JULIA LAGE | La música como propósito y poder transformador | ROBERTO GARZA | Abril 2024


By: Roberto Garza
Photos: Erik Nielsen

Best of Las Vegas 2020

The show was just voted Best of Las Vegas 2020 for a record 7th Year in a Row

Raiding the Rock Vault is a stage musical that tells the story of classic rock from the 1960’s to the 1970’s, and is performed by musicians of some of the greatest rock bands in history. 

The show has been voted “Best of Las Vegas” for 7 years in a row, and has been presented in Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Tropicana Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel and since 2019, in the Rio Hotel of Las Vegas.

The event presents the greatest hits of classic rock, performed live by legendary rock-stars, which are chosen based on their experience and commitment to the spirit of the show.

On the following interview, Sir Harry Cowell, producer behind Raiding the Rock Vault, will share with us what’s behind one of Las Vegas most successful shows.

Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot), Howard Leese (Heart) and Michael T. Ross (Lita Ford).

How did the Raiding the Rock Vault concept came to be?

The concept was originally developed by Simon Napier-Bell, who was the original manager for Wham!, Japan, Utravox, and Boney M. He had the idea of having a “covers” band playing hits of the 1960’s and 1970’s. His concept was not like the one from the “Bootleg Beatles” or other tributes bands, this was based on “great music played by great players”. It was something that has never been done before.

We were planning to do it in America and to include music from that same territory. A number one song in England is not necessarily a hit song in the United States.

When Simon came up to me with his idea, I thought he had gotten it all wrong. I was convinced that it would never work, but at the end everything came together as planned. I remember seeing a few shows like the “Australian Pink Floyd”, and not being impressed by the people performing on stage. Also, there was a Genesis concept band in England play - ing in massive venues called “The Lamb Lies Down”. Looked into who was in the band and I couldn’t rec - ognize any member. They were playing in big venues, so I thought: If you have a great band playing great music and songs you know, it should work.

We debuted on 2012 with a show in downtown Los Angeles, which was video recorded to be shown to potential promoters. My original idea was to make a tour out of the show. I remember getting a call from people from the Hilton, saying they wanted to they offered us a deal. I was not really expecting that to happen. They were interested in having a show that could appeal to an audience that could spend money in their hotel and casino. 

What are the main highlights of the show that you would like to point out?

The show is composed of stories that are presented on video, so when you are listening to the songs playing live, you are also learning and getting important information about each of them.  

A good example is the song “Highway to Hell”. Many people don’t know that the name of the song was inspired by an Australian rode and by the arduous nature of touring and constantly living on the road.

Also, many of the artists that perform on the show, were or are original players of the songs. One good example is Howard Leese of Heart, and Hugh McDonald of Bon Jovi.

Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake).

The Raiding the Rock Vault shows were cancelled for the rest of 2020. When do you think they will be starting again in Las Vegas?

I would say that the shows could start on June or September 2021. There is no touring scheduled until June this year. Besides, there will be no European travel on 2021, as it is complicated and expensive to fly to Vegas from Europe.

September is the best month to start. Moneywise, I will probably be looking to start safely by that month. The best months to have a show in Vegas are March, April and May. In June, it starts to get hot, July is ridiculously warm, and August is also somewhat hot. September and October are also good months.

You have announced a Latin Vault and a Pop Vault. Please tell us more about those shows.

I really want to do the Latin Vault. I have already started working on it. There is a massive Latin audience in Vegas, an audience that will travel from many places to see the show. I am very excited about the Latin market, because Latin music is getting stronger. People are coming to Vegas from Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Italy, and many other Spanish-speaking countries, and they want to hear music in their language.

It will be brilliant to run the two shows in the same place, on different days and times.

Dan Greenes (Joe Armstrong), Cian Coey (Meat Loaf) and Howard Leese (Heart).

“Raiding the Rock Vault is a stage musical that tells the story of classic rock from the 1960’s to the 1980’s”

Are there any plans to take the show to México in the near future?

We are looking to return to Mexico in the future. We have been in Cancun and Acapulco already, and have had a great time in those cities.


Raiding the Rock Vault was voted as readers’ choice for “Best Musical” (2014, 2015) and “Best Tribute Show” (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020) in “Las Vegas ReviewJournal’s Best of Las Vegas Awards”.

It has consistently been ranked the No. 1 performance in Las Vegas on Trip Advisor and was awarded “Best Limited Engagement Show” in Branson, Missouri (2017, 2018).

  • Howard Leese [Guitar] (Heart) – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member
  • Hugh McDonald [Bass] (Bon Jovi) – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Member 
  • Rowan Robertson [Lead Guitar] (Dio)
  • Robin McAuley [Lead Vocals] (MSG, Survivor)
  • Paul Shortino [Lead Vocals] (Rough Cutt, Quiet Riot)
  • Cian Coey [Lead Vocals] (Meat Loaf, Dweezil Zappa)
  • Blas Elias [Drums] (Slaughter, Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • Michael T. Ross [Keyboards] (Lita Ford, Missing Persons)
  • Phil Soussan [Bass] (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol, Last in Line
  • Todd Kerns [Lead Vocals] (Slash) 
  • John Bisaha [Lead Vocals] (The Babys)
  • Jay Schellen [Drums] (Yes, Asia, Badfinger)
  • Doug Aldrich [Guitar] (Whitesnake, Dio, The Dead Daisies)
  • Tony Franklin [Bass] (The Firm, Whitesnake, Blue Murder)
  • Christian Brady [Lead Guitar] (Hellyeah)
  • Z Maddox [Lead Guitar] (Rock of Ages)
  • Jason Boyleston [Guitar] (Paul Rodgers Band)
  • Megan Rüger [Lead Vocals] (The Voice)
  • Johnny Solinger [Lead Vocals] (Skid Row)
  • Paul Johnson [Lead Vocals] (Rock of Ages)
  • Dan Grennes [Bass] (Billie Joe Armstrong, Melissa Etheridge)