RAIDING THE ROCK VAULT – A Las Vegas Treasure Chest of Great Music
Back in mid-September this year my wife and I had the pleasure of witnessing the show entitled Raiding the Rock Vault at the new Tropicana in Las Vegas, and it was such an unbelievably cool, entertaining, and memorable experience that I simply find it hard to describe or summarize what went on inside my warped mind before, during, and after that grand event. Raiding the Rock Vault is basically a concert where the best rock and hard rock songs dating from the 60s, 70s, and 80s are performed by world-class musicians who either are or have been members of different legendary bands such as DIO, Dokken, Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot, Last in Line, Heart, Survivor, MSG, Ozzy Osbourne, Lita Ford Band, and a whole bunch of others. To be a bit more specific, you had brilliant musicians such as Rowan Robertson (formerly of DIO), Phil Soussan (formerly of Ozzy Osbourne), Michael T. Ross (formerly of Lita Ford Band), Andrew Freeman (Last in Line), Paul Shortino (formerly of Quiet Riot and Rough Cutt), Rob McAuley (formerly of MSG and Survivor), Mark Boals (Dokken), Howard Leese (Heart), and Carol-Lyn Liddle (from Masters of Rock) tearing it up on stage. I could go on name-dropping some of the cool people involved, but I think you get the idea. Either way, check out the Raiding the Rock Vault website and have a look at that line-up and tell me that you are not drooling? I know that I am! I mean, what is not to love about the idea and concept of this Vegas attraction?
The show as a whole was awesome and a lot of fun to watch. The band kicked ass, and everything was totally professional, but you could tell that all the different members of the hard rocking ensemble were having fun and joked around a bit from time to time. There were lots of laughs and smiles, which rubbed off on the audience, and even though the venue was not crammed with people on that particular Wednesday night, the ones who were there were totally into it and sang along and so on and so forth. One of the things that really blew my mind about the show is how tight, dynamic, and varied it is. I mean, every member of the band was right on the money and delivered every damn note with passion, intensity, and class, and the way in which the songs and performances flowed together was just perfect. The timing was all there, but I could sense a bit of spontaneity and intuitive playing here and there as well, which was great. What I am trying to say is that it was all lively and organic, but inhumanly tight at the same time.
I do not want to spoil anything and list all the songs that were performed, but I will say that bands such as Whitesnake, Def Leppard, The Who, Aerosmith, Journey, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and Van Halen were paid tribute to. Trust me when I say that the setlist chronicled the history of rock and hard rock quite well. Obviously, some songs were more fun to listen to than others, but one thing that they all had in common was that they were performed superbly well. Despite my best intentions not to reveal the entire setlist, I have to say that one of the very highlights for me that evening was the blistering rendition of "Smoke on the Water" (Deep Purple), which Mark Boals sang so incredibly well that I was an inch away from having an orgasm right there and then. Michael T. Ross (keyboards) and Rowan Robertsen (guitar) were right behind him and delivered and executed every detail of that old classic so well that tears came to my eyes. There was even a bit of that Jon Lord/Ritchie Blackmore dueling and stand-off towards the end. Great stuff!
There are so many adjectives that I could kick around in some vain attempt to describe the greatness of this show. If you ever visit Las Vegas (and have good taste in music) then by all means secure or somehow get a hold of a front row ticket for this show. You will not regret it! We certainly had a blast, and meeting all those great musicians before and after the show was an honor and something that we will always treasure. Everyone there was really friendly and easy to talk to. I had no idea that Rowan Robertson was part of the show and had been so for a few weeks, so I was pleasantly surprised to say the least. I love that guy and idolizes his playing on "Lock Up the Wolves", so it was very cool for me on a personal level to be able to talk to him in person and tell him how much I cherish his work with DIO and the Southern Cross. What a nice guy he is! I really wanted to tell Phil Soussan how much I like his work on "The Ultimate Sin" by Ozzy Osbourne, but time went by so quickly and there were so many nice people to talk to and so much to take in that I never got around to complimenting him. Having said that, I must say that I was totally in awe of his playing that night. An unbelievably talented musician. I was also mightily impressed by Michael T. Ross on the keyboards. Come to think of it, every musician that was on stage that night pretty much blew me away. It does not get much better than that in my humble opinion.
You know what? I am having a bit of a hard time summing up how much fun the whole event was for us, but who gives a rat’s ass, because the quality of the entire show and production speaks for itself! As I stated earlier on, just make sure that you check it out if you ever stop by Vegas. Highly recommended.