Monsters of Rock Cruise – Day 4 at Sea – 3/5/2024

The fourth morning of the cruise began in the sunshine while cruising through the Caribbean and listening to the second of two Rare Hare shows hosted by Tyson Leslie.  If you look closely at the photo below you’ll see that Tyson is not only holding onto two lovely ladies, but also to the list of performers and set list that he had orchestrated for this gathering of talent.

For those not familiar with his Nashville-born Rare Hare events, the concept is simple but the orchestration is complex.  He basically builds bands of musicians that have never performed together before (in most cases) and who have not rehearsed together or in many cases even met prior to jumping together on stage.  And, they play songs that aren’t their own and sometimes even take turns playing different instruments throughout the show.

This particular Rare Hare event featured musicians that can be found on stage with Queen, Ace Frehley, PoisonVixen, Black ‘N Blue, Accept, Enuff Z Nuff, Rhino Bucket, Faster Pussycat, and more.

Absorbed in the music on the pool stage, it was hard to move on, but our friends from Dangerous Toys were on in Studio B and we weren’t about to miss it.  Little did we know that they had a special guest vocalist joining the party.  Jocke Berg from Hardcore Superstar had been sportin’ a Dangerous Toys shirt on the boat and the two had performed together in Atlanta, Georgia a few years back at BLE’s Rocklanta, so it was cool to see the collaboration.

I headed to the Star Lounge to set up for the photo experience with Glenn Hughes, which had been extended by an hour given that Glenn was joined in the room by The Darkness and Ritchie Kotzen, and we were consequently expecting a big crowd. It was an absolute pleasure to watch as Glenn took the time to politely meet each and every person that came through the line and invite them to his second show.  I especially loved how he was determined to be so personable despite the pressure to keep the line moving, but we kept up (and I’d gather that it had something to do with The Darkness photo opportunity happening just before ours…If you read on you’ll learn that they are quite the troublemakers).

After the line ended and a few stragglers stopped in, Glenn and Richie were both headed to watch Joe Satriani who was performing in the theater and I tagged along hoping to catch some of the show.  I was really glad that I did, because it turned out being my only opportunity to see Ritchie Kotzen perform on the boat!

Ritchie Kotzen and Nuno Betttencourt joined Satriani and band for a jam at the end of his set that included the G3 (Satriani, Vai, Johnson) favorite “Going Down” and I’m told that the guest at his previous show was Joel Hoekstra. As if this alone wasn’t cool enough… given that I was watching the show from stage with Glenn and his band, and still had my camera and flash ready to go, I was able to snap some really cool group photos of the all-star group that gathered backstage.  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.  It had been many years since I’d seen Satriani perform and I’ve got to say that I’m even more excited about his tour with Steve Vai after seeing this show.

I don’t know that anything else was going to top my afternoon, but the fun continued with one of my favorites, Queensryche, on the pool stage.  Ironically, the first time I saw Todd LaTorre fronting Queensryche was on the pool stage of the MORC Monsterwood cruise and I can still remember how that show revived my love for the band.  We will be bringing you more Queensryche coverage next month when they come to town with Armored Saint on the Origins tour.

Next, Jason Bieler and Jeff Scott Soto returned to their favorite venue, the Star Lounge.  As usual, I’m never quite sure what I walk in on with these guys.  It appears as if Jason wasn’t sure if he used dial as I snapped this photo of the duo and their special guests.  From left to right, you’ll find Sean McNabb, BJ Singer, Jeff Scott Soto, Jason Bieler, Edu Cominato, and Jorge Salan.  I’m pretty sure that they squeezed a few songs in between the laughs too, and thankfully they were able to control the rush of the crowd with security in place and we could actually see them on the stage, which was only fair considering the pre-party lighting fiasco.

As night crept in, we returned to the pool stage for one of our favorite Swedish bands, Crazy Lixx.  They are such a visual act that it was hard to select the photos to represent their show. I’ve selected frontman Danny Rexon dressed as Jason during their famous “XIII” which brought the band success in the gaming world given its vibe was reminiscent of Dokken’s “Dream Warriors.”  We enjoy the band’s videos, energy, and sound as they remind us the bands of the 80’s without actually being one of them.  Still new in our minds, they have been around for a couple decades now, and we’ve just learned of the departure of their drummer Joel Cirera who I’ve also pictured below given that it will be the last time we see him perform with Crazy Lixx on our cruise.  We wish him well in his next chapter and are curious to see who will be replacing him.

The night continued with another show from The Darkness, and even after taking a swim in a hot tub, this is the show everyone has been talking about, given what Justin had to say.  Honestly, he was oozing with British humor from the moment the show began and trying to be in good spirits despite the long delay for the show start.

He was kind enough to thank the photographers in the pit and he even suggested that the crowd move up and fill the gap in front of the stage (I believe he was the first to ever suggest this!) after we’d finished our three songs.  And that, my readers, is when the real fun began.  Because as I made my way back to my seat, I distinctly heard him say C U Next Tuesday to Ace Frehley (without calling him out by name, exactly). I can assure you that it was meant to be funny, but it caused a stir regardless.  But, what we should really be talking about is this band.  When are The Darkness touring the states again, and why weren’t there any Pittsburgh dates on the last run?

We made our way from The Darkness through the casino to see Winger, and got to visit with some friends while watching, which was great.  I didn’t take any photos of Winger that night, but I was able to score a full band photo of SOTO afterward and also score some real ginger beer from a friend before looking for a place to finally put down my camera bag.  It took a while to figure out a plan because the Punchlines and Backlines was sadly over capacity and so was the promenade.

I ended up chatting with friends in the wind jammer before getting invited to a party, where I stayed until we finally got word that Lizzy Borden had made it to the stage.  At this point it must have been nearly 1 am, because, as you now know, everything before him in Studio B had been delayed.  The show was well worth the wait.  As always, the costumes were phenomenal and as to avoid a baptism in blood, I took a higher seat to avoid the splatter, but still took in all of the action from burlesque dancers to black roses, it was just the theatrical show we’d expected.

Related Links:

Pre-Pary Coverage here
Day 1 Coverage here
Day 2 Coverage here
Day 3 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 like this week’s Alestorm, Elvenking and Glyph show at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE; Joe Satrianiand 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 3/28/2024.  All event photos are property of photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.