The old saying is, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. There is a reason that saying exists, and should be followed….most of the time anyway. Sometimes you come across something so incredible it cannot, and should not be kept to one’s self. For instance, what if I told you that there is one show….one concert where you could hear classic songs from the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Stones, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and so many more? And what if I told you those songs were performed by rock n’ roll heroes from bands like Whitesnake, Last in Line, Dead Daisies, Heart, and more? Well, I am telling you such a show exists, and it’s called “Raiding the Rock Vault” and it’s only in Las Vegas.
That’s right, the Sunset Strip has come to Sin City in an amazing production that takes the audience members on a journey through the progression of rock n’ roll and hard rock music . The night starts off in the sixties with iconic songs like “My Generation” and “Light My Fire.” From there the journey goes in to the heyday of seventies classic rock with tunes including “Smoke on the Water,” Dream On” and the epic “Stairway to Heaven.” At this point, the band is just getting warmed up as perhaps the most recognizable riff in rock n’ roll takes the show in the scared music of the seventies. That riff is, of course, the intro to Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water.” From there the hottest house band in Vegas goes on to play classics from Fleetwood Mack, The Eagles, Pink Floyd and many others. By this point, the audience is pumped up and thoroughly in rock out mode. It’s a good thing too, because things only get turned up louder as the seventies transfer into the eighties. At this point the band is firing on all cylinders and deliver their best performances of the night with hits like “Living on a Prayer,” Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and the high energy show finale, “Jump.”
Of course, these songs are only as good as the band that is playing them. It’s safe to say we have all seen local cover bands attempt to cover these rock n’ roll gems, but few ever get close to getting the magic out of the songs. The band that makes up Raiding the Rock Vault is a rotating line up of members of some of rock’s most beloved bands. On this night, the band consisted of Doug Aldridge on guitar. Doug has played with the likes of Dio and Whitesnake, and is now a member of The Dead Daisies, who recently released a killer album called “Make Some Noise” and toured with Kiss last summer. Joining Doug on guitars is Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame member, Howard Leese. Howard spent over twenty years with the Wilson sisters in the band Heart. Leese also played with Paul Rodgers and Bad Company. Seeing a legend like Howard Leese play alone made the night a memorable one. Have you heard of a band called Last in Line? Well, the bands lead singer, Andrew Freeman, and bassist Phil Soussan were a part of the band as well. Freeman delivered the performance of the night with his vocal delivery on “Jump.” Other members of the Rock Vault band were Robin McAuley (Survivor/McAuley Schnenker Group), Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot/Rough Cutts), and Michael Ross (Lita Ford/Angel/Hardline.) See all the Rock Vault band members here.
For years “Raiding the Rock Vault” made its home at the Tropicana on the Vegas Strip. Last month the show packed up its road cases and headed off the strip to its new home at The Hard Rock Hotel. While I have never seen the show performed at the Tropicana, I can’t imagine a better venue for this show to be performed. As you walk through the doors of the Hard Rock, you walk under the lyrics penned by the immortal Stevie Ray Vaughan, “When This House is Rocking Don’t Bother Knocking, Come On In.” This is no coincidence, because the place is always rocking. The walls are covered with memorabilia from rock n’ roll greats, and the rock n’ roll attitude is present from patrons and staff. You just feel like you are at a rock show when you walk in the doors. Then when you attend the show, the venue is intimate and puts you up close and personal with the amazing musicians. You might catch a guitar pick, or get a fist bump from one of your rock n’ roll heroes. If that is not enough, make a purchase at the merch table and you get the backstage pass treatment as you get to meet the band.
“Raiding the Rock Vault” is a treat for the rock n’ roll faithful on every level. It grabs you at sight, sound and with the feeling that the show creates. By the end of the night, you will be on your feet with your arm pumping to the music. Be sure to make “Raiding the Rock Vault” a part of your next Vegas trip. Or make Vegas a part of your “Raiding the Rock Vault” trip. And remember, what happens at “Raiding the Rock Vault….”