Sunday, March 17, 2013

Meister's "Views of the Cruise" - Volume #15 - Day #3 Also Known As Friday

Friday March 15th, 2013

Today started out with a big bang, one of the guaranteed high lights of the trip and I’m not even on the boat as of yet!! I’m not even too sure how I succeeded in completing this mission, but somehow I was able to worm my way into Keel’s rehearsal in nearby Deerfield Beach. A friend of mine had assisted the band in finding the studio to rehearse and they were invited along. Knowing that I’m a Keelaholic, especially after seeing them for the first time on last year’s voyage (I do wish that they’d come to Canada once in a while…lol), she asked me if I would like to go as well…….not a question that needs be asked, just tell me where to be and when! We departed the hotel around 10am, made a stop to pick up two more fans and then Ron, Dwain and Geno as well! Riding in the limo with Keel was friggin’ awesome alone. They were all very down to earth guys and were talking and laughing with us, telling stories. Ron talked about his upcoming solo album Metal Cowboy, that has been in the works for a while now and due out soon. He also mentioned the possibility of something for Keel’s upcoming 30th anniversary and that Marc had a lot of great music written already. That’s something that I dearly look forward to as I put the last record, 2010’s Streets of Rock And Roll, up there as Keel’s best album ever cover to cover. Ron also mentioned a TV show that he is working on and I’ll be interested to see it as well.

There were also some stories about Geno Arce, long time bassist and his leather jacket and another one about the loss of a cell phone. I won’t go into the details of those stories here as they are not mine to tell, but just let me say I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time. If you see any of the guys aboard, just ask them and I’m sure you’ll soon be busting a gut at the stories Ron has compiled for his “Geno Book” as he calls it. All in all the whole ride was super cool and the guys were great to hang out with.

We arrived at the studio for their rehearsal and while they carted their gear into the building we lingered outside, planning to obtain some breakfast/lunch…..really any food that we can get at this point as none of us had eaten and were still working through the effects of the Pool Party the night before. As we waited Marc Ferrari and Brian Jay arrived, being dropped off by Marc’s parents who I understand live nearby. Marc’s parents were also very nice and it was cool to meet them as well. The limo driver took us to a nice restaurant on the beach for lunch before we were due back at the studio to watch the last of the rehearsal.

We were shown into the studio and three of the ladies grabbed what seats were available on the only couch, with Brain Jay being very gentlemanly and obtaining a couple of stools for the two ladies who could not get real estate on the couch. The only two men (myself and another newly made friend) were quite happy to stand. While we waited for things to get under way and were just generally in awe of being invited in here, Ron told us that photos were cool but “please don’t shoot any video and post it on you-tube or some crap like that”..…no worries Ron! He also let us know that we would not get a full top to bottom show during this rehearsal, but more just the parts that they wanted to practice on a little bit more. Kyle Kreuger from Hair I Go Again was also in attendance filming for the documentary movie due out in December. 

The boys were goofing around a bit while waiting for Marc to take care of something and they played a segment from "Back To The City", which I don’t think we’ll hear at either of the shipboard shows unfortunately. Once they were ready to go they started off with "United Nations" and it sounded incredible! They played the full song through as they did with all of the others to follow, sometimes going back and working on certain parts afterwards and also working on the transitions between songs. "Looking For A Good Time" was next up and Ron took a moment to ask us each what our favorite Keel song was. He started with me and after a moment’s starstruck hesitation, I yelled "Speed Demon" into the microphone that he was holding out to me. One other person was able to
spit out "The Right To Rock" and several agreed on that one more from the starstruck than anything I think. I’m glad I was even able to speak, but wish I had said "Lay Down The Law"…lol. They then played "Come Hell Or High Water" followed by "Somebody’s Waiting" which sounds just mind blowing live as I discovered on board last year. Ron called out that "Speed Demon" would be next for me and during one of the choruses he came right up to me, bending down (he’s considerably taller than me after all), held the microphone to me as we sang "Speed Demon" together! So cool I nearly wet my pants!  Unfortunately it happened so fast that no-one could get a picture, except a blurry one as he was moving away, no matter I know what it is! From there we got "Push & Pull", "Streets of Rock and Roll", "I Said the Wrong Thing to the Right Girl" (during which Marc’s parents returned to the studio), "Because the Night" (with Marc’s mom singing right along), "Rock & Roll Outlaw", "Tears Of Fire" and "The Right to

During "The Right to Rock", Brian waved me up to join him at the microphone. I was still sort of in awe at the whole thing and wasn’t sure what he meant. It took him until the third wave before I got over the nerves and awe and went up to stand next to him and sing "The Right to Rock" chorus. The
band thanked us all for coming and chatted happily with us
afterwards while Ron produced a copy of the set list for each of us and had every member of the band autograph it as well! While talking with Brian he noticed my tattoo and was quite thrilled about it, calling the other guys over to check out my whole arm. The band was very impressed and asked me to send a photo or two when it’s complete; giving me “props” all round.

The ride home saw everyone a little tired and I sat next to Dwain as we engaged in some idle chatter. He mentioned that he was a big Saxon fan, would love to meet Nigel and that he had intentions of following them around the boat like a stalker. I let him know about my recent interview with Nigel, that we were planning to meet on the boat and that I would try to introduce Dwain to him. I also had a chance to ask Ron about Diemonds. Diemonds is an awesome local Toronto band that you may have heard me mention or concert review in other articles. A while back he played a Diemonds track on his Streets of Rock and Roll Radio Show, joking that he had to go several tracks in to find one that was radio friendly in the foul language area. He mentioned that they were an awesome band and that a fan of the show had turned him onto them….pretty cool for Diemonds! Check out their Bad Pack CD available on line.

Later on that evening after a nice hot shower and some relaxing at the hotel, I ventured out to a nearby CVS store to obtain some supplies before heading to the official MOR Pre Party featuring Enuff z’ Nuff and JSRG. Apparently CVS is the hotspot as while I joined the reasonably long line I noticed my new “friend” Ron Keel several patrons ahead of me and I debated if it would be overkill to call out a hello to him. Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys walked in and shook Ron’s hand for a brief greeting! Maybe I should hang out here at CVS for a while with my camera and some swag to be autographed!

I arrived at the Pre-Party shortly after 8pm and saw several cruise friends as I walked in and found a spot directly in front of the stage and speakers. Enuff z’ Nuff had already been on stage for a few minutes and I only lasted for three songs. I just can’t catch the buzz of their music, it was ridiculously stinking hot (figures, after the last two night’s chill I brought a sweater tonight) and above all extremely ear bleedingly loud in front of that speaker. The Lorraine Lewis produced Ex Wives of Rock TV show was here and shooting the season finale with all the ladies, so that caused a bit of a stir as I adjourned to the outdoors for some air and ventured in again in time for JSRG to hit the stage.

Janet, Share, Roxy and Gina stormed out and blasted into "Rev It Up" followed by "How Much Love". This time I had found a spot a little further back with some Canadian friends and the sound was good and crisp. The ladies were a tight playing unit for sure with Roxy tossing out drumsticks and looking very happy to be up there, as did they all. Before starting into "Bad Reputation" Janet announced that everyone except Gina would be celebrating a birthday aboard ship during this voyage. "Cryin’" and "I Want You to Rock Me" came next and Gina was really getting into it showing off her staggering guitar skills. A little crowd incitement including portions of Joan Jett’s "I Love Rock & Roll" and Def Leppard’s "Pour Some Sugar On Me" preceded "Paradise". Share took the vocals next for an awesome cover of Neil Young’s "Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World". I know that there are several members of other bands taking the cruise for leisure such as Doro/Britny Fox drummer Johnny Dee and I’m sure that was the singer for Steven Adler’s band that just walked by me! The ladies continued to assault us with "Love Is a Killer", "Never Say Never" and "Wrecking Ball" and I couldn’t help but think that whoever had said to me a few days ago that “chicks just don’t rock as hard as guys” has obviously never seen JSRG perform! The ladies tossed out several beach balls into the crowd asking us “who wants to play” as they finished up with Sammy Hagar’s "Mas Tequilla", rather fitting for this booze cruise that we are about to embark on. They returned for an encore performance including "Edge of a Broken Heart" and I was very impressed with the whole show. The keyboards were decidedly absent or toned down and the sound was rather heavier than I had expected. These ladies can really rock and are obviously talented musicians, I couldn’t help thinking that I just got my ass kicked by a bunch of girls and I’m hungry for more!

The Meister

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