Raiding the Rock Vault Cast-"Songs from the Vault Volume 1"
"Songs from the Vault Vol. 1" is the first CD released from the cast of Raiding the Rock Vault. The classic rock, tribute show currently, playing at the LVH Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Anyone, who is a friend of mine, knows I have been a die-hard fan of the "Raiding the Rock Vault," classic rock, tribute show. The show began playing out here in Vegas a few months back. As of this point in time, the show has been playing for roughly 3-4 months and already I have gone to see it a good 6-7 times. If that does not point me out as a fan. What does?
This is the cast of the show, for those unfamiliar:-Paul Shortino (Quiet Riot, Rough Cutt, King Kobra)-John Payne (Asia)-Jay Schellen (Badfinger, Asia, Hurricane)-Tracii Guns (Guns N Roses, LA Guns, Brides of Destruction)-Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company)-Andrew Freeman (Lynch Mob, Offspring)-Michael T. Ross (Hardline, Lita Ford Band)-Robin McAuley (McAuley Schenker Group, Survivor)
Basically, this CD is a collection of 12 studio-recorded tracks from the Rock Vault Cast. The title implies this will be the first CD in a series of them. Currently, the CD can be purchased at the merchandise booth at the shows or via the official website.
The tracklist for the CD is as follows:-In The Air Tonight (originally by Phil Collins, not performed in the stage show, though this recorded version sometimes plays before the show)-Stairway to Heaven (originally by Led Zeppelin)-Honky Tonk Woman (originally by the Rolling Stones)-My Generation (originally by the Who)-Jump (originally by Van Halen)-Let's Dance (originally by David Bowie, not performed in the stage show)-Purple Rain (originally by Prince, not performed in the stage show)-American Girl (originally by Tom Petty, not performed in the stage show)-We Are the Champions (originally by Queen)-New Years Day (originally by U2, only featured as part of a medley in the stage show)-Smoke on the Water (originally by Deep Purple)-I Love Rock and Roll (made popular by Joan Jett, not performed in the stage show)
The CD features cast members Paul Shortino, Andrew Freeman, Robin McAuley, and John Payne, with guest musicians Simon Phillips, Leland Sklar, Tim Pierce, Roger Manning, Moni Scaria, Jeff Kollman and Lou Mullen.
"Songs from the Vault Vol. 1" is a very difficult CD to review, because there is not really a conventional angle to approach the material from. It is not an adaptation of the stage show, but it is not exactly a traditional cover album either. My overall view here is this album is a good studio recording. However, it lacks the energy and charisma the performance of a live show brings. And none of the covers top the original recordings preformed by the artists, who made them popular.
Let me say this is BY NO MEANS A BAD CD. You can tell the musicians here definitely have a high level of respect and admiration for the artists they are covering. Though, not as evident here as in a live setting, you can tell the artists are having a good time covering these songs.
Unfortunately, while this is a good CD, it is far from perfect. The main problem here as I previously stated is the fact, none of these recordings have the same level of energy, as those performed live in the show. When you see this show on stage, you see the artists up there; smiles on their faces having a great time, creating great music. These recordings feel overproduced by comparison.
Then we come to another big problem, the cast or rather, the lack thereof. NO, I am NOT saying anything negative about the performers themselves. They are phenomenal musicians and all-around great guys! Many of whom, I am proud to call friends. The problem here is the LACK OF CAST MEMBERS. Only FOUR men from the EIGHT-man stage show are on this CD; along with a bunch of other random guest musicians. This may account somewhat for the lack of charisma, I sensed on some of these tracks. The disc, may have been recorded prior to the complete cast being assembled. I do not know when the disc itself was recorded. I should point out though, the guest musicians DO include Toto vocalist, Bobby Kimball, who was a special guest at the first few shows.
The tracklist is another issue, similar to the cast issues. Only about HALF of these songs are actually performed in the show. I can understand wanting to branch out. However, some of these song choices are VERY questionable. Especially for a show claiming to retale the story of classic rock. Most of the songs featured that are not in the show, I would file more under 80's new wave, rather than classic rock. When I reviewed the show itself, my biggest complaint was the lack of classic punk songs and once again, I think those would have been a bigger fit than some of the songs chosen for this CD.
The tracklist is very unbalanced. Paul Shortino only gets to sing one song while, Andrew Freeman gets to be on three? And at times the singer chosen seems inappropriate for the material. If you have seen the stage show? Robin McAuley is co-lead vocalist on Stairway to Heaven. I do not know why, they felt the need to change it here? Furthermore, the tracklist is not in chronological order, which goes against the time machine aspect of the stage show. And the time machine aspect just happens to be the part, which is one of my personal favorite moments of the show.
It is not a total loss though, the disc actually has a few pleasant surprises. The biggest which to me was Robin McAuley singing Tom Petty's classic, "American Girl." He actually does a pretty, damn-good job of it too. I bet, you are likely to discover your own share of good surprising minutes on this album.
Overall "Songs from the Vault Vol. 1" is a good collection of rock covers, but it could have been so much more. Then as it stands now on the bastard child list; middle ground between, tribute album and adaptation of the stage show. Personally, I would have preferred it, if they had just released a live Blu-ray disc of the stage show. With alll of the songs and humorous acting sequences intact. Well, hopefully, we will get one of those released eventually. If you live in Vegas, pass on this CD and shell out the extra few bucks to see the real show. If you are a classic rock fan of the show itself? "Songs from the Vault Vol 1" will not fail to please you. As it stands, I highly recommend this CD for die-hard fans of the show and/or cast members.