1 cruise ship, 4 days, 42 bands, 2,000 fans! Yes, I had to do it again! 70,000 Tons of Metal, 2012! I had such a great time last year that I had to go for a reprise and see what would happen! I've got a photo album here with many more photos, and this entry is the companion to my radio show, airing Thursday Feb 2nd at noon. When the archive is posted, it will be linked here.
It's true, I had a lot of prior experience, so I had already been on the same ship, Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, and knew my way around. The weather I was leaving was not nearly as horrendous as it was last year, but I was still looking forward to punishing my ears and my body for a possible 84 sets of music in 4 days. I arrived in Miami a day early to trek up to Ft. Lauderdale with one of my partners in crime for a Cannibal Corpse show, and to also pick up another partner in crime to head back to Miami. Why not get an early start on bludgeoning my senses? I have to admit we did find time to view a certain sporting event involving a NY team that day also. On to the cruise! Last year I never noticed how much was loaded onto the boat via crane; the pool stage was composed mostly of large items, let alone all the rigging, backline, etc. I watched the crane pluck pieces off the ground and onto Deck 11 for hours on Monday morning.
The ship set sail on time (actually 5 minutes early!) and we were off! The two indoor stages kicked off without timing issues. The Pool Stage seemed larger this year than last year; it now had an overhang and huge side banners which were not present at the 2011 event; the other venues were virtually the same. I'm not certain what caused the delay, but the Pool Stage wasn't in operation for a good 5 hours after we left the Port of Miami. There was plenty to do, see, eat, drink and swim, so no one seemed visibly disappointed, and NJ's Over Kill had to be rescheduled for a different day. Bands who DID play on Monday: Grave Digger, Alestorm, Tristania, Coroner, Cannibal Corpse, Moonsorrow, Samael, Nightwish, Candlemass (pictured below), Eluveitie, Channel Zero, Vicious Rumors, Edguy and Massacre (2nd photo).
Here's some tidbits and moments that I'd like to share with you about the cruise:
# of countries represented on the cruise = 55
Best band related karaoke moment= Frank Mullen, vocalist for Suffocation performing everything and anything and repeatedly requesting Chicago..
Most unusual merchandise offering= 70,000 Tons Sunscreen
Number of band sets seen of a possible 84=34
Best off the boat experience= See photo below
Most Mojo-rific personality = Whenever VENOM's Cronos walked by, everyone just shut up and stared at him, no matter where he was, he was king
Brought a tear to my eye moment = The final performance of Holland's God Dethroned; calling it quits after decades, but a great venue to have the last 2 shows at!
Favorite performances = Amorphis 2x, Samael 2x, God Dethroned 2x, both Candlemass performances- using 2 different vocalists; Johan Längqvist-the original singer for the band, and Rob Lowe who has been with Candlemass since 2006, as well as being the vocalist for Solitude Aeturnus.
Second most unique way to enjoy a band = During Candlemass' first performance I rolled up my jeans and stood in the pool, still fully able to see the band. Relaxing and mindblowing at the same time!
Other bands I didn't list or mention yet who played on the ship:
Stratovarius, Children of Bodom, Kamelot, Tankard, Kataklysm, My Dying Bride, Annihilator, Pestilence, Crowbar, Exciter, Dark Funeral, Orphaned Land, Megora, Athiest, Virgin Steele, Sapiency, Amorphis, Diamond Plate, Hammerfall, In Extremo, Therion, Pretty Maids, Riot, Suffocation, Tristania, Whiplash.
Interesting to note, CNN was there and did a piece on the cruise.
Here's a view of one day's RUNNING ORDER, to see how relentless this festival was! There were meet & greets that I did actually take advantage of, and power naps of 18 minutes or less that kept me going from the wee hours into the wee hours... There was also a guy dressed as a cow for the entire cruise and someone dressed as Gumby, although I'm not certain if he was Gumby for the entire cruise, as I only saw him the last day.
This year the ship had several bars that were 24 hour service, a change from last year, and they seemed to be better stocked with alcohol. I heard that the record for alcohol consumption on this trip was more than that of full cruise season combined- don't quote me on that, but it sounds like an achievement someone must be proud of!
The cruise unloaded quite an unsteady lot back to the US after a stop in Grand Cayman. Some attendees were certainly feeling it; Miami International airport looked like it was full of zombies. Slow reacting, herky jerky moving, slouched and shuffling, that's what 4 days of bands from 10AM to 5AM will do to you...can't wait for next year!!