Monsters of Rock Cruise – Day 3 at Sea – 3/4/2024

I’m not sure how, but I actually went for a 5K run with a small but fun group in Cozumel again this year.  But I joined Will and Rich, who would lead the charge and I met Sue from Eastern, PA, who knew I was from Pittsburgh the minute I opened my mouth.  Yep, I’m a yinzer!

So by the time I cleaned up and hit the pool stage for the Heaven’s Edge soundcheck, I was already taking down some electrolytes.  And, working on that deck without the breeze from the ship’s motion, we all needed serious hydration.  Props to Heaven’s Edge who fought through the mid-day heat and to all the cruisers who gathered on the deck the second they heard that familiar riff from Brian Forsythe’s guitar at soundcheck.

Yes, the secret was out, the band had a special guest and he was planning to play KIX’s “Cold Blood.” And, in case anyone was off exploring Mexico, they were sure to do it again (and include Casandra Carson (Paralandra) on vocals – listen to our interview with her, I guarantee you KIX fans will enjoy the story!)

Thankful that we took a group photo before the show started, I watched from stage and from the crowd as the band suffered from the heat, but still kicked ass as usual with their choreographed moves and high-energy delivery of favorites like “Rock Steady” and “Skin to Skin.”

I’m not joking when I talk about the heat.  We are talking 90s with 90% humidity. I mean just look at Mark Evans pictured above. I was bringing friends who stood their ground determined to be front row for Quiet Riot glasses of ice water from the windjammer between bands out of fear that they’d collapse and we were all layering on the sunscreen.

I personally was very happy that I got to catch another Quiet Riot set before heading to the Star Lounge to prep for my photo experience with H.E.A.T. While the set list really doesn’t change, I never tire of listening to favorites like “The Wild and The Young” and “Cum on Feel the Noize” and quite honestly can’t wait to see them again this spring and summer closer to home!

As not to cause any confusion, we had both H.E.A.T. and Treat in the photo experience (all pictured below) with Spread Eagle bringing an American representation to the room full of swedes. I can still remember the first photo experience I did with H.E.A.T. when most of the cruisers had no idea who they were yet (but they sure know now).

This time I had the pleasure of working with Jimmy Jay (who didn’t make that first cruise in 2020) and original frontman Kenny Leckremo along with Dave and Crash (sad that Jona wasn’t feeling up for it), and it was lots of fun, because we have the most awesome team ensuring that everything runs smoothly!

I should mention that I missed April Wine and Ritchie Kotzen (which it really pains me to say) while I was working on photos, but I grabbed a quick snack and headed back to the pool stage where I had the incredible opportunity to join Extreme on stage once again.

There wasn’t quite as much room as I recall having the last time I hung out behind the drum kit, and honestly I was waiting for the unpredictable Gary Cherone to jump on my head or something, but I did my best to stay small and keep out of the way as I snagged some photos of K Figg and the huge crowd that gathered on deck.  I even snapped a photo from the side of the stage, where an a-list of artists were watching. How many do you recognize?

I was much more focused on my snaps than the music, which is sad because I love this band so much, but not many people can actually say that they felt the music to the extent that I did (it literally moved me as I braced myself on the drum riser). So, it was a different kind of experience for me and my buddy Neil who was also christened to work on stage with the band.

Extreme’s set was quiet the subject of controversy as the band had been told it would be 75 minutes, and you certainly can’t cut “More Than Words” or “Get the Funk Out.” So, when the stage crew explained the situation to Larry Morand, he, like the great and powerful Wizard of Oz that he is, granted the band more time.  There was a collective sign of relief, but it sure put the pressure on Glenn Hughes and his team to get them on stage on time.

And while we snuck over to check out a bit of Slaughter only to see how dense the room was fogged over, Glenn Hughes’ crew was working double time, barely leaving me time to enjoy a salad…allow me to explain.

As you can tell from the day I’ve outlined, there really wasn’t much breathing room for a meal or rest. So, when I found my friend Paul and his girlfriend Tiffani at the Slaughter show, he very kindly offered to buy me a nice dinner at the steakhouse.  The only problem was, I just couldn’t miss Glenn Hughes or Accept.  With a status update from Glenn’s management and the speed with which our wonderful waiter at the restaurant served me, I had an amazing salad before heading to Glenn’s first of two performances.  I enjoyed the whole set from the pool stage, and got some amazing captures as the breeze whipped through and his voice carried over the wind like a nightingale.  With songs like “Stormbringer” and “Burn” in the set, you can see why it couldn’t be missed.

I stayed until the end, while Tiffani headed to Accept after finishing they both finished their meals. And, my amazing friend Paul was still waiting in the restaurant with my salmon dish, which was covered and ready for me to take with me to Accept! I am still so very touched that they all took such great care of me, because it is very rare that I am not the caregiver.  And, honestly this is just one example of how my MORC family has made me feel appreciated and loved over the decade that I’ve been cruising.

I’m sure you are all wondering how I was going to eat a plate of salmon while holding a camera, and believe me, I was too! But, as I enter Studio B with plate in hand, I see my good friend Scot Coogan waving me down from the seats.  He immediately starts laughing at me about bringing my dinner and I’ve got to admit I was chuckling a little bit that he brought drum sticks to the show…but we had the best time watching Phil kick ass with Accept that night and the vantage point was so perfect in the middle of the middle that I returned to that same area the final day to sit and capture Treat.  I’m pretty sure I spit some salmon in Scot’s face as we laughed, but I got dinner and he got to be my ‘back seat’ photographer calling out photo opps with all those guitars on stage!

This is the second time I’ve caught the band with Mark Tornillo on lead vocals, the first of which was at M3 Rock Festival back in 2021.  He is joined by Martin Motnik on bass, Wolf Hoffman, Uwe Lulis, and Philip Shouse on guitar, and Christopher Williams on drums. Accept has a new album entitled Humanoid coming out at the end of April with a world tour to follow.

Knowing better than to miss a SOTO performance, I made my way to the royal theater with little time to spare before Casandra Carson (Paralandra) took the stage for her first of two guest appearances with the band.  The crowd loved her duet with Jeff Scott Soto so much that he brought her back the following day to sing “Stand Up and Shout” with again.

And, soon after we were dancing along to one of two famous medleys on the boat – this one being the ‘disco fever’ montage, which covers everything from NKOTB to The Bee Gees (I kid you not, and it is awesome!).  The SOTO band includes BJ Singer on keyboards and vocals, Tony Dickinson on bass, Edu Cominato on drums, and Jorge Salan on guitar, and Jeff Scott Soto is celebrating 40 years of music!

Black ‘N Blue hit the pool stage again, and this time, the timing worked out, though I must admit that I was a big distracted by the Quiet Riot Q&A on the promenade and I’m hoping that someone record it…but I wasn’t going to miss these guys twice.  The current line-up features frontman Jamie St. James, drummer Pete Holmes,  bassist Patrick Young and guitarists Brandon Cook and Mick Caldwell, with Mick being the latest addition.

With wind in their hair, we enjoyed the choreographed moves of their fun set on the pool deck before the great debate began on the promenade with both Faster Pussycat and Firehouse playing at the same time.

I can’t remember exactly how it began or what the final ruling was, all I know is that we missed a good bit of both shows during the argument, caught some hilarious video of Scot Coogan (Ace Frehley) and Jeff Blando (Slaughter) dancing in route to the first show, and ultimately, I ended up with no photographs of either band.  After twelve hours of running my equipment around the boat, I decided to just enjoy the some great company and live music like the majority of the boat. Check back for fun with day 4 and 5 coverage yet to come.

Related Links:

Pre-Pary Coverage here
Day 1 Coverage here
Day 2 Coverage here
Day 4 Coverage here
Day 5 Coverage here

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So, watch for continued coverage from this month’s Monsters of Rock Cruise as well as local shows and regional shows with Alestorm, Elvenking and Glyph; Joe Satriani and Steve Vai; Firewind; and Queensryche and Armored Saint shows coming next month.  And in May, you’ll find us at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 3/24/2024.  All event photos are property of photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.