"Raiding the Rock Vault" highlights music from many of rock’s greatest bands, with artists performing live through a Bose RoomMatch loudspeaker system at The Tropicana Las Vegas. "I wanted this to be the biggest sounding show on The Strip,” said Keith Marks, production coordinator for ‘Raiding the Rock Vault,’ which opened at The Tropicana Las Vegas in November 2014. The show, an award-winning two-hour extravaganza of classic rock songs performed by musicians from some of the biggest bands in the business, installed a large RoomMatch loudspeaker system from Bose Professional when it moved into the Tropicana Theater.
‘Raiding the Rock Vault,’ which premiered in March 2013, features classic anthems by The Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and numerous others performed by a cast of musicians from bands that include Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Heart, Bad Company, Survivor, Asia, Quiet Riot, Badfinger, and Lynch Mob. The show was recently named Best Musical for the second year running in the Best of Las Vegas readers’ poll conducted by the Las Vegas Review- Journal, and it has consistently been ranked No. 1 Performance in Las Vegas on TripAdvisor.
“We’d invested so much money in the look of the show that I wanted to hang a PA with a large presence and aesthetic in here,” said Marks, who had only a few weeks to set the show up at its new home after the engagement at its previous location came to an end. Marks, who previously spent 20 years as a production manager with Styx and has also worked with Night Ranger and others, added, “It looks great, and it sounds great.”
The installed PA features two flown arrays, each comprising eight modules: one RM9005, four RM12005s, two RM12010s and one RM12020. There are six RoomMatch RMS218 double-18-inch subwoofers arrayed under the stage thrust. On-stage side fill is provided by RM9040 modules paired with RMS215 bass, and RoomMatch Utility RMU208 speakers acting as stage monitors for any musicians not using in-ears. The entire RoomMatch system is driven by 22 Bose PowerMatch PM8500N amplifiers. Three Dante-networked ControlSpace engineered sound processors handle system optimization and management.
"Raiding the Rock Vault" premiered in March 2013, featuring classic anthems by The Rolling Stones, The Who, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and others performed by a cast of musicians from bands that include Whitesnake, Bon Jovi, Heart, Bad Company, Survivor, Asia, Quiet Riot, Badfinger, and Lynch Mob. Marks and Bose Professional personnel collaborated on the RoomMatch PA design. They used Bose’s Modeler software to define a custom configuration that would ensure even coverage throughout the theater, which seats approximately 1,000. “It’s a meaty rig,” according to Marks. “I’ve been doing a lot of mixing on it; when I ask it to do something, like give me a little more low end, it delivers.”
Marks first encountered the RoomMatch speaker system during a trade show when Bose asked if the production would host some demos in its theater, a venue where Elvis Presley performed 858 consecutive sold-out shows. “When they did a demo for their dealers I sat in the back and listened; it sounded pretty impressive. I said, let’s use it for our show, and we got some really good results.” When the production relocated, he made the decision for a RoomMatch system to be installed at the Tropicana Theater.
For the sake of expediency, Marks also acquired a pair of digital mixing consoles for the new room that are identical to the desks at the previous venue, enabling him to load the saved mix data. “Instead of putting the band through torture for a week and a half, with soundcheck after soundcheck to get it right, we were pretty much ready to go,” Marks said, noting that he plans to upgrade the front-of-house console.
“The show is not that terrible in terms of input management,” he continues. “We’ve got a couple of guitar players with stereo rigs, guest inputs, a bass player with a mic and a DI, a drum kit, and keyboards.” The musical journey from the 1960s through the ‘80s is also depicted by performers in period costume, as well as an elaborate stage production featuring video screens, lasers, and lighting effects.
The production’s wireless requirements are handled by an AKG system that relocated with the show. The RF rig includes a dozen channels of AKG WMS4500 for vocals, with the show’s singers utilizing HT4500 handheld transmitters with D5 and D7 capsules, and the performers use PT4500 transmitters paired with Countryman lavalier mics.
There are 16 channels of DMS700 V2 for the guitars, with PT700 V2 transmitters. “Each guitarist has four channels with a switcher. I hand them a guitar, hit the switcher, and boom—they’re off and running,” Marks elaborates.
An AKG IVM4500 IEM system, with AKG Helical antennas for transmission, supports the band’s in-ear needs. Performer preferences for in-ear molds run the gamut, Marks said, and include Future Sonics, J.H. Audio, Ultimate Ears, Westone, and others.
The Tropicana is located in an area of high-density RF, due to its proximity to numerous hotels and their respective in-house productions, as well as the city’s many TV stations, emergency services, taxis, and other users. “We scan every 30 to 60 days, just to make sure nothing is stepping on a channel. I swear, we don’t have any channels left, between the guitars, the in-ears, the wireless mics, and being in Vegas,” he said.
“I think the formula we have now, with Hughie, Doug, and Howard, is a pretty formidable front line,” Marks said, referring to Hugh McDonald (bass; Bon Jovi), Doug Aldrich (guitar; Whitesnake), and Howard Leese (guitar; Heart, Bad Company). “Those guys can pretty much cover whatever needs to be covered in the guitar hero department.”
Guests musicians frequently drop by and have included George Lynch, of Dokken and the Lynch Mob, and Dave Amato of REO Speedwagon. Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora has also made an appearance. “We threw a guitar on him, he ran out, played a solo, and the crowd went nuts. Anything can happen here,” Marks said.