The Shiprocked Cruise was marked by high seas, heavy winds and even heavier metal. As the Shiprockers boarded the ship, they were quite the spectacle to all the fanny pack and Velcro shoe wearing “Cruisers.” Many an unsuspecting retiree was heard commenting about all the long hair and tattoos on the passengers and band members as we embarked the vessel.
Day One was kicked of by amazing performances by Drowning Pool and Blackstone Cherry, a southern inspired hard rocking band from Kentucky. As we sailed the high seas, passengers saw two wedding proposals. Congratulations to both couples! There were many old friends that were reunited on the boat and shared a drink or two while trying to get pictures with their favorite stars from the past and the many stars of the future from the newer bands, all of whom made themselves accessible to the fans on the boat. Even if they were being pursued by photo taking maniacs with novelty sunglasses that were collecting shots of the stars like they were on some sort of Heavy Metal safari. Jeff Keith of Tesla and Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust earned especially high marks from all the fans for being cordial, endearing, and tolerant of the many people that wanted a picture with them. Tesla took the main stage for the opening night performance and delivered as usual. They played all the standards to a crowd that knew every word and sang along passionately. If you have ever been on a cruise ship you know how small the auditorium that the Magician in the sequined suit calls home, so to say the shows were intimate would be an understatement. It was like seeing a headlining national touring act in a small town movie theater.
On the second day, high winds made for rough seas and the boat was not only rocking figuratively, but literally as well. Cinderella, who was voted as the most requested band by the 2009 Shiprockers, was the much anticipated headliner for Friday night. Tom Keifer’s vocals were impressive and the stage presence of the entire band showed why they are still popular today. Other bands playing both before and after Cinderella included The Letter Black, Aranda and late night shows by Drowning Pool and Broken Teeth. Drowning Pool played until after 2 am in what was one of the most memorable of the trip. After finishing an ear splitting set of their music they played an encore of several Pantera songs that included lead singer Ryan McComb taking the show into the crowd.
Day 3 featured another full day of music and the first chance to see Atlanta based Sevendust prior to catching Vince Neil in main theater. They had the crowd on the pool deck bouncing and fist pumping in a frenzy. The show included a surreal scene seeing such a great band on a pool deck of a cruise ship while Tesla frontman Jeff Keith and New York Yankee outfielder Johnny Damon (who was on board as a fan of the rock) are rocking out to the show along with all the other fans. Vince Neil was the headliner for the final night and fought through a case of layringitis to play a mix of his new Tattoos and Tequila and classic Motley Crue standards.
The cruise was a great success and makes coming home to snow on the ground, temps in the 30’s and work a real drag. It’s great to see all the repeat offenders that showed up for Shiprock 2010. I’m already anticipating next years line-up and can’t wait for the announcement of when we can book the trip.
Check out all the photos in the HOH Headbangers community!!
ShipRocked Winner 2009