It's finally time! I know you've been waiting with bated breath to read all about my ShipRocked 2011 experiences. I can't believe the cruise was two weeks ago... seems more like months, but alas, here we are in early December. The last couple of weeks have been insane, thus the review tardiness.
First things first, I was a staff member on the boat. That means I got to wear a "staff" shirt (many thanks to the Captain). ShipRocked sailed on the MSC Poesia out of Ft. Lauderdale. We left on Monday, November 14 and returned on Saturday, November 19, so there was plenty of time for rock chaos.
On the first day, the Glam husband and I -- along with several other staffers - helped get the bands on the boat. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire trip. I got to hand out laminates! As you can imagine, this wasn't necessarily a seamless process, but in the end, it all seemed to go smoothly enough. After all, we didn't leave anyone behind or anything. That first day I got up at 5, was at the pier by 6:30... and stood for hours. When I finally took my shoes off that first night my feet were swollen from standing with an "artist check-in" sign for hours.
Hinder did the sail-a-way show on the deck and yes I watched them for awhile... until I needed to eat and sit down (see the previous comment about my feet). We had really good weather for much of the trip... but it did rain during Hinder, cutting their set short. This rain also made things rough for the guys running sound. The equipment has to be covered because it isn't cheap.
All of my favorite shows of the week took place on the deck stage. That is, open air. I loved when Lynam, Sevendust, In This Moment and Candlebox all performed their deck shows. Candlebox was amazing because that was the first time I'd seen them and they were huge to me when I was in high school. The day they performed on the deck also happened to be a port day. The glam husband and I just happened to share a cab with one of the guys from Candlebox and his girl. Now if the 16 year old me knew that the 32 year old me would get to have a private conversation with a member of Candlebox and not even think twice about it... well, let's just say the 16 year old me would have freaked out.
Lynam has a new bass player now. His name is Cody Elliott and he can really sing. I was blown away by his AC/DC cover. The band sort of looks like Black Veil Brides now. I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be ironic... I think. I hope.
It was cool seeing In This Moment perform "The Gun Show" live. And I swear, one of the band members (I won't say who) looks like a person who has been reading this website from basically the beginning. It kept freaking the Glam husband out a little.
As for the theater shows, Buckcherry was my favorite. The set list seemed different from the last time I saw them live which was maybe a year or so ago. While I saw nearly every other artist wander the ship constantly (and they would nod and wink because I was wearing a staff shirt), I barely saw any of the Buckcherry guys. I did observe Josh Todd sitting alone on the VIP deck watching Sevendust. I was away from the crowd myself. I hope he was having a good time. I will say he is very quiet when he isn't on stage. I've interviewed him (in person) before and he's kind of shy. It seemed that people were respecting his need for privacy.
ShipRocked passengers got to meet and get a photo with every band. As you can imagine, those lines were long. I was the person (along with a big security guy) that stood outside along those lines for each meet and greet. The Glam husband took photos. I wish there was some chaos to report here - there was none. I guess that's a good thing.
My absolute favorite part of the trip was getting to know the Cancer Sucks! folks better. It's a great charity and its founder, Rick, is a great guy. Click the link and check it out - they do many festivals and bike shows. If you've ever been to Rocklahoma, chances are you've seen their booth.
The other big highlight was making some completely new friends and sharing crazy stories at dinner. Some of the people I met were just awesome and I remain stunned at all their famous music industry connections.
To be honest, I didn't watch every show (it wasn't possible) and I'm okay with that. There was other fun highlights that weren't show related, like bingo which involved the members of Lynam making very bad jokes and a couple of artist Q&A sessions that revealed just how messed up the music industry truly is these days. It also dawned on me while writing this that I only got in the hot tub once while on the boat. I did ride a jet ski in Costa Maya, Mexico (remember the shared Candlebox cab?) but the surf was rough and it sort of sucked. I was most grateful for the heat. Ohio is cold in November but it was hot in Mexico! So that's that. The next rock n' roll trip is to Cleveland in April to see Guns n' Roses get inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame. Then it's off to M3 and Rock on the Range both in May... then, who knows?
If you want to attend ShipRocked 2012, pre-booking starts Monday. Go the website for more information.
I was going to post photos here, but you can more easily look at the entire gallery online.