I just flew home from the cruise, and boy is my hand tired. (Sorry. I promise that's the last masturbation joke.)
I'm dismayed. Thanks to Gary I have a monster head cold, and I wanted to do this post justice, and I can't. So, here is a feeble post about the Ships-n-Dip concerts we saw. Just wipe off the mucus.
We saw these concerts:
BNL Sail Away & Alumni Concerts
The Alumni concert was reserved for those of us who had been on Ships-n-Dip I and were returning for III. (Next year's is V. This requires no explanation.) The band pulled song requests out of a bucket and performed them, even if they didn't remember the words or music, except for a request to play "One Week." I was a bit addled since Steven was wearing a suit.
Well, almost Guster. The Guster drummer didn't sail because he is preoccupied with his nine-month pregnant wife. The BNL drummer, Tyler, filled in. Gary liked the Guster sound better with Tyler, which surprised me, but Gary's the drummer and he would know.
Great Big Sea
My mistake was listening to the GBS live CD before I came on the cruise. The live performance I saw sounded just like the live CD, and I know this makes no sense but it killed all the spontaneity for me. Every live audience screams the same way. And that reminds me: I have found my demographic, based on the pre-concert music selections. Before the concerts they played all the artists I like - stuff I thought was arcane. Hmpf. I feel like a tween.
Mad men are funny. Sean Cullen did us all a great service when he sat in on the cheesy daily schedule reading and made it tolerable with interruptions. "Look there's Cuba! Wave at Cuba, everyone. You never know how long it will be around."
While BNL counters painfully sad lyrics with peppy pop music, this guy counters funny lyrics with heartbreaking music. I would have given an example of the touching ballad, "Kittens In a Bag," but I can't find the lyrics. But that's a CD I will buy when I have money again. I will also buy a CD from...
...because it seems the luggage containing his merchandise was lost. I was forced to buy the Scooby-Doo soundtrack once just to get a copy of Flagpole Sitta, so I was looking forward to a whole CD. I am filled with such pity I will buy one, even though you can get one for free here.
Technically we only heard the last quarter of Thinbuckle, so I assume they played Here Come the Chimebell Trains during the part I missed. I probably also missed the drummer's big solo. I only missed these things because I was trapped in the Limbo Stairwell on our ship. ("No, you have to go up." "No! It's down." "No! You stupid cow!")
My favorite from this (I think it was this show) was a song from the upcoming BNL kids album. The song was about a frog. I liked it, th0ugh I'm not a kid. My inner child liked it. If you have kids, buy this Snacktime album in May and let me know if the Polliwog song's any good.
The Vanity Projects
Speaking of frogs ... this is when Steven's voice started to go. This is also when Gary went to the infirmary for more of the Extra-Strength Cepacol and was told they were sold out. I think Steven might have bogarted all the Cepacol. He wore a green suit and is forgiven.
(Bogarted. I am so not cool. It's the cold talking.)
I kept walking past Carbon Leaf and thinking, "I should buy one of their CDs," but then I'd think I'd have to study the lyrics first, and it turned into kind of a chore. I'm sure I'll love them someday.
Pro: Hot girl bass player. Con: Drummer has to smoke during the set.
I did not realize Gary has a girly crush on Joe Pisapia. I suggested we skip his set and Gary cried. "No! I love him. He is an amazing songwriter, and an amazing guitarist, and he has class." Well. Okay.
BNL Main Stage Concert #1
Before this concert I thought I'd be content if this cruise was half as fun as the last one. This concert was such perfection that the least I could expect was twice as fun. Somehow we had perfect seats: fifth row (just enough distance) dead center. Someone threw a tiny stuffed monkey up on stage and Steven bit the head off and then, if I recall, spat the head out. I had been trying to compose a good description of the Melted Chocolate Cake, but Ed nailed it as "hot chocolate batter with a pudding skin of cake on top." And Steven sweated through a suit. And they came out for an extra encore.
The Odds (New Odds/Acid Wish)
We saw the first and second shows, in which the group The Odds perform both as The New Odds (Gary said they were "tight," which is a musical term I don't understand) and then they change clothes and perform as Acid Wish. The members of other bands join them and rock out a constant free-association riff of 70's-80's-90's songs. It sounds like you're spinning the tuner on an analog radio.
Another interesting thing happened at the finale show, but I'll save that for tomorrow, along with the pictures. Oh, wait, that suggests I have pictures of the interesting thing. Well, of course I do, but I can't post them.