2019 Monsters of Rock Cruise – Merrymaking

2019 MORC badge
2019 Monsters of Rock Cruise. The only band listed that did not make it was D-A-D.

Merrymaking: conviviality, festivity, gaiety, jollification, rejoicing, and revelry…that pretty much sums up the week. Great music, great people, great times – lovely weather and beautiful islands – another fun-filled escape to a happy, live music paradise.

If I had to pick my three favorite shows from this year’s Monsters of Rock Cruise, I’d go with Lies, Deceit & Treachery (for the second year in a row), Brian Howe, and Ritchie Kotzen. Three completely different experiences:

(1) was totally rocking out to LDT, (2) was thoroughly enjoying an intimate storytellers-like experience with Brian Howe, and (3) was happily lost in the magical musical wormhole that Richie Kotzen opens whenever he makes music. All gems.

More than honorable mentions to the Kix sailaway and Pat Travers shows…I could go on. Musicians jamming with each other, like Rick Allen and Pat Travers with Tesla. When the Killer Dwarfs did an awesome Doesn’t Matter jam, when the Bullet Boys did Journey‘s Stay AwhileAnd when I lost my husband Grant during Saxon, a band he wasn’t really familiar with, and he later came out from the front all pumped up yelling “I love these guys!” Good times. Positive energy galore. New friends from all over the world. Somebody recently asked if the cruise was worth the money. Sorry to be even cornier than usual, but it’s worth more because you get things that money can’t buy. 

Joe Schaeffer Richie Kotzen
Ritchie Kotzen reflecting exactly how we felt as we drifted into that realm. Photo by Joe Schaeffer Photography – check out the link for great MOR Cruise photos.

On this – my eighth – MOR Cruise, I came away pondering a few things about the experience… 

About The Cruisers

2019 MORC Young Belgiums
My new young Belgium friends. Got to love the leopard mini and the white hightops. Vintage.

While the majority of the crowd was in the 40-60 age range, one thing I noticed this year was a more distinct younger generation…20-somethings. I love it. 

There was one young couple in particular that I saw rocking out at every show, and, as I went up and told them, looked like they had just left the Rainbow for the party-in-the-parking-lot. They were 25 year-olds from Belgium. I thanked them for keeping the genre alive, and they both immediately replied “no no no, thank you for making it happen!” They were totally in love with the whole thing, gracious, and almost reverent. It was a pleasantly fleeting Moment (see my post on nostalgia if you are inclined toward that stuff).

About the Cruise

Once onboard with the band schedule in hand, you learn how to pick and choose and rest and revive and get to as many things as you can – if you set priorities and work around them, you can catch all the bands you want to see. Sometimes I miss jam sessions, which one shouldn’t, or Q&As, which can be interesting. I’ve never been to a photo experience, but once in awhile over the years I’ve stumbled upon some of the other special events and had great fun. I’m a big fan of the morning Blood Mary Jams at the pool stage.

The islands were pleasant and lovely. We kicked back in the shade in Labadee, Haiti with friends, watching the sea and the zip-liners before heading over to the stage area for the always-awesome Thee Rock-n-Roll Residency.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica was the essence of jolly conviviality – we braved our way into the tourist enclave and reveled with Red Stripes at Margaritaville – fantastically fun day. 

2019 MORC Ocho Rios Jamaica
Margaritaville in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Once again art was a feature of the cruise, seemingly more so this year. And there was a lot of cool art – I’m in no way whatsoever an aficionado, but there was some very eye-catching stuff around the ship. Rick Allen of Def Leppard and Brian Wheat of Tesla had gallery showings.

2019 MORC Rick Allen Art
We checked out the gallery of Rick Allen’s art – impressive.

I understand Eddie Trunk filmed an episode of Trunkfest for his AXStv show while onboard. It’s a decent show to learn about various festivals and events and I look forward to checking it out. And speaking of cameras onboard…

About the Cameras

Since I’m about to post a bunch of MORC YouTube videos that Grant made, I’ve got to quickly bring up the phenomena of cell phones and concerts.

I get the arguments against them – it’s about being in the moment. I myself prefer not to take out my camera cuz I can really get into the moment…but I do it now and then. And while I didn’t have any issues with phones blocking my view on the cruise, I give you it happens.

But it almost seems that cameras have become a part of being in the moment – grabbing a few shots or snippets has replaced the concert ticket stub, as well as the high school day-after-concert t-shirt badge of honor. 

I don’t know how the musicians feel – I can imagine some love it and some hate it, or are okay with moderation. Of course I enjoy taped-live music (if I can’t have the real thing), as do millions of others. I know friends and fans who can’t make it to the cruise eagerly await something to watch, so it does spread the love. Some bands seem happy or content to use fan videos as publicity in this nutty new music business. It keeps their music alive in this ever-changing world (although it would be nice if they could be paid for it somehow). Also, I’m as near-sighted as it gets so I love to see things that I normally wouldn’t with a zoom or video from someone who was closer. Also why I love video boards at concerts. It’s a new reality. Side note of thanks that there were no cell phone cameras in the ’80s ;o). 

Anyhow – I’ve picked some of my favorites from Grant’s 2019 MORC Videos and posted them below…enjoy and hopefully you catch the happy drift of the ship.

For great band photos and more details on each show, check out Joe Schaeffer Photography and WilltoRock.com.

SATURDAY – Preshow in Miami

I know what I need but I don’t know how to get it…I wanna stay young! – Black ’N Blue Hold on to 18

I used to have a 90-minute cassette with the Kix Cool Kids album on Side A and Black-n Blue‘s Without Love on Side B. I wore that tape out in my car and my walkman, flipping it over and over. So cool to see both bands on the ship as my memories of them are inextricably wound-up (ha) in each other. I would love to hear Kix do Cool Kids someday.

SUNDAY – Pool Stage Sailaway Show – 5:30 p.m.

Overload my circuits, let me feel the juice  Kix, Blow My Fuse

Those eight words pretty much describe every Kix show ever. It was the 35th anniversary of the release of Blow My Fuse and they played the entire album. As always, such fun shows. Check out the people watching from the hot tub…life is good.

MONDAY – Royal Theatre – Noon (“the other 12 o’clock”)

In my life, there’ve been changes… – Bad Company Holy Water 

I discovered Brian Howe when I saw him singing for Ted Nugent at Tampa Jai Alai in 1983 – and even though I became a big fan, I hadn’t seen him since. To this day I love Side One of Ted’s Penetrator album because of Brian’s vocals. Not only did he sound fantastic, the show was early (noon) in the theatre and was almost intimate with him telling a few good stories. This show was a big highlight for me and I thank the MORC staff for bringing us these guys. And you gotta love the guy rocking out in the front row with his cassette cover. Make sure to watch the guitar solo – amazing.

MONDAY – Studio B – 3:30 p.m.

Boom boom what? – Grant Hebert, who had never heard the song before I made him go to a Pat Traverse concert in 2005

Thank you MORC for bringing us Pat Travers. It seems like most of the musicians on the cruise were at this show. Florida high school southern rock flashbacks.

TUESDAY – Studio B – 3:30 p.m. 

Put all your hope in some dreams, throw it to the wind, let it all begin Killer Dwarfs, Doesn’t Matter

Quite possibly my favorite song of all time…the lyrics, the melody, the vibe. So happy I got to ride in the elevator with Darrell Dwarf on my way to breakfast one day and tell him this – his response: “Thank you so much, I never get tired of hearing that.” This video is a great jam version – one of my favorites.

TUESDAY – Pool Stage – 4:30 p.m.

Everybody was born in it, sure as hell gonna die in it – Extreme, It’s A Monster

Extreme stole the show on the 2015 MOR Cruise…it was then that I was able to forgive Gary Cherone for Van Halen III.

TUESDAY – Pool Stage – 7 p.m.

I’ll sing any song your heart desires – Journey, Stay Awhile 

Oh, I love this song…I have been obsessed with Journey‘s Departure album since 10th grade. This is the only song I recorded on the cruise – I was so surprised to hear it. Thank you Marq Torein for doing the song, and for doing it justice. Note: that’s not the ship swaying, it was me…I was definitely in the moment while recording.

WEDNESDAY – Pool Stage – 5:30 p.m.

It ain’t the life you choose, it’s the life you live – Tesla, What You Give 

The positive philosophy of the Tesla band comes through in every show. That’s the mountains of Labadee in the background – they played while we left the port. 

WEDNESDAY – Studio B – 10 p.m.

But you and I, we been through that, and this is not our fate – Hendrix, All Along the Watchtower

So amazing. The only way to understand Ritchie Kotzen is to go to one of his shows and drift into the experience that ensues. His talented and beautiful wife is on bass in this video – it was their anniversary.

WEDNESDAY – Karaoke with Brian & Izzy – 12 a.m.

I’m gonna show you baby that a woman can be toughPiece of My Heart

My bff Randee Weiss doing karaoke…lots of musicians hanging there both nights. Femme Fatale should contact Randee if they decide to look for a new singer since Lorraine Lewis left to join Vixen…just sayin’ ;o).

THURSDAY – Royal Theater – 8 p.m.

Music oh music such a funky thing, the closer you get the deeper it means – King’s X, Groove Machine

THURSDAY – Royal Theater -10:30 p.m. 

Watching the time tick tick away – Queensryche, Jet City Woman

Fantastic show – the entire band sounds better than ever. This was the the last show of the cruise for a lot of us, before one last trip to Deck 5 for pizza and people watching. Great finish.

Here are the original band schedules…there were a few modifications as Extreme had to reschedule and D-A-D couldn’t make it to the cruise. 

2019 More Schedule p1of6

2019 More Schedule p2of6

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2019 More Schedule p4of6

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And some other random stuff…

MORC Pre-Show ticket
MORC Saturday Night Pre-Party #2 ticket – Diemonds, Black N’Blue, and Kingdom Come. For more details on the shows, check out willtorock.com.
2019 MORC Sailaway
The KIX sailaway show on the Pool Stage. It never really seems that this many people are on the ship once we are all spread out. I was on the floor just to the left of the pool – it was a great spot.

MORC 2019 Meneketti wines flyer

MORC 2019 Megacruise flyer

MORC 2019 Haiti guitar and stuff
The souvenir guitar we picked up in Labadee. Thank you to the cool girl handing out the Y&T Rocks bracelets in Labadee, the cool girl who gave me the Kix pin in the elevator, and the guy I met in the elevator who runs the Growin’ Up Rock podcast. Elevators can be great fun, like when Grant got his picture with Jeff Keith.
2019 MORC me grant meredith
Me and Grant in Ocho Ríos, Jamaica – photobombed by Meredith from Boston, who we met on the inaugural 2012 MOR Cruise, and who had just won Margaritaville’s beer chugging contest ;o).

One thought on “2019 Monsters of Rock Cruise – Merrymaking

  1. Love it!! As always, you made me feel like I was there….when I couldn’t be. Next year is on for sure!! 💜🎶

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