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By Jacqueline Monahan
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Yes, there’s a fog machine. Tight pants and bare chests prance and preen around the large stage that includes a runway into the center aisle.  Pounding guitar riffs, all instantly recognizable to the frequently standing, sing-along crowd, fill the venerable LVH Theater where Elvis once performed.

Raiding the Rock Vault (RRV) is not a spectator event.  The two-hour extravaganza of song and skit begins with the discovery of an actual bullet-shaped vault full of classic rock by hazmat suit-wearing humans in the distant future.  It quickly shifts into rapid-fire guitar gear.

Beginning with The Who’s iconic anthem My Generation, the RRV band, comprised of a varied group of seasoned musicians (who all did previous time in the limelight with super-groups) blows the roof off of the packed venue with a stream of classic rock tunes played in chronological order on a musical tour of the history of rock from the 60’s to the 80’s.

Written by Grammy Award-winning producer David Kershenbaum and musician and producer John Payne (Asia), the all-star band features the newly-signed, and massively talented Doug Aldrich -Guitar (Whitesnake) and returning members Andrew Freeman -Lead Vocals (Offspring) Howard Leese -Guitar (Heart, Bad Company) Robin McAuley -Lead Vocals (MSG, Survivor) John Payne -Lead Vocals, Bass (Asia) Michael T. Ross -Keyboards (Lita Ford)  Jay Schellen -Drums (Hurricane, Asia) and Paul Shortino -Lead Vocals (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot).

The revamped lineup includes two alternating female singers: Carol-Lyn Liddle (Masters of Rock) and Stephanie Calvert (Starship), who expand the show’s repertoire with songs like Heartbreaker (Pat Benatar) Dreams (Fleetwood Mac) and Alone (Heart).  Other songs that have been added to the hit show: Dream On (Aerosmith), Highway to Hell and Thunderstruck (AC/DC).

Video screens at the front and sides of the stage proclaim the show to be “The story of classic rock.  A historical documentary and live theatrical experience that comprises three of rock n roll’s most important decades; the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.”   They also project a video/pictorial history of music during the concert, sometimes accompanied by laser displays and fog, two of rock’s closest concert allies.

Interspersed with songs like Jimi Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower and Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven are era-centric skits that range from carefree hippie lifestyles, Viet Nam enlistments, the Disco craze (don’t worry, no music) and the evolution of 60’s DJ to 80’s VJ – complete with representative guitar/keyboard/drum-based hits.

A partial playlist includes Light My Fire (Doors) Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones) All Right Now (Free) Kashmir (Led Zeppelin) Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple)  We are the Champions (Queen) More Than a Feeling (Boston) The Wall (Pink Floyd) Dream On (Aerosmith) Wayward Son (Kansas) Livin’ on a prayer (Bon Jovi) Separate Ways (Journey) Eye of the Tiger (Survivor) New Year’s Day (U2) Here I go again (Whitesnake) Juke Box Hero (Foreigner).

Members of the band take turns leading vocal or guitar performances.  John Payne growls out a seductive Stairway to Heaven while Robin McAuley blazes through a rousing rendition of Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger.  Howard Leese’s guitar wails to Heart’s Alone and Doug Aldrich takes over lead strings for Whitesnake’s Here I go Again with a showman’s flair.  Las Vegas local Paul Shortino is lead vocalist for the Doors’ Light my Fire, and Andrew Freeman excels at bringing Journey’s Separate Ways to life.

Raiding the Rock Vault performs Friday through Tuesday nights weekly (schedule subject to change) at 8 p.m. in the LVH Theater.

Expertly played and sung, the songs summon up nostalgia as powerful as the beat, the one that has visitors dancing in the aisles, mouthing or singing all of the words.  The show is a time machine; the songs are ageless.  The magic is that they make the audience feel the same.

Raiding The Rock Vault LVH Las Vegas 32463
Michael T. Ross
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Robin Mc Auley and Howard Leese
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Robin Mc Auley
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Robin Mc Auley
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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John Payne
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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John Payne
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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John Payne and Andrew Freeman
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Andrew Freeman
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Howard Leese
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Doug Aldrich, John Payne and Howard Leese
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Paul Shortino
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Andrew Freeman
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Carol-Lyn Liddle and Howard Leese
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Paul Shortino
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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John Payne
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Carol-Lyn Liddle
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Michale T. Ross
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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Paul Shortino and Doug Aldrich
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

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