As Dee and I sat outside of our hotel with our luggage (Yes, her luggage FINALLY made it!), Big John from Rock of Love walked up and said, “The first 52 people to the bus are getting a ride to the port!” Dee, Monique, Liz and I all ran for it. As we found our seats and settled in, I started watching all the people getting on the bus. One by one…they were all members of bands. We were on a bus full of rock stars, and not in the notorious way: Winger, Tyketto, Firehouse, Kix, London Quire Boys…it was surreal.
Once we made it on the boat, we had enough time to run to our room, freshen up and then go to the dreaded, required safety drill. Who happened to be in our group? Our new friends Rita, Pixie, Julie, and…Billy Sheehan looking as cool as ever in his life jacket.
The first night of shows on the boat certainly set the bar and set it high. The first three shows we attended were probably the best three shows we saw on the entire cruise. Tesla started the evening off as we sailed away from Miami. The pool deck was PACKED for this show and for good reason. Tesla never disappoints. Never. They got the crowd pumped and they sounded stellar. The Monsters of Rock crew couldn’t have picked a better band to get things started.
Next up were the Winery Dogs. They actually played in my hometown a few months ago, but I wasn’t able to make it to the show. Boy oh boy was I kicking myself in the ass for missing them after the show we witnessed on the cruise. It’s honestly difficult for me to put into words how phenomenal they were. With the talents of Richie Kotzen, Billy Sheehan and Mike Portnoy, you know there’s no way possible this band could suck. You just can’t possibly be prepared for how fucking incredible they really are. And I’m sorry to use curse words in this but damn it, man…I need you to understand the true power of the Winery Dogs and only the intensity of curse words can convey this. Shit. Damn. They blew my fucking mind. Dee and I just kept looking at each other in total and complete awe because we honestly couldn’t believe the musical genius that we were hearing. Our jaws dropped at the very start of the show and we were never able to pick them up off the ground. Seriously. That shit was fucking INSANE. There aren’t even enough superlatives in the English language to describe how utterly incredible they were . So what I’m trying to tell you is the Winery Dogs are awesome, and you’re totally missing out if you’re not listening to them.
After that whirlwind, Dee and I dragged our still open jaws over to see Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel. This was another band we were super excited to see because…well…it’s Jake E. Lee. I heard the drums to “Ultimate Sin” and started screaming and jumping up and down like a school girl. Dee probably would’ve looked at me like I was insane except that she was freaking out like I was, so…there we were freaking out. Singer DJ Smith came out guns blazing and just killed it. And Jake E Lee is still as kick ass as ever. They played some songs off their new album, “Deceived” and “War Machine.” And then…then…they did it. They did something that I totally and completely wasn’t expecting. As they started into the fourth song, the crowd went nuts. I’m standing there trying to figure out what was happening. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. They were playing Badlands. This, my friends, was something I thought I’d NEVER experience in my life, so to be there witnessing this was absolutely a dream come true. Dear god, as if this night couldn’t get any better, next they played Badland’s “Rumblin’ Train.” I’m telling you, the cruise could’ve ended right then and there, and it would’ve been worth every penny I paid. They played more of their originals and a little “Bark at the Moon.” Seriously. Kill me now. I can die happy.
We ended the night on the pool deck with Winger. For its 25th anniversary, they played their debut album in its entirety. Winger sounded good…really good. Kip’s voice sounded better than ever. Reb is still one of the most badass guitarists around. Listening to them perform that album brought back so many memories and was the perfect end to a perfect night.
It was a helluva first night. If it was this good the first few hours on the cruise, it couldn’t possibly get any better, could it? Well, of course it could!