Photo by David G Dami Photography
This was my second year onboard Shiprocked. A new year brought a new ship, destination, bands, and friends. The excitement for year two started to build the moment I stepped off the boat in 2016. The information couldn’t be posted fast enough. Where were we going? What were the theme nights going to be? What bands were going to be performing? For me, the best part was seeing all my Shiprocked family again. Because really, that’s what you become once you climb onboard the first time. If you are smart, you get on the Shiprocker’s Facebook page and begin to build friendships. This is also were you are going to get the most information about what was coming and when to expect it.
I admit my planning this year wasn’t nearly as intensive as the first. There was no “Holy Grail” of Shiprocked. I had learned enough to let it flow; just go with it. I had learned not to prepare for this year as there isn’t enough preparation in the world for what was to come.
Photo provided by Maxine Frisbee
Step one was getting to the port early. I don’t mean getting there early enough to make sure you get onboard. I mean getting there with enough time to rekindle friendships and find those that make the voyage even more meaningful. There wasn’t a quiet spot in the room. If my name wasn’t being yelled, I was yelling someone else’s. The first couple I saw is affectionately known to me as “The G’s” and anybody who’s anybody not only knows them, but loves them. While you sit with your “family,” you look for other familiar faces and give a nudge and a nod when you see a performer.
Photo Provided by Maxine Frisbee
Step Two is the actual boarding. Finally, now that I had waited for what seemed like lifetimes, I got to set foot on the ship and that’s when it finally hit it was real. There was about two hours, give or take, to wander the ship, get your bearings, and continue to rekindle. This was also the point where I made my final social media posts of “DO NOT TRY TO CONTACT ME!
Sail away was supposed to occur with Sevendust rocking us out of Miami. Alas, due to issues with equipment and customs, we left with the promise of a later performance. This pretty much shuffled Monday night, causing Art of Dying to be rescheduled. The rescheduling threw this girl’s system out of whack. Anybody who knows me knows I can get “hangry” if not fed, so we made our way to the buffet and sat down for a meal. It also gave me the chance to catch up, breathe, and look at the schedule. Ugh, what had they done? There were so many options. I would soon come to realize there weren’t enough hours in a day and I’d have to make choices. Kristi Burnison reminded me of just that, with her recap of Sevendust’s performance:
“As the sun set on the horizon and the warm southern winds aided us away from the Miami skyline, Sevendust graced the stage with the calm and collected demeanor that only the six year surviving Shiprocked band can pull off. Surprisingly, I have never seen a Sevendust show before this night. Excuse the metaphor, but I was completely blown away by the effervescence that Lajon commands on stage. I couldn’t see the front of the stage as I was standing on the staircase behind them, but I had a clear view of their energy and their enthusiasm. Shiprocked’s veteran band didn’t let up as they threw hit after hit and favorite after favorite into the enthusiastic crowd. Shiprocked was kicked off and Sevendust brought the party.”
Photo by David G Dami Photography
I also chose to skip the deck concerts of 12 Stones and Papa Roach in favor of the Art of Dying, Them Guns, and 12 Stones meet & greets. This wasn’t a travesty as I was able to meet my favorite rockstars. This was my way of celebrating music, but many of my fellow Shiprocked buddies caught the performances and have offered their perspective:
“Stumbled upon Alter Bridge on Monday and was very surprised how small the crowd was; much more intimate for those that were there. Fantastic!” – Ken Gardner
“Alter Bridge in the theater, on Monday night, was by far the best and most incredible show I have ever seen by AB. The AB deck show was incredible as well, especially when Myles knelt down in front of Betsy, grabbed her hat, put it on, grabbed her hand, and was singing Black Bird to her. Betz was in tears by the middle of that song.” -Joseph Longo
“After seeing both Avatar shows, my 10 year old daughter has now decided that Avatar has overtaken Alice Cooper as her favorite. Avatar was her second favorite before boarding the ship.” – Debbie Weber-Janofsky
“The Papa Roach show on the deck, day 1, was a highlight for me. The band did spectacular, but they always do. The most special part of this one was the people I got to enjoy it with. The Brits! Singing along and dancing together for the entire set, on a tier, all on our own. That magical time made it my favorite Papa Roach show to date.” -Emilie Rae
“Papa Roach has a way of making us all feel a part of the show. Yes, I lost my voice singing Maria Brinks’ part in ‘Gravity,’ not that they needed me. Of course, I cried a little during ‘Scars,’ but nothing compares to when Sonny from P.O.D joined the performance. That moment, that energy, that’s Shiprocked.” –Heaven Bassett
Photo by David G Dami Photography
Now, back to my story. The organizer of the event, who we affectionately refer to as Captain, makes sure we have opportunities to see each band and schedules two concerts each, while the meet & greets only occur once. Sure, there are plenty of times you will see them wandering the ship, but this is when you were most likely to get them all together for a photo.
After the meet & greets and another “Oh God, feed her a snack,” my husband and I donned our theme night costumes. Monday night was “Red is the New Black” and we went as red solo cups, complete with the ping pong ball.
We raced to the Atrium, well as fast as two solo cups can, to meet up with other after concert rockers for the DJ Lippy Rage after party. DJ Lippy kept the music pumping and we partied until the wee hours. But, fear not dear reader, if you did not want to attend the after-party and hit the sack, there was also live band karaoke, which I hear even some of the band members participated in, the SDR show hosted by Ralph Sutton, or Robbie Hart & the Riders of Brohan to enjoy.
I can honestly say that Monday, even with its glitches and hiccups, was the first day of a truly wonderful vacation. I partied hard enough that when my head finally hit the pillow even the snoring of the person next to me didn’t register. My final thoughts were “I wonder what Tuesday will bring.”