided by Zed from Detroit & The After Effect from Nashville. And the day before that, we are playing a gig @ Michigan State Prison, for the inmates! (less glam makeup for that one, for sure). and early June, we have 2 Vegas gigs scheduled that I know of... "Elixir" in Henderson & a wednesday short gig @ Vamp'd , paying tribute to Spinal lTap.- yes Paul Shortino will be joining us in his original "Duke Fame" white leathers, for everyone playing bass & hi singing, on "Big Bottom"... email me, for all the details
March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Thanks for those updates, Ace. Glad to see you keeping busy. And I will surely give you advance notice next time I am in your neck of the woods.

One question though: is all this rock n' rolling gonna' keep you from finally getting a book out? I know I am not the only one who wants to hear your story.
March 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHim
NO. It's just slow going, as my co-writer for that, lives in Big Bear, CA & we both have current stuff happening, that the memory lane stuff has taken a back seat.
March 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAce Steele
Thanks for the book update, Ace. Appreciated. I am damn near illiterate. But if you ever want or need help with the book, just let me know. I would love to contribute to its eventual publication. And I know you will eventually publish it.

All my best.
March 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHim

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