I end up writing this every year, but wow, you did it again. I really didn't think JC11 would top last year's - some of that for personal reasons and some due to the lineup - but 'funk me silly' I had the time of my life.
So Thank You!!!!
Boarding was smooth and effortless, even in the non-Lifer line, we were on board in less than 35 minutes and roaming the ship seeing all the familiar faces and HUGE smiles.
We spent the first few hours talking with friends, some of whom we only see this one special time a year. And the anticipation began to build...
Our 'plan that will most likely be discarded within the first few minutes'
called for me to check out Kimock, Worrell, Ingram and Hess for a half hour and then head over to MMW&S got tossed right there as the music was stunning. Bernie Worrell is indeed legendary, trading ripples of notes with the other musicians while beaming this huge smile of pure joy and laughter. Which pretty much echoed the way I felt as I danced myself silly, unable to leave until the lights came on and the set was over. It was only the first day, and early yet at that, but I had a suspicion that this was going to be one of my favorite sets of the cruise.
It should be mentioned that it was here, that we noticed one of the best tweaks C9 had made to JC11:
the first 5 rows of seats in the theater had been removed, yielding a much larger and less crowded dance area, which greatly improved the whole experience throughout the cruise's theater shows.
It was easy to get topside to catch 30 minutes of MMW&S before the plan called for a return below deck. The two songs we heard were quite enjoyable, but would be the only time I saw them on this cruise. We got back downstairs just in time, skipping Steel Pulse, as the Motet was doing sound check, and snagged a nice couch - I wanted to rest the feet after all the dancing, knowing full well that the night was still very young, it wasn't even midnight yet. That plan got tossed too as soon as they started playing, there was no way to not get up and shake the hips. The Motet doing cover sets is always wildly entertaining and fun, but the Motet as the Motet is brilliant too and this was kicking ass. Soon there was a little group of us shake shake shaking and once again I found myself thinking, 'damn I'm lucky to be here surrounded by these wonderful people listening to this wonderful music in this wonderful venue'. Nigel Hall/Hill sat in for a couple of Parliament covers. This set would be another of my top favorites of the cruise. Two down!!
Next up was Lettuce, which we watched/danced from the theater balcony, catching some footrest and getting up for some of the moments that demanded dancing and then off to the Jam Room until dawn, every moment reinforcing that thought, "yeah, we're in the right place and oh so lucky to be here".
This year we were wearing pedometers in an effort to both determine why our feet and legs hurt so much after JC, and as part of a 6 way Door Decoration 'Funky Miles' effort that we had going with friends in neighboring cabins. As I entered my cabin, I noted that I was actually in last place with a mere 7 miles covered since getting on the ship...
Next morning (okay, 1:30 pm) we had the Forum Meetup, and that was a ton-o-fun, right right! Instead of 30 minutes, I stayed until it was time for the Jamily Fued. I enjoy going to at least one of the game show entertainments each year, and this year was no different, even if the top answer to each question wasn't the expected "balls".
After that it was topside again (SOP: elevators up, stairs down) for the Funk is Dead set. Another fun non- stop dance party, it differed slightly from the set we'd seen back in DC, but we enjoyed the song mash-ups they used to squeeze it down into the allotted time.
At the end of the set I had to put the honey to bed, she wasn't feeling too hot and decided it would be better to get some sleep now and miss out, then be overcome by illness and miss even more of the cruise. We learn stuff like that over the years.
Alone and sporting my "I've Been Good Gold Star Blue Cloak", I headed to the theater where I found some FunkNJammers on the new dance floor getting down as Femi Kuti played some real booty shaking music with heavy political overtones. Awesome stuff and something I'll probably never get a chance to see again, so thanks for that too Cloud 9!
I needed some nourishment at this point, so I went to the cafeteria, sat down and ate solids (*gasp*). Then I managed to catch some Funky METERS dancing yet more on the pool deck, followed by Medeski, Skerik, and Deitch. Heh, yeah, putting those 3 together yields some really out there stuff, but I enjoyed it before catching all of Breakestra on the pool deck. I'd seen a bit of them at Bear Creek and knew I wanted to be there.
After that I snuck in a song or two at the jam room before having to head back to the cabin for some real sleep. Old me would have pushed on and ended up asleep on the pool deck.
I put my star on my Funky Miles chart: 18 miles.
We awoke four hours later thinking we were late for kickball on Grand Turk! 10am was the meetup time, so we showered and dressed and rushed out to the green arrow on the google map.
We were early but the rest showed up shortly thereafter and the game was on!! ToC made a strong showing, contributing a PA system, announcers, cheerleaders (and heckle leaders) players and smiles! The rain held off and after a fun two hours the Up All Nighters claimed their gold medals, winning over the Sleepers 11 to 7. In addition to having fun watching from the sidelines, I really enjoyed having the chance to talk to people, something rare on JC when the music is going.
With kickball over we got food again, we find it really has improved over the years - it is certainly now possible to find something decent in the cafeteria. Did anyone else notice the bacon is now baked in the oven and not swimming in grease?
Thanks for listening again Cloud 9.
The rest of the day was devoted to Funk. Three GREAT sets on the pool deck, Dumpstaphunk (in my opinion Nikki Gillespie has pushed the group to a whole new level over the last year or so), KDTU was hopping and then Lettuce performed a set that I believe was even better than their theater one. All three of these sets go into my 'top sets' group. =) Not done yet we rushed down for the March 4th set in the theater. Having first seen these guys in July (and then catching them 4 more times!), we knew they were going to fit soooo perfectly with Jam Cruise and were totally stoked to finally see them on the ship. More use of the extended dance floor!!
That over, it is 3:15am. Time for bed? Hell, no, this is Jam Cruise, there's almost 4 hours of OFFICIAL music left, and in this case, it is Mike Dillon hosting the jam room, which is bound to be bad ass. 1200 feet later we are getting down as Mike brings together various artists to pump out thumping tune after tune - the feet hurt but there is no way to stop dancing. Reminds me of that red shoes fairy tale. Going out raw punk, Mike D trades raps with Nikki, covers Public Enemy, the Dead Kennedys, and I think some Iggy Pop. Fuck yeah! Only on Jam Cruise can you get jams like that.
Thank you Cloud 9, please never sail without Mike D!
Time for some really solid sleep, noting that all this dancing and running around puts our total at 38 miles. No wonder our feet hurt! =)
After a well deserved and long sleep, I made it to the pickin party for some bluegrass beatles. I always enjoy these, and danced the hour away. I also learned something!
I noted that the banjo player used open G for all of Get Back except for the occasional low C. Sweet.
The set ended with a wild rendition of A Day in the Life, putting a nice smile on my face as I wandered off for my next show.
We watched the Super Jam from the 14th floor pool deck balcony, allowing a nice wide view of the greatest party on earth.
I didn't know a number of the songs (I'm not very knowledgeable in the first place, and some of them were older obscurer covers), but my goodness it was pure ear honey. When it ended we had to go get into our Cirque de Funk costumes, after which there was a fair amount of purple glitter and feathers scattered around the cabin. =P
And THEN it was time for March 4th on the pool deck
. The circus was in full swing, magic was in the air, and not even a little bit of rain was going to stop this party! Cruisers were in costume everywhere, and it was just so very perfect.
The Funky METERS in the theater were next, this one requiring a front row position as I didn't intend to move until it was over. Other than shaking my ass. And this set has to go into the top sets group. Sit in after sit in, amazing stuff whether it was Bernie grinning while trading licks with Brian, or Art, Ivan and Ian jamming together, or Rosie screaming the slide on Purple Haze, it was all just epic-ly memorable.
With that over, we had 15 minutes to get to the Jam Room for Karl Denson night. Woo hoo, more music! At 2:15 I walked serk back to the zebra bar since Magic Gravy was one of her "must see's". I stayed a little bit, but had to leave her there to return to the jam room after a bit.
The music was great, although it was taking them a bit between songs to get musicians swapped in and out. Still, the down time could be used for resting the feet in an empty chair or couch and there were plenty of friends around to hang out and talk with.
Finally hit the sack around 8 am after grabbing some breakfast with 78 miles covered since boarding.
We like this last day being a port, especially since we don't disembark - it lets us get some nice sleep in before the last night of the party which we'll almost certainly need, it is almost impossible for me to go to sleep on the last night, and this year we are flying home day of arrival instead of going to a hotel to crash.
Dressed in our metal costumes (I'm in search of a pic of serk in hers if anyone has one
)we start the music off with the Everyone Orchestra. This show is always one that makes me jump for joy, it is a rousing example of the spirit of Jam Cruise. Great musicians improvising fantastic music while including the passengers in the celebration by incorporating chants, cheers, and vocals from the audience. My favorite piece was the 'Cock Rock' song, with Mike Dillon belting out the punk lyrics and trading screams with Jans.
:headbang: One of the top sets this cruise for sure, and I can't wait to see them on the pool deck with the sun down next year. =) The next two sets were also non stop dancing, KDTU followed by Galactic. Both had rocking moments, and I was pleasantly surprised that Galactic played some stuff I hadn't seen them do before. Corey Glover sounded real appropriate for How Many More Times too.
Keeping in mind that "it isn't over until it is over" we headed to the Jam Room for those last few precious moments. We were VERY sad that all the music stopped at 4am, but we spent from then until we got off the ship talking with friends and basking in the warm fuzzies of another successful jam cruise. Can't wait to do it with you all again next year.
My Top sets/shows:
Kimock & friends, Theater
The Motet, Zebra Bar
Mike D hosting the Jam Room
Dumpstaphunk, Pool Deck
KDTU, Pool Deck
Lettuce, Pool Deck
March 4th, Pool Deck, Cirque de Funk
Funky METERS, Theater
Oh yeah, my final tally was 296,365 steps taken for 92.88 miles. =) (<-- number of steps might be wrong, I lost track of it rolling over)
See ya next year if not sooner!!