Tom G is a work colleague (until he leaves shortly for pastures new). I’ll be sad to see him go. He’s a fab, young man who helps to make everyone’s working life better by being an all-round cheery charmer. We’ve spent a fair amount of time chatting about music; he previously worked for a student publication and used to knock out a decent review or five. I couldn’t make it to a show last week and in truth, the hair-rock on offer was less my thing than it was Toms.
Over to Tom…
With a tagline of ‘bringing the history of rock ‘n’ roll to life’, I had very high expectations for Raiding the Rock Vault.
The troupe, comprised of a rotating lineup of rockers of genuinely impressive credentials (guitarists from Heart, bassists from Bon Jovi, drums from Yes and more), have been plying their trade in Las Vegas for several years now, promising to take the audience on a journey through the annals of some of the best classic anthems rock has to offer.
As soon as the band took to the stage in the intimate Subterania venue, they had an immediate tick in the ‘looking the part’ box. These veteran rockers are dressed to impress, with all the requisite long flowing manes and grizzled leather jackets one would expect.
The Raiding the Rock Vault show, when it kicks into action, turns out to be a bizarre and interesting hybrid of a sort of musical-style performance combined with a more traditional gig – all the band ham up their parts, swinging their guitars Pete Townshend-style and performing all sorts of Freddie Mercury-style tricks with the microphone stand.
Theatricality aside, though, it instantly becomes clear that they are all bloody great at what they do. With a set stuffed with absolute classics of the genre, there are always going to be some fiendishly difficult guitar solos, drum beats and vocal pyrotechnics to pull off, and the Raiding the Rock Vault crew smashed through these with aplomb throughout the two-hour set they played.
Hotel California’s duelling guitar solo was recreated faithfully, the infectious talkbox riff of Livin’ On A Prayer was as hypnotic as ever, and even gentler, subtler tracks like Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams were pulled off supremely well, with the female vocalist for that track in particular producing a truly impressive Stevie Nicks impression.
The vibe of the whole event was very much a party, singalong affair, with most of the audience looking like they’d be equally at home as members of the band. There were some fantastic hands-in-the-air numbers and the crowd really did their bit to make the whole thing even more enjoyable, shouting along to literally every word of every song – even if they couldn’t match some of the operatic high notes as well as the vocalist did.
All in all Raiding the Rock Vault does exactly what it says on the tin, and you can’t really expect it to do more than that – if you love a power ballad and a hair metal solo while you wear your leathers into work, you’ll feel incredibly at home at Raiding the Rock Vault.
I’ve suggested that Tom reviews more for Sonic Breakfast. It’ll be grand to stay in touch when he heads off to his new job.