The show's logo
The show's logo

Raiding the Rock Vault is a jukebox musical[1] based on classic rock songs, featuring a cast of musicians from well-known rock bands. Since its debut in 2012, the show has appeared mainly at casinos in the Las Vegas area.


A performance of the show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in 2019, featuring (from left to right): Robin McAuley, Christian Brady, Howard Leese, Blas Elias, and Michael T. Ross.
A performance of the show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas in 2019, featuring (from left to right): Robin McAuley, Christian Brady, Howard Leese, Blas Elias, and Michael T. Ross.
Doug Aldrich performing "Stairway to Heaven" during the show in July 2014 at the Westgate Las Vegas
Doug Aldrich performing "Stairway to Heaven" during the show in July 2014 at the Westgate Las Vegas

The concept for the show originated in 2011 with British record producer Simon Napier-Bell, who envisioned a touring rock supergroup playing covers of hit songs from the 1960s and 1970s.[2] Napier-Bell joined with his longtime business partner, Harry Cowell, to produce the show.[3] They enlisted John Payne, former lead singer of the band Asia, to help develop the idea.[4][5] Interest in the concept soon faded, though, because the projected production costs were too high.[5] Months later, Payne, inspired by his involvement with the touring production of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, reimagined the concept as a theatrical production with a plot line that would tell the story of rock and roll in chronological order.[2][4] Payne brought record producer David Kershenbaum on to co-write the script with him.[4] Cowell financed the show for $1 million through his publicly traded production company, Papa Entertainment.[6]

Raiding the Rock Vault debuted on November 29, 2012 with a performance at the Mayan Theater in Los Angeles.[7][8] That show was recorded to be shown to potential promoters for a concert tour.[5] The feedback from promoters, however, suggested that the show would be well suited for Las Vegas.[5] Cast member Paul Shortino arranged for the producers to meet with executives of the LVH – Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, and a deal was quickly reached.[5] The show opened in March 2013 at the LVH.[6]

Cowell fired Payne from the show in June 2014 because of an unspecified business dispute, shortly before the LVH came under new ownership and became the Westgate Las Vegas.[9][10] Westgate owner David Siegel liked the show and asked to buy the rights to it, planning to rename it as Westgate Rocks; Cowell refused the offer.[11] Uncertain about their standing at the Westgate, the producers accepted an offer to move to the Tropicana Las Vegas.[11] Meanwhile, Payne filed a lawsuit claiming he was owed royalties and performance fees; it was eventually settled.[12][13]

The show closed at the Westgate in September 2014, and then reopened in November in the 1,100-seat theater at the Tropicana.[11][14][15] In the interim, the show was revamped to remove material developed by Payne, including the narrative about the discovery of the "rock vault" in a Mayan temple.[16][17][18][19] Instead, the songs were bracketed by comedy sketches portraying stories recalled by two fictional roadies from their years of touring with rock bands.[16][19][14]

A sister show, Raiding the Country Vault, featuring classic country music songs in a similar format, was launched by Cowell and Napier-Bell in Branson, Missouri in May 2016.[20][21]

The producers ended the run at the Tropicana in July 2016, because they were not able to consistently sell the 300 to 400 tickets per night needed to cover their costs.[22] The show started a new run in March 2017 at the 650-seat Vinyl nightclub at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.[23][24] To fit in the smaller venue, the comedy sketches were eliminated from the show, along with the "vault" prop that had previously sat at the center of the set.[25]

In 2017 and 2018, a second company of Raiding the Rock Vault appeared for limited engagements at the Starlite Theatre in Branson.[26][27] Producers also had plans for a worldwide tour, and pop and Latin versions of the show.[26] In December 2019, Raiding the Rock Vault played 3 shows in London, England.[28]

On September 30, 2019 it was announced that the show would move to RIO Las Vegas in 2020 as the current location, Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas, would be closing for renovations.[29] On January 11, 2020, Raiding the Rock Vault launched at 172 Live Music club inside RIO All-Suites Hotel and Casino Las Vegas.[30]


Notable musicians who have been part of the show's rotating lineup at some time include:


  1. ^ Jeff Giles (October 21, 2016). "Cheap Trick, Journey and Foreigner vets lead new 'Rock Pack' concert experience". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  2. ^ a b "Raiding the Rock Vault's Howard Leese (Heart, Bad Company) and John Payne (Asia) discuss Las Vegas' new rock concert experience". March 28, 2013 – via NewsBank.
  3. ^ Simon Napier-Bell. "A Quick CV". Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  4. ^ a b c John Payne; David Kershenbaum. "John Payne & David Kershenbaum: Raiding The Rock Vault" (Interview). Classic Rock Revisited. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  5. ^ a b c d e John Katsilometes (May 15, 2013). "'KWTD': 'Rock Vault' loaded with hits — including a right hook by Howard Leese". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  6. ^ a b John Katsilometes (March 9, 2013). "A fast-spinning combination opens 'Rock Vault' at LVH". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  7. ^ "Contract secured with Las Vegas Hotel for 'Raiding the Rock Vault'" (Press release). Papa Entertainment. January 22, 2013. Retrieved 2018-10-18 – via MarketWired.
  8. ^ Sergio Burstein (December 4, 2012). "Raiding the Rock Vault: tributo al rock clásico de alto calibre". Hoy (in Spanish). Chicago, IL. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  9. ^ John Katsilometes (June 23, 2014). "'Raiding the Rock Vault' opts for Payne relief". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  10. ^ John Katsilometes (June 30, 2014). "Westgate ready to change marquee as purchase of LVH is official". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  11. ^ a b c Mike Weatherford (September 24, 2014). "'Rock Vault' closes abruptly at Westgate after Tropicana raids it". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-20.
  12. ^ "John Payne, 'Rock Vault' settle it down; 1923 summons DJ duo in official 'relaunch'". Las Vegas Sun. January 14, 2015. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  13. ^ a b Eriq Gardner (July 23, 2014). "Former Asia singer, fired Las Vegas musical director sues casino". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  14. ^ a b Mike Weatherford (November 14, 2014). "Never too old to raid the 'Rock Vault'". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
  15. ^ John Katsilometes (September 24, 2014). "In one magic stroke, Trop lures 'Rock Vault' and Jan Rouven". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  16. ^ a b Steve Bornfeld (November 19, 2014). "Overhauled Raiding the Rock Vault is a hit-and-miss hit parade". Vegas Seven. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  17. ^ Mike Weatherford (October 4, 2014). "Admirable attempts at showbiz reinvention take different turns". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  18. ^ Matt Kelemen (January 15, 2016). "Tuning into the latest incarnation of 'Raiding the Rock Vault'". Las Vegas Magazine. Retrieved 2018-10-22.
  19. ^ a b James Moody; Paul Dexter (2016). Concert Lighting: The Art and Business of Entertainment Lighting. Taylor & Francis. pp. 308–310.
  20. ^ "Branson kicks up its boots for the premiere of "Raiding the Country Vault" at The Mansion Theatre" (Press release). Papa Entertainment. May 10, 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  21. ^ Tommy Jackson (August 14, 2016). "Show stealer never set foot on stage". The Daily Citizen. Searcy, AR – via NewsBank.
  22. ^ a b c John Katsilometes (July 16, 2016). "'Raiding the Rock Vault' sets July 31 closing at Tropicana". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  23. ^ John Katsilometes (December 15, 2016). "'Raiding the Rock Vault' hits the right combination with Hard Rock Hotel". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  24. ^ Mike Weatherford (March 19, 2017). "Are three classic rock shows on the Las Vegas Strip too much classic rock?". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
  25. ^ Mike Weatherford (November 14, 2014). "Over-the-top rock tributes offer fun choices". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
  26. ^ a b John Katsilometes (July 6, 2017). "From leg shake to 'Love Shack,' the B-52s are ready to party". Las Vegas Review-Journal – via NewsBank.
  27. ^ a b c d Joshua Clark (May 15, 2018). "'Raiding the Rock Vault' returns". Branson Tri-Lakes News. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  28. ^ "Raiding the Rock Vault hits London with an all star cast - live review, Subterania, London Dec 7 2019". Your Online Magazine for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  29. ^ "Las Vegas favorite Raiding the Rock Vault will turn 7 at the Rio". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  30. ^ Vault, Raiding the Rock. "Photos from Opening Night at 172 Live Music – Raiding the Rock Vault". Retrieved 2020-01-12.
  31. ^ a b c Susan Stapleton (September 3, 2015). "Two guitar heroes return to star-studded 'Raiding the Rock Vault' lineup". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  32. ^ a b John Katsilometes (November 27, 2017). "'Rock Vault' cranks it to No. 1,000 at Hard Rock Hotel". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2019-03-04.
  33. ^ Susan Stapleton (January 5, 2015). "Dokken's Mark Boals joins lineup of 'Raiding the Rock Vault'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  34. ^ a b c d "'Raiding the Rock Vault' slides into Vinyl at the Hard Rock". Las Vegas Weekly. January 5, 2017. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  35. ^ "Raiding the Rock Vault salutes Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Hugh McDonald of Bon Jovi" (Press release). Raiding the Rock Vault. May 3, 2018. Retrieved 2018-10-21.