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Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Dupuis Photography’

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Three Nights of The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (01.15-17.11)

This was an event!  In the same spirit as Phanatics travel to Coventry for three nights of Phish, died hard Meters fans traveled far and wide to witness The Funky Meters magic occur over a span of three nights at the beloved Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.

For having never been to New York, I have never felt more at home in a brand new place. I can’t help but compare the room to the Rock N Bowl in New Orleans, a similar venue with a bowling alley and large stage for music, but this room has a great layout. A bar in the back, with a large dance floor area, the stage straight ahead. And to the side, a few steps up, rows of bowling lanes, with a walkway in front, providing a side stage vantage that lets one really feel like part of the performance. Everywhere you stand, there is a great vantage point of the stage, the lighting is good and the sound quality anywhere in the room was great too. ~ NOLA resident, Ananda Atmore

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Back in 1967, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville collected a funky gang of New Orleans musicians who would come to be known as The Meters, .  George Porter Jr. played bass, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville played keys, Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste on drums and Leo Nocentelli on guitar! In 1977, they called it quits, leaving behind a musical legacy cementing them as Funk pioneers.

Russel Batiste (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Once the group disbanded, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville joined with his brothers performing as The Neville Brothers while George Porter Jr. founded PBS, or Porter, Batiste and Stolz.  Since The Neville Brothers were not touring this season, Art Neville was openly available to hit the road with The Funky Meters, who are the members of PBS with the addition of Art “Poppa Funk” Neville.

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Brian Stolz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Brian Stoltz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

It had been three years since The Funky Meters last played together. When Brian Stoltz isn’t wowing the audience with his shredding guitar style with The Funky Meters, Ian Neville holds the guitar spot. Essentially, in the middle of all these Meters heads were PBS fans and EVERYONE was a George Porter Jr. fan! But, honestly, who doesn’t love George Porter Jr.?  Go check my facebook info under “religion”, you’ll find George Porter Jr.‘s name stands alone!

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.15.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful New Orleans photographer Jeffrey Dupuis (Jeffrey Dupuis Photography) as a house guest for the three night run.  We arrived in Brooklyn just in time to grab something to eat some scrumptious $3.50 falafel sandwiches at Oasis, one of my favorite spots to hit before heading to The Brooklyn Bowl.

The turn out for a Tuesday night was exactly what we thought it would be. The venue was no where near sold out but the place was full of people who knew what was going to take place on stage that night. And what a great warm-up performance it was.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As they took the stage, each member had a blazing smile on their face and the audience was wild with applause. George Porter Jr. notices a couple in the audience wearing a “George Matters” tie-dyed tee shirt, the same shirt they had personally created and gifted to him many moons ago.  “I recognize that shirt,” he states as he starts the first jam, which was so unbelievably funky.

The following four songs were from The Meters catalog.  “The World” brought the funk full throttle as Brian Stoltz reminded me how much I had missed seeing him perform.  He is truly superb with his rock-driven funk guitar styling. “Fire on The Bayou” and “Change/Reform”  had the entire audience singing as they were the most recognizable Meters songs performed that night.  Porter growled deeply into the microphone as they pounded out a wonderful “Here Comes the Jungle Man” that book-ended a “They Don’t Know” tease.

The noticeable covers of the night were Lee Dorsey‘s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, Professor Longhair‘s “Going to Mardi Gras” and Tom Waits‘s “Way Down in the Hole”. Porter and Russell Batiste, Jr. both pulled out solos that earned their own spot in the set list! Art showed his age but with a smile on his face, he played through with energy and had a few golden moments himself.

Best reason to do three nights: Rare Songs ~ NOLA Photographer Jeffrey Dupuis

In the end, we were given almost two hours of pure Funky Meters gold and we all walked out of The Brooklyn Bowl terribly excited and putting together our wish list for tomorrow night’s set list!

Set List – Night I
A Jam*
The World Is A Little Under The Weather >
Chicken Strut >
…Fire On The Bayou >
Cardova >
Get Out Of My Life Woman >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
They Don’t Know (tease) >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
Change/Reform >
Hang ‘Em High >
Africa >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Cabbage Alley >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Porter’s bass solo >
Way Down in The Hole >
Russel Drum Clinic>
Just Kissed My Baby
Porter’s bass solo >
Just Kissed My Baby >
It Ain’t No Use

* Art sings Billy Jean (Michael Jackson)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.16.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Nigel Hall– Vocals/Keys
Eric Krasno – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The second night had more of a turn out.  People had heard the buzz about the previous night and the venue was now 60-70% full.  My girlfriend, Ananda, was flying in from NOLA directly to the show.  As she flew towards us to the airport, my NYC crew and I hightailed it from Rockwood Music Hall after watching Nigel Hall Band perform on their quaint stage.  We all had our rage faces on as there would also be a third show we would be hitting after The Funky Meters.  As well, we had the knowledge of knowing that the Nigel Hall Band would be joining The Funky Meters on stage later that night. The excitement was never ending.

I had flown in straight from New Orleans, made my way through the crowd of smiling faces. Instant reunion with Jam Cruisers, NOLA to NY music lovers and friends old and new. It was my turn to come to their town. Love was everywhere, and the hugs and smiles were abundant, on stage and off. ~ NOLA Resident, Ananda Atmore

Porter was wearing yet another form of tie-dye shirt and Batiste was in another sports jersey, this time white.  The boys don’t stray too much from their signature styles.  Just like their first night, they started off with songs from The Meters catalog with favorites like “Here Come The Meter Man” and “Look-Ka Py Py.”

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The covers of the evening were Roger Miller‘s “Chug-A-Lug,” Professor Longhair‘s “Tipitinas” and “Big Chief.”  The encore gave us “Higher” and “Sing A Simple Song,” both  Sly and The Family Stone covers while “Them Changes” was a Buddy Miles tune made popular by Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsies. “Peace Pipe” has me a bit confused. A friend suggested it might be a Mardi Gras Indian song.

“Love Slip Up on Ya” is a song specific to The Funky Meters catalog and Brian Stoltz once again blasted us with his masterful guitar. “Ride Me Dunky,” also a Funky Meters tune, saw Porter giving us his deep bass lines.

Stepping off stage for only a few moments, the fellas came on stage to perform “Be My Lady.”  However, as amazing as they were alone, The Funky Meters show blasted out of  control when the Nigel Hall Band took the stage for the remainder of the three-part encore.  Nigel grabbed the microphone, Adam Deitch sat in on drums and Eric Krasno played a second guitar for Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” and “Higher.”

I heard the first few notes of a familiar song, and thought “could it be?”. Are they really going to play it? YES! It was “Be my Lady”! This is an old Meters song that I haven’t heard performed in several years now, and a long time favorite of mine. This was my golden musical moment, and hearing them perform this song made the whole trip worth it in one moment. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The energy on stage was palpable. Watching Eric Krasno play across from Brian Stoltz was magnificent.  Two of my favorite guitarists having so much fun with each other on stage. Russell Batiste, Jr. banging on a cowbell, dancing all over the stage as he helped knock the energy up to another level. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville needed key changes shouted out a few times and then he left Nigel Hall to take over as he walked away for a breather and took the time to dance around to the music.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Royal Family remained on the stage with the The Funky Meters to close out the show! And what a show this was.  The second night had been pure fire!! It was off to the third show of the night: DJ Nutritious‘s Bembe rage with Nigel Hall and Stephen Chopek.

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.16.11)

Set list – Night II
Here Comes The Meter Man >
Look-Ka Py Py >
Too Funky >
Bass intro Too >
Chug A Lug
Love Slip Up On Ya
Keep on Marching (Funky Soldier)
That Ain’t The Way to Carry On
Funkify Your Life
My Baby
Tipitina’
Hoo Chie Coo
Ride Me Dunky/Soul Island
Message From The Meters
People Say
Bass Intro too >
Big Chief>
Peace Pipe

Encore
Be My Lady
Sing A Simple Song*
Higher*
Them Changes*
Cissy Strut – tease*

*w/guest Nigel Hall, Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Funky Meters (02.17.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Eric Krasno – Guitar
?uestlove – Drums
Nikie Glaspie – Drums

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Here we were, the third night of The Funky Meters.  The house was packed and this time, I was going to rage front row, right under George Porter, Jr.. I had taken myself from the front of the stage the previous nights to write on the elevated side of The Brooklyn Bowl because I knew I would dance away from my responsibility of writing if I was up front. Again, he is my religion after all.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As I walked around the venue throughout the show, I ran into musicians like Nikie Glaspie who was utilizing a bowling with her friends.  Henry Butler was standing amongst the crowd with a huge smile on his face.  Joe Russo and Eric Krasno were watching from backstage while the owner himself, Pete Shapiro, positioned himself atop a speaker right on the side stage sucking the entire thing in with a beaming persona.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

It started off the same as the nights previous.  Batiste was wearing another green jersey, Porter was in yet another tie-die, Stoltz was in a button up with a few hipped out accessories. I forgot to mention his Kenny Rogers look he’s raging this tour.  He pulls it off nicely! The tapers were out in full force.  Sadly, even though I saw tapers each night, the third night was the only recording that could be found. Enjoy!

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.17.11)

The funky foursome brought the heat immediately after a funky, funky warm-up jam got the night started right.  Porter had his feet firmly planted into the ground as he put the bass in our face front row.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The night was full of amazing, jamming covers.  We got “Rainy Day Women” by Bob Dylan, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “Love the One Your With” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

There was a KILLER Rock-a-billy vibe during “Big Boss Man”, a Luther Dixon song made famous by Jimmy Reed.  They ran through “Simple Song” again, the Sly cover from the previous night.  The crowd was on fire, singing along to everything, filling in the lyrics when Art couldn’t remember them as they barely got through The Allman Brothers‘ “Midnight Rider” where Stoltz saved the day with a ripping guitar solo.

We had a few repeats with “Funkify Your Life”, “Hoochie Coo”, “Fiyo On The Bayo”, “Junko Partner” and “Cabbage Alley” among others. All audience favorites that we didn’t mind hearing over and over again.  “Aiko Aiko,” a James Crawford song made famous by the one and only Dr. John had the place erupting with dancing feet.


(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The entire night was so high energy and the event was capping off such a full week of funky New Orleans Love, it was just outstanding. Towards the end of the night, Eric Krasno, Nikie Glaspie and ?uestlove joined the stage for a percussion driven rage. Batiste, Glaspie and ?uestlove took turns beating the drums, the cowbell and just about anything else they could find to hit within their reach.  Krasno was back on guitar facing off across Stoltz.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The encore saw Krasno leave the stage and then jump back on as they weren’t done with him yet. The wicked funky “Keep on Stretching Your Rubber Band” and “Audubon Zoo”, originally titled “All Asked For You” and changed by their manager, closed the three night run.

The 3rd night didn’t disappoint either. The set list speaks for itself really. They played again Sing a Simple Song, which had me on the front row jumping and smiling even more enthusiastically than before. And the encore of Keep on Stretching your rubber band. Pure Funky Meters magic. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

The Funk Meter was off the charts this last night.  Even though watching The Funky Meters is similar to watching Furthur, in the respect that they aren’t spring chickens anymore, they brought the FIYO to the Brooklyn Bowl the past three nights.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

I watched as all the men got up, gathered in the center of the stage and bowed before us.  Porter walked to the front of the stage and I got a smile and handshake from him as he continued down the line of people in the front row shaking hands and thanking the audience for coming. I might never wash this hand.

Alison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

Allison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

The final part of this musical adventure placed me upstairs in the backstage area, shaking hands, hugging and taking pictures with George Porter Jr.  It was a trio of nights that I will NEVER forget. I hope you enjoy(ed) the shows!!

Setlist: Night III
Jam >
Funky Miracle >
Funkify Your Life >
Rainy Day Women >
9 to 5
Hey Pocky Way >Cissy Strutt >
Love the one you’re with >
Hoochie Coo
He Bite Me (the Dragon) >
Voodoo Child* >
Fiyo on the Bayou >
Big Boss Man >
Aiko Aiko ^ >
Junko Partner >Midnight Rider >
Simple Song #  >
Cabbage Alley >
Baby What you want me to do >
Hey Pocky Way

Encore
(Keep on Stretching) your Rubber Band
Audubon Zoo (All asked for you)
* w/ Billy Jean (Michael Jackson) tease
^ w/ She’ll be coming round the mountain
# w/ Krasno, ?uestlove, Nikki Galaspie
(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Me and my Religion :) GPJR!!  (Photo by Ananda)

Me and my religion 🙂 GPJR!! (Photo by Ananda)

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Thank you Cloud 9 Adeventures and MSC Crusies!!

Thank you Cloud 9 Adventures and MSC Cruises!!

There are music festivals and then there is Jam Cruise!!  A musical festival on a cruise ship that travels international seas for 5 to 6 days.  I said it last year and I will say it again now.  IT IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ADVENTURE anyone can take.

Last year, I was at a complete loss for words.  It was my Virgin Cruise and I was awestruck by the magnitude of what I had just experienced.  Considering this was my second year, I thought the hype would be just a bit dimmer, I figured I would be a little less anxious and calm.  Nope!

Even now, while I could burst at the seams ATTEMPTING to explain these EPIC musical journeys, I find it so hard figuring out where to start. It’s all so unbelievable.  I could tackle these articles by day, or perhaps by subject regarding the atmosphere, the music or the people and so much more. I could write a five page article just on the relationship cultivations that took place this year.  There is just so much!!! And the fact that I only slept about 10-12 hours over the span of 5 days gives me an arsenal of memories to pull from.

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Last year Tinyrager.com didn’t exist as it’s own site.  I wrote for other sites but mainly for my own personal cataloging of memories and would just save the documents on my computer.  So, after last year’s Jam Cruise, I began writing out my adventure and I never made it past the Sail Away Party.

My life took off before I could finish my personal Jam Cruise manifesto.  But I did make an attempt and the end result was all the glorious details about the embarkation line to the ship, the embarkation process, what happened when I explored the boat stumbling across the various venues and checking into my room with the gift bags and what not.  I wrote about everything I could remember up until the Sail Away Party….and then I stopped.

This year, I am going to continue where I left off at the Sail Away Party with a few backtracking steps.  There is no need for me to re-write the exact same information about the boat for this article. If you would like to know about all the things listed above then CLICK HERE!  The article is totally relevant to this one and worth the read and would help cement your mind if you are still debating on getting on the boat.  Jam Cruise staff actually found it last year and blasted it over their page a few times due to the comprehensive nature of the article.  So, enjoy that! It’s got great pictures too!

Now, let’s get this party started!!!

Hello Pretty Ship!! (Photo by Murray)

Hello Pretty Ship (Photo by Murray)

~ Boarding & Pre-Sail Away ~

Within MINUTES, sooooo much can happen to you on Jam Cruise.  This year, I boarded the boat in what felt like 15 minutes but was really a little over/under an hour.  As we get our room keys and begin the walk into the ship, I gaze to my right and Bob Weir is standing next to me. He pulled himself from the line and leans against the wall looking dazed, confused and very skinny. Had he been standing by us the whole time and we been too excited to notice?  He didn’t have an entourage and he looked so frail I guess it’s possible.  As my friends and I realized the magnitude of this moment, we all said “Hello Bob!” and he flashed us a forced smile.  I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad but I knew how we felt! FREAKING STOKED!!!

A few more feet through the line and we were shuffled into the section where you get your boarding pictures taken. You could purchase the pictures for $30 if you wanted, but whoa that is a lot.  However, in the group behind us, Steve Kimock jumped into the picture.  Now THAT is a $30 moment worth purchasing!!  And there you had another group of people whose minds were just blown and we hadn’t even made it on the boat yet.  Sadly, my hunt for these pictures has come to a dead end. They are gone once you leave the ship.

Before all hell broke loose :) (Photo By Murray)
The NYC Krewe + some before all hell broke loose 🙂 (Photo By Murray)

I was in line with two of my best friends from NYC and we were in different rooms. Once we boarded the boat we separated so I could take my luggage to my room and unpack as fast as possible as not to miss a moment.  I was wearing my Big Sam’s Funky Nation tee-shirt, READY for the Sail Away Party. READY to see my main man Big Sam.  As I step into the mirrored elevator with my luggage, I was covered by this giant shadow of a man who had followed behind me.  And as I turn around, I am embraced by none other than Big Sam. Having reached out to me after he saw one of my reviews of his show, he flashed a smile that melted me as I got a huge hug! What a super duper dude! I will have TONS to say about him later in these articles.

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

Last year I was in the Singles Program.  The layout of my room this year was exactly like last year except that I was now with two friends I had met on my virgin cruise: Aaron and Victoria, a super cute Jam Cruise couple who completely enhanced my journey. Thank you both for being such wonderful roommates.    I entered an empty room and unpacked as fast as I could. When I walked out of my room, I just didn’t know which way to turn. There were SO many people I wanted to see who I hadn’t seen since last year’s journey and whose relationship was cultivated through Facebook over the year as we waited patiently to all be together again.  There was so much I wanted to do all in one moment but I knew where I needed to be.    This year, I had a krewe from NYC on the boat and one of them was a virgin, my dear sweet friend Jessica.  I wanted to see their room and be with her.  I just wanted to watch her take it all in because that must have been what I was like last year with my jaw on the ground.

Jam Cruise is over but we know that time will last forever. From the minute I walked into 10242 there was nothing but LOVE. Jessica who I’vereally never met treated me (and everyone) like I was a saint or angel or something. We constructed the door decor (bonding) and the RAGE was on ! Off to Eric’s to gather the troops and start the search for the bottom of the tequilla bottle. A short time later we were off to the pool deck to find the angel Karen has been talking about: Hillary! ~ Murray Ballz

~ Door Décor Competition ~

Sharon & Said's Decor!!  (Photo by Richmand Images)

Sharon & Said's Decor!! (Photo by Richmand Images)

As I entered their room, the faces looking at me were already more shiny and sparkly then when we had left in line.  The Jam Cruise blood was flowing through their veins. Their room was bigger with a balcony.  It’s always good for SOMEONE in your rage krewe to have a balcony! They had taken out all the makings for their door décor and were attempting to assemble it.  Their concept was beautiful.  Using pictures of multiple artists and groups that inspired them, along with artists that couldn’t make it on the boat as well as pictures of allllllll our friends and families who couldn’t make it on the boat, we were to create a collage covering the door and then we placed a mirror in the middle.  On the mirror’s top it read: “We are all on board together.”  On the mirror’s bottom: “And so are you!” So, that when you look into the mirror, everyone is together, connected somehow on board together.  I loved it!

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

(Photo by Murray)

(Photo by Murray)

We spent a few hours cutting pictures, tapping things.  The rest of our NY posse rolling through the room to say Hi and get the best hugs in the world.  This also began the utilization of the deck for party breaks which, as time passed, began making it hard for us to focus and use tape correctly HAHAHA!!  The mirror began messing with my head; Rob couldn’t roll a piece of tape to save his life! It was awesome! Oh, you should have seen it.

During this time, the magic of the boat presented itself to us with the introduction of Rob and Jess’s neighbors.  When we ran out of tape, they came right in for the rescue. When we needed writing done for the mirror, they were right there with a solution and Maker’s Mark on the rocks. No matter what you want, you get what you NEED on Jam Cruise! From masking tape to enlightenment.

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

The final product was perfect. A door COVERED with people and musicians we love that couldn’t be on the boat with us, yet they were, even if it was only in this small way.  Throughout the week, any number of our NYC posse could be found sitting on the floor starting at our door. Staring at our loved ones, staring at Jerry and Janis.  Personally, I was found passed out with my hand on the picture of myself and my boyfriend on the first night and was guided back to bed for what would be the only night I would sleep in my cabin!!!

And in terms of what door enhanced my JC experience the most??   Door number #9211.  This door was covered in 3D pictures from last year’s Jam Cruise.  There were numerous 3D glasses attached to the wall by string so you could see the pictures.  It just got cooler every time I saw it. And at one point, I didn’t even NEED the glasses to see it in 3D.  So, anyway, TINYRAGER award to Room #9211 for making us go OUT of our way at least 2 times a day to check out your door!

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Once we finished the door we  realized that we missed the forum party on the pool deck.  They had gathered to give Sharon R. a proper Happy Birthday.  I am so sorry I missed this Sharon!  Love you! And now…it was time for the Sail Away Party!!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

~ Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Sail Away Party ~ Pool Deck ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The Sail Away Party is phenomenal and truly defines the rest of the voyage.  Julie McCoy, the ship’s activities coordinator/manager/queen bee, comes on to the stage.  Free champagne is distributed amongst the cruisers lining the pool deck and The Captain and Julie McCoy toast us off on our journey.  Then the horns blow and you now know…the party has OFFICIALLY begun. As well, Sweet Water Brewery gives out free beer at during this set, wonderful news for the alcohol drinkers, if you like their flavors!

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

I walked to the front row with my friends, toasted, and then stepped away for a moment alone. I was alone on the top level of the Pool deck last year for the beginning of Trombone Shorty’s Sail Away Party and I wanted to be in the similar location and just be alone, connecting with the ship, for a few moments.  If you read my post from last year, you know the turmoil I was in before I boarded this magical vessel that changed my world.  So, I walked up to my sacred spot, snapped a picture of the amazing sight I was staring at and took one giant breath. Upon exhaling that breath came SO MANY tears, I almost collapsed.  The flood gates opened upon the realization that I was back. I was back in this music world; this musical WONDERLAND that completely CHANGED MY LIFE! And this year was going to be SO different than last year.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Raging Audience Shot from Stage ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

After letting the tears flow for 2 songs, I gathered myself, with the help of a few people around me, and went back down to the front row, puffy faced and all smiles.  For those of you who don’t know much about the boat or who are not large into the music scene, the front row is where it’s at.  I was greeted into the front row where all the best people reside in most musical scenes, let alone Jam Cruise. But I suppose I need to talk about music here at some point right?  Wasn’t this a music festival on a ship?

THE FUNKY NATION:

Big Sam– Trombone
Danny Abel – Guitar
Eric Vogel – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

I have seen Big Sam numerous times throughout the year. I was worried that his Sail Away party would be the same formulaic shows that I had seen him perform over the year.  But that wasn’t the case.  Where there was a similar flow to it all, Big Sam covered some great songs, added some new dance moves…they just brought us a new show and the audience ate it right up.

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

During the fourth song, the ship’s debarking horn blew, the pool deck erupted with cheers and we started moving.   Immediately, the heavy hitters started joining the party.  If nothing else, Jam Cruise is about the various musical combination of artists you can find  performing on the boat. You NEVER know who is going to sit in with whom.  In this case, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) joined Big Sam for “Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight” and Fred Wesley (JB Horns) followed for “See Me Dance”.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Top of Pool Deck Perspective ~

Now, The Funky Nation is know for their ability to rage cover songs as well as create new edgy music. Throughout the set he blew some heat into Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, The Black Crowes/Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”  and their final song of the set was a mash up of Cee Lo Green‘s “Fuck You” and Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Religion”.  This moment was special for me because when the song first came out, Josh and I literally blasted that Cee Lo Green song for a month straight every morning while getting ready for work.  The song is hilarious and the video is even more so.  In this moment, I looked around the pool deck and saw people kinda staring blankly.  Except for a few people, they didn’t recognize the song.  The entire set lived up to it’s expectations.  It was high energy, full of flare and raging rock funk.

Set List:

01. Intro
02. ?? (jam/instrumental)
03. Feelin’
04. King of the Party
05. ?? (instrumental)
06. Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight
07. See Me Dance
08. Big Ole Booty
09. Hard to Handle
10. Do Watcha Wanna > Everybody Needs Someone to Love > You Are My Sunshine tease > ??
11. Dance Floor
12. Up In Here >
13. jam >
14. ?? >
15. Crazy > Get Low >
16. band intros/banter >
17. Fuck You > Bad Romance tease

Download Big Sam’s Funky Nation Set

At this point we had half an hour until any music started. Being that this was the first night, I can’t believe they had lulls but this year’s scheduling seemed to be staggered differently so whatever. Gave us time to debate!  The options were:

1) Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children on the Pool Deck (9:30pm-11:30pm)

2) Greensky Bluegrass in the Zebra Bar (9:15pm-10:45pm)

3) Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Teatro Carlos Felice (9pm-11pm)

Already, my heart was racing with the fact that I knew I would be missing things I didn’t want to miss.  This year, I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time the first few days cultivating relationships and so I made a point to schedule the music I loved but also plan to hang out where a large percentage of my Jamily might be.

Most of the performers have two sets over the course of the week so I was ok with missing things here and there and catching them later.  In general, the inner turmoil for me over what music to see is the most stress I feel on that ship.

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

I took off for Robert Randolph and the Family Band, riding on a cloud.  When I got there, the theater greeted me with all its purple and gold majesty.  This is my favorite venue on the ship. Again, you can learn about the ship from last year’s posts.  But I will tell ya that the purple and gold colors are beautiful and remind me of my college, there are two levels to rage on, the elevated steps in front of the stage are perfect for our drinks, extra costume accessories like boas, hats and what not.  The stairs are also rounded and this allows for a much larger front row throwdown.

I got to the theater and no one was really even in there and the roadies were still setting up.  Speaking of cultivating relationships, I met a lovely twin set named Cindy and Mindy, who inevitably raged the front row with the best of us the whole cruise. Rage on ragers. Big hugs to you both!

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

~ Robert Randolph and the  Family Band ~ Theatro Carlo Felice ~

Robert Randolph – Pedal Steel, Guitar and Vocals

The Family Band:

Danyel Morgan – Bass and Vocals
Marcus Randolph – Drummer
Adam Smirnoff – Rhythm Guitar
Lenesha Randolph -Vocals
Brett Haas – Keyboards and Guitar

Special Geusts:

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Big Sam – Trombone
Ivan Neville – Keys
Taylor Hicks -Vocals & Harmonica

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As I sat there, making new friends, old ones started arriving.  Said and Sharon’s smiling face made their way to our side of the theater. (Thanks to Said for the RR&TFB set-list below).  Then one by one the Jamily krewe gathered until we were 25+ deep on the left side of the stage. Oh, how I just want to talk about all these lovely people, not the music. It’s insane.  But that is not the purpose of this so…

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Having seen Robert Randolph and the Family Band a few times this year and being disappointed in the performances, I was PRAYING that he would kick it back to his roots and focus on older songs, perhaps melt our faces without playing Lady Gaga tunes to fill time.  Perhaps give us some great covers; perhaps show us some great collaborations.  And that is exactly what they did.

Blasting off his set with “Ted’s Jam,” he shot me right back to ten years ago when I first found Robert and Danyel at Star Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The newest addition to the clan, Lenesha Randolph, was on stage, backing up her brother.  I am still weary on her talent.  I won’t say anymore regarding that topic.

“The March” is one of my all time favorites Robert debuted years ago.  I was right up front with my musical posse and when Robert got off his seat and started dancing for us, we all knew the dance and joined along.  He asked us to teach those around us but he was doing a fine job wiggling his body for us….mmmmmm. And Danyel‘s bass thumped away. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Danyel and his voice.   Always have been!

A re-worked “Thriller” cover saw Eric Krasno and Big Sam join the stage and over the remainder of the set Ivan Neville and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, yup Taylor Hicks, also joined the stage.


“Tears of Joy” brought the blues to an otherwise raging set and my faith in Robert Randolph and his family, however swaying it may have been hours earlier, was restored and his #1 fan was back on top, in the front row, loosing her mind!

Set List:

01. Ted’s Jam
02. ?
03. ?
04. The March
05. ?
06. If I Had My Way
07. Deliver Me
08. I Miss My Girlfriend (Her Name is Molly)
09. Thriller Jam
10. I Need More Love
11. Voodoo Chile
12. Tears of Joy
13. Traveling Shoes

Download Robert Randolph and the Family Band Theater Set

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As soon as set ended, I hightailed it to the Pool Deck to check out the remainder of Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children.  I ended up on the upper deck looking down at the sea of Dead heads who were staring doe-eyed at Bobby and Co. The wind was blowing warmly over my body as I realized we were so far from land now I couldn’t see lights.

I gave Bobby as much time as I could before wanting to leave.  Personally, I thought it sounded pretty slow and that is not a bad thing, I just needed something more to move to.  I wish I could recall the song that was playing.  Even though it was tough for me to look at Bobby, as all I could imagine was the scene from Indiana Jones where the guy takes the sip from the wrong chalice and his skin melts off,  it appeared that he was giving the people what they wanted.  Smiles abounded on the faces below me and I just knew that Jerry was smiling down upon the ship.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

So, after Robert Randolph‘s set, we were faced with more difficult choices.

1) Pimps of Joytime in the Zebra Bar (11:00pm-1:00am)

2) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck (12:30am-3:00am)

  • Sadly, I can not find a link for this set. If anyone finds one, please pass it along to me.

3) Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene in the Teatro Carlos Felice (11:45pm-1:15am)

Having just seen Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe numerous time over the past year and just a few days earlier as the Phish After Party on New Years Eve, I decided to skip KDTU on the Pool Deck and focus on the Anders Osborne set.

Performing on same stage as Robert Randolph, the Anders set was going to take a little time to prepare as they transferred over the equipment.  I used this time to gather my thoughts, fill up my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. I don’t want to go into the food just yet…too stressful.

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

~ Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene ~ Teatro Carlo Felice ~

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

I had missed Anders Osbourne the few times he made his way through NYC the past year and having seen him in the past, I KNEW he would rip up whatever stage he was on with his rouge, wild, rockin’ New Orleans vibe.  That is exactly what I was looking for at this time in the evening.

His back up band was a force to be reckoned with.  Joining  the stage this set was:

Anders Osbourne – Guitar and Vocals
Robert Walter – B3 Organ
Carl Dufrene – Bass
Stanton Moore -Drums

Special Guests:

Scott Metzger – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Skerik – Saxaphone

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

This set was complete fire!!!  I mean absolutely out of control, rock-laced guitar shredding jams, backed by outrageous solos by Skerik and added guitar layers by way of Scott Metzger and Will Bernard.  At the time, it was my favorite set of the night and in hindsight, it is in my top five sets of the week.  The inclusion of Skerik‘s hyper-driven saxophone layered upon Anders songs was, well……take a look at this….seriously.

Set List:

1. Tuning
2. Love Is Taking Its Toll
3. Echoes Of My Sins
4. Darkness At The Bottom
5. Burning On The Inside
6. Got Your Heart
7. Me Donkey Want Water

Download Anders Osborne Theater Set

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

And here we were back having to make decisions!!

1) Papadosio in the Zebra Bar (1:45am-3:15am)

Set List:
1. Utopiate
2. Unparalyzer
3. Magreenery
4. Bionic Man
5. All I Knew
6. Method Of Control
7. Cue
8. Polygons
9. Eyes Have Eyes

2) Stockholm Syndrome in the Teatro Carlos Felice (2:00am-4:00am)

3) Nutritious in the Disco (2:00am-6:00am)

4) AND THE LAST CHOICE!!!!  The Jam Room: Hosted by Tony Hall (12:00am – 6:00am)

Now we come to the greatest and grandest part of the Jam Cruise experience. THE JAM ROOM!! Each night, a different musician (generally a guitar player, keys player or bass player) hosts The Jam Room.  The Jam Room is a entertainment space located in the rear of the ship where these musicians play host to who ever wants to join them on stage.  Sometimes, there are pre-arranged gatherings or sometimes a musician just jumps up for a song and adds to the insanity.  Always, there are free jams, group rages and it’s all off the cuff improvisational jamming.

~ The Jam Room with Host Tony Hall ~

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight’s Jam Room host was Tony Hall, New Orlean’s Dumpstaphunk bass player. Tony is one of the most charismatic musicians around.  He is always invested in engaging with his audiences, making faces, pulling girls on stage, dancing with the audience.  He is one of my favorites in that aspect.

Sadly there is not a lot of footage from the Jam Room to show you.  Many Cruisers had already gone to bed to save their strength while others were raging so hard they couldn’t manipulate a camera or video device to save their life.  But I can tell you that it was a RIPPING good Jam Room.

It was an epic moment lost on the winds of the ocean and remembered only by those that were present… ~ Ananda Atmore

Tony Hall was backed by many of his bands mates from Dumpstaphunk to include:

Ivan Neville – Keys
Nick Daniels III – Bass
Raymond Weber – Drums
Ian Neville – Guitar

Other Guests:

Big Sam – Trombone
Nigel Hall (Lettuce/SCFJ)- Keys
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule/Stockholm Syndrome) – Keys
Eric Krasno (Lettuce) – Guitar
Adam Deitch (Lettuce) – Drums
Ron Johnson (SCFJ) – Bass
Zach Deputy – Guitar
Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) – Pedal Steel Guitar

There was so much happening on stage there is no way to recall it all.  One of the last songs played in the jam room that night was Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe”. The Lee BoysRoosevelt Collier jumped up on stage and confused the hell out of us as he was only a passenger on the ship thus year!  SO FUN when things like that happen.  You know it’s a good time when other musicians pay to get on board.

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight would be the only night that I came back to my room to sleep.  The theme one must know and get to embrace on Jam Cruise is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” It appeared that everyone had taken that creed to heart as I wondered around the pool deck wondering where everyone was.  Where were the late night jam sessions and/or drum circles on the pool decks?  Where was Brock Butler playing his acoustic guitar to the people watching the sunrise.I am sure that they were somewhere, I just never stumbled upon them. It was destiny, however, because after raging the Unofficial Pre-Jam Cruise party at the Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort the night prior, I was exhausted.  I decided to watch the sunrise with my NYC crew and hear how our virgin cruiser Jessica B. had enjoyed her first night.

As I looked over the balcony, lost in the wake of the ship, my friends and I smiled at each other.  We watched the wake of the ship hit the tip of the horizon and we knew there was no turning back. We were together on this epic musical journey and there were so many adventures to be had.  I took myself to bed around 7am but not before touching the faces of all our family and friends that lined the door decor, wishing they were with us.  Sleep was needed as we had a full day at sea tomorrow.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us when we final rose again.

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