So, as you know I was on Shiprocked last week. The cruise pulled out of Fort Lauderdale and stopped in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Queensryche, Ratt, Skid Row, Tesla, Broken Teeth, Lynam, Endeverafter, Stereoside, Stonerider and the Niki Barr Band entertained the 1,500 or so of us crazy enough to embark on a week-long, 24/7 metal extravaganza.
Now, let me say that a more straightforward review will post on Noisecreep this week, along with a photo gallery. I know you'd rather have dirt...and I'm happy to share with you.
First, let me say all the bands sounded pretty amazing. Lynam being the best (I'm biased, they were my favorite band on the boat) and Ratt sounded the worst. Now, I'll explain more in the Noisecreep review but I think that there was a major band scuffle going on or something. The members just didn't interact, so maybe they were fighting or something. Maybe they were just exhausted. I sure as hell was (still am)!
Now, for some dirt. During the aforementioned Ratt show, Tesla lead singer Jeff Keith stood beside me and my husband. Actually, he didn't stand. He really just jumped around, screamed, sang along and kept flashing the devil horns. I couldn't help but laugh - it was pretty hilarious and bizarre all at the same time. Speaking of Tesla, I caught a Frank Hannon pick during their set!
Before dinner the last night of the cruise, Eric and I went to check our cruise card balance (basically, that's a bar tab). So we're on the way to the computer terminal to swipe our card and we pass Warren DeMartini standing by the sushi restaurant, fighting with the hand sanitizer machine. He's nearly kicking this machine, trying to get some of the germ fighting agent when a random woman walks up to him and says "Are you part of that rock cruise?" And Warren just smiled and said "Yes, I am." Then he proceeded to fight the hand sanitizer machine some more. I ducked behind a corner and laughed. The non-Shiprockers on the cruise were pretty great overall. They peppered us with questions and I love how politely Warren handled the situation. Of course, there's always at least one pill in the group and apparently some grouchy old man screamed about the "Crazed hippies on the boat, smoking too much pot." I think the grouchy passenger got something free for his troubles and for the record, I never saw (or smelled) anyone smoking pot. So there. Another non-Shiprocker story. One morning, Eric, Kari and I ate breakfast with a retired couple. They were fascinated by the cruise concept and admitted that they had ducked in (illegally!) to the Tesla show. I was impressed the couple could remember the band's name. The woman said she didn't like it because had no "beginning, middle or end" and the man said it was too loud. We smiled as the couple was quite nice. Then they told us they could tell we had good parents and were raised right. I thought that was nice.
When you disembark a cruise ship, it's mayhem. Probably the worst part of the entire experience, actually. Everyone gets up at the crack of dawn to lineup to get off the boat. So, picture it: 5am Friday, no one has slept, because really, what's the point? So everyone is sitting around, half out of it when Parker Lundgren, the newest member of Queensryche, comes down to the lobby with his wife Miranda who just happens to be Geoff Tate's daughter. The two are squabbling just a little because it's early and they are tired. I witness this terse exchange and see Parker leave with Miranda trailing him. I'm assuming they got off the boat via a more private manner, and I hope so. Makes me realize every marriage is literally the same.
Speaking of Geoff Tate...so we have an 80s prom on the cruise. We did this in lieu of a traditional formal night like any other cruise. So I have an awesome outfit, as does Eric (thanks to me) and my girl Kari. In fact, we look so good, people get their picture with us, but I digress. So anyway, we eat and go to the "prom." See, we're excited because we could drink at this prom. We couldn't do that the first time around! So, we get a drink and sing along to some Glam tunes, mainly Tuff's "American Hairband." So, my little group is feeling good when we notice the prom is filling in nicely. All of a sudden, I look up - and Geoff Tate's wife is dancing! Then his kids come onto the floor...then the man himself! I've never seen Geoff Tate dance like this, to things like Whitesnake and AC/DC and yes, Kix...but there he was, dressed all in black! Again, surreal. People surrounded him to take photos, but no one really bothered him or his wife. In the end, Geoff and his wife were named honorary king and queen of the prom.
What else? Well, I ate dinner each night next to Stonerider. They are a cool band and you should check them out. They hail from Atlanta and have a sort of Blackstone Cherry vibe going on.I think they liked the food more than me. Well, I didn't like it all, so I guess that wasn't hard to top. Worst food I've ever had on a cruise, by far. Everything else on Shiprocked was perfect, from the shows to the meet and greets to the special activities...but man oh man, the food! I was starved by the time I got home Friday and I know I'm not alone in saying that.
One of my personal favorite memories had nothing to do with rock stars, but just having dinner with my friends Mr. and Mrs. NirVrana (yeah, the Mr. posts here) and them telling me crazy stories of festivals past. Mr. NirVrana also brought me a lovely "I Love MJ" T-shirt which I wore to Jamaica, causing a bit of a stir. So, this MJ shirt is awesome by the way. Now, if you've ever been to Jamaica, you know that you are hassled the second you arrive. I was both hassled and met with screams of "I love Michael Jackson, too!" and "Gone Too Soon!"I guess that proves MJ is the universal language.
Nothing much exciting happened during the meet and greet sessions. During the special Geoff Tate Insania wine tasting event, I noticed Parker Lundgren's belt and mentioned I wanted it. So, Kari being the extrovert she is, walked on up to him and asked where he got it...which was, naturally, New Orleans! This gave NOLA girl Kari something to talk about for sure. Nothing much else happened during the wine tasting. I can't drink wine except for a tiny taste, so it was pretty boring for me. I do have to say I had no idea just how hardcore Queensryche fans are. Man, those people are nuts! Kari's roommate was a beautiful woman who has traveled the world, following her love of the 'Ryche. We met people on our shuttle who have traveled all over for the band...and there are countless similar stories. At the wine party, I noticed many people showing off their Queensryche tattoos. Qeensryche fans were, by far, the most rabid group on the boat. Truly an eye-opening experience.
I'm sure I'll think of more stuff. When my Noisecreep review and photo gallery pops up, I'll post the link here.