Our second day enjoying the Caribbean sunshine was at port in Labadee, Haiti, a private resort run by Royal Caribbean with cruise supplied transportation, entertainment, and beach chairs, as well as food and drink.
For those looking for adventure, the island also featured the Dragon’s Tail coaster and Dragon’s breath Zipline.
We were happy to have an island stage back on our itinerary and even more delighted by the acoustic set performed by Erik Martensson and Magnus Henriksson of Eclipse.
After so much rain while at sea, the island heat was a bit overwhelming so we found it necessary to find shade and to frequent the nearby buffet for cold drinks, but it was a beautiful day on Labadee. The Eclipse duo treated us to some fan favorites as well as some unexpected acoustic covers like Europe’s “Prisoners in Paradise” and the “Runaway” song made famous by Elivis Presley, before hosting an island photo experience for fans following their set.
While it would have been a treat to relax on a sandy beach at Labadee once again, we couldn’t miss the mid-afternoon set by Reckless Love which was set to showcase their latest album Turborider. So, we ran back to the ship to catch the fun in Studio B.
Reckless Love did not disappoint bringing out favorites from their catalog like “One the Radio” and “Hot” while inviting us in with a dance party vibe with lots of new cuts like “Kids of the Arcade” and “Like a Cobra.”
Next, we took in some female-fronted favorites like the Canadian ‘Metal Queen’ Lee Aaron who took over the Royal Theater with favorites like “Some Girls Do” with an all-star band featuring guitarist Sean Kelly who authored the book Metal on Ice: Tales from Canada’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Heroes; bassist Dave Reimer, the creator of Reimer Guitars; and drummer John Coy who has also played with the likes of Bo Diddley and BTO.
Liliac front woman Melody Cristea was also making waves in the Star Lounge that afternoon by taking the show off the stage in an Alice Cooper inspired costume, and bringing along a couple special guests for a very metal performance with her sibling bandmates Abigail on drums, Samuel on guitar, Ethan on bass and Justin on keyboards.
The band’s was mostly comprised of cover songs from the likes of Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Metallica, but also introduced a new original single “Carousel.”
Liliac’s core band was joined by guitarist Aiden Fisher (best known for his work on the Stranger Things Netflix series as character Eddie Munson’s body double for the famous “Master of Puppets” scene) and later special guest Dave Ellefson on bass for a finale of Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction.”
Check out our previous coverage of Aiden’s guest appearance a show in the band’s hometown of Atlanta here, and our interview with Melody about her influences and the band’s history here.
Sweden’s Treat finally made their way on to the boat this year and was definitely one of our “can’t miss” shows, but sadly only had opportunity for one performance when a rain storm damaged equipment on the final day of the cruise. So, like many, we were thrilled to have caught up with the band for their first show for some favorites like “Papertiger” from Coup De Grace, as well as “Home of the Brave” from their new release Endgame. And, even more thrilled to hear that they will return in 2024!
Some may have noticed founding guitarist Anders Wikstrom was missing from the cruise. In his place was perhaps the busiest musician on the boat (by our count), Eclipse guitarist Magnus Henriksson who was sitting in. While we can only speak for the shows we saw, this would be Magnus’ sixth appearance on stage at the festival (with bassists Greg Smith and Dave Ellefson tied for second place with five stage performances each).
Speaking of busy musicians, Winger took the pools stage for their second show of the cruise with blue skies overhead. It appeared that the Caribbean heat weighed heavily on everyone that day, but especially the band. Regardless, they put on one hell of a show, which included the single “Proud Desperado” from the band’s new album Seven as well as the highly requested “Medley” which showcases the talents of each and every member of the band with a walk through their other endeavors which have included Alice Cooper, Whitesnake, Dokken, and many more.
Hailing from Pittsburgh myself, the Pennsylvania-born Dirty Looks has been a favorite since former frontman Henrik Ostergaard sent me a stack of CDs to play on my college radio show at Duquesne University in the mid-nineties. The band had seen a revolving door of members over the years, but lost Henrik when he died of liver failure.
Just prior to the pandemic, reunion talks began with Dangerous Toys frontman Jason McMaster who joining forces with guitarist Paul Lidel and his Cool from the Wire era bandmates Jack Pyers on bass and Gene Barnett on drums, as well as Broken Teeth guitarist, David Beeson. The new line-up pictured below had just performed a few shows prior to being added to the 2023 cruise. Yet, the band had already recorded a live album entitled Cool from the Speedway at the Selinsgrove Racetrack in 2021 featuring the entire album Cool from the Wire, which had spawned the MTV hit “Oh Ruby” back in 1988.
For more on Dirty Looks, follow us for live shots from the pool stage, and in the meantime, check out our coverage from their performance last summer at Brad Lee Entertainment’s Masquerade in Philadelphia.
As the day continued the schedule offered up a mix of well-known can’t miss favorites like Tesla, Great White, and Queensryche along with unexpected treats like The Cruel Intentions, and under-rated band’s like fan-favorites Vain. Whenever possible, I make time a second stop to see the bands that I love (and who wouldn’t given that you can come and go from the five venues as you wish), and was delighted to finally hear Queensryche perform “Silent Lucidity” on this tour, and finally capture some full-band shots of Great White.
I knew The Cruel Intentions featuring former Vains of Jenna frontman Lizzy DeVine was going to be a new addition to my list of favorites, but the show really blew me away was Nestor’s performance in the theater. The crowd was lit up with neon glasses blinking in the foggy theater while the band performed under the a simply logo with unbelievable energy.
Hailing from Sweden, Nestor is another band originally formed in the late 80s that has recently resurged much to the delight of cruisers who can’t seem to get enough of the band. So glad to see them back this year. For more on Nestor, check out our 2022 coverage of their pool stage performance.
While the evening would have been more than complete with the previously mentioned performances, we had to make a stop by the pool deck for the long-awaited show from Shiraz Lane. Returning to the cruise and bringing a whirlwind of energy that can be seen in these captures, the band’s performance included “Harder to Breathe” and “Layla,” as well as a finale which featured the Savage Garden cover of “To the Moon & Back” (that seemed more than appropriate given theme for this year’s cruise).
Follow us @ThePureRockShop for more for more cruise recaps coming soon. In the meantime, check out our pre-party coverage, sail away day coverage, Dominican Republic highlights, and our final day at sea, as well as the full story behind last year’s 2022 Monsters of Rock Cruise sailing.
Lots happening this past month as well as upcoming captures, recaps, news, and interviews from of local and regional concerts and festivals including Jackyl, Faster Pussycat, Chris Jericho’s Kuarantine, and more this summer so check back often.
Recap and Live Photos by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen for The Pure Rock Shop. Posted on 6/4/2023.