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ROCK THE BOAT ’23 Tour Diary, Day 3, Sunday is Fun Day!

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Late last year, HEAVY had the honour of being invited on board the Royal Caribbean to join Rock The Boat 2023 and moonlight as journalists by interviewing bands on board.

Admittedly, it was a little outside of our comfort zone with a more rock and blues-orientated line-up, but you know what they say? You talk to one musician, you talk to them all.

Actually, I have never said that myself or heard anyone else say it, but you get my drift.

With artists and bands like Jimmy Barnes, Jon Stevens, Chocolate Starfish, Sarah McLeod, Bob Spencer and Daryl Braithwaite among our intended victims (sorry, I mean interviews) HEAVY knew we were going to have to stay on the ball – and possibly not dive too deep into our drinks packages too early in the day.

The HEAVY team included myself and Jimmy Glinster as interviewers/shit talkers and Squirty behind the camera, and to say we had fun and many unexpected adventures is not even close to covering it.

Lucky for you (but maybe not us), Jimmy kept a tour diary, of which we will be publishing daily entries over the coming week. Kick back and enjoy our tales of life on the open seas.

Rocking the boat!

ROCK THE BOAT ‘23 Day 3: Sunday is Fun Day!

We actually somehow managed to rise for an early breakfast, well 8:30 if you can call that early. And by 11:00 am we were on the Pina Colada’s at the Schooners Bar prepping up for a big day of interviews.

Then we got a surprise visit in the interview room by Choose Your Cruise CEO Marius ELS who we had a good private chat with about some very exciting upcoming plans to further diversify the Choose You Cruise musical spectrum. It’s all a little tight-lipped now though, so more about that later … or not.

By Midday, I was back on the Long Island Ice Teas just in time for our 15-minute interview slot with HAXAS, I mean HAXAN. I’m glad I asked that before the interview started. But more about that later when we drop what ended up being a half-hour interview. Great chat, great band, and we’ll hopefully see them on the mainland in the coming years.

As we finished up with Haxan, Sarah McLeod kicked off next door in The Colony Club. Her solo project is poppy, bluesy, and rocking with little touches of punk/grunge here and there as the Superjesus in her pops in and out. It’s a totally different vibe to the Superjesus though, and she usually performs solo with an acoustic guitar and/or a piano. Rock the Boat is the first time she has performed her solo works with a full band.

Sarah talked about having writers block in New York and how she ended up writing a song about having writers block in New York before performing said song. She really pumped the crowd up for some serious crowd interaction and participation in My Imagination and it was great to see the whole crowd get on board, even though technically we all already are ….

A haunting cover of House of The Rising Sun gets a massive response from the crowd, as well as massive admiration from me. Shortly after Sarah wrapped up the set which was a mix of solo works, Superjesus songs and random covers. This seems to be a common theme on board with all artists and it works really well to keep the punters entertained and engaged for the full performances. I won’t tell you what the closing track was though, I’ve gotta keep you all grounded somehow.

After Sarah’s set, we went for some snacks at the Park Cafe but all they had were beef and gravy rolls and some shitty salads. That wasn’t good enough for Krispy, so we went to Windjammers Buffet restaurant, which was closed, as it was yesterday when we went there at exactly the same time. You’d think we’d learn, but we are just not that smart, so beef and gravy rolls it was. Oh, and some shitty salad which was actually pretty damn good, except for when I almost choked on some caesar salad and spat a mouthful in Krispy’s face.

We quickly dropped into the Casino, and I chucked a quick $20 in a pokie. I won $50 almost instantly, so pulled that out and got the fuck outta the place. That’s a lie, you all know it, I put it all back through and then lost it all, so that little visit cost me $20. Krispy did similar about 5 times over but managed to walk out breaking even with 100 US Dollars in his hand … which you can’t spend anywhere onboard except the casino. Typical Casino stitch up, but another quick round of Long Islands and we are set to see some horses.

We got in the Daryl Braithwaite show late due to the casino holding us at ransom, but we still managed to catch the tail end of the first track. I have no idea what it was called though but straight away the shouts for Horses start and Daryl joins in to take the piss out of himself.

He stops for a minute though to thank the crowd who he claims he knows every single one of them and then hands out a free shirt to a disabled fan in the front row thanking them for their attendance. They play another track which I also don’t know the name of and as they kick into the third track, the whole crowd is clapping along. I know this one, but I’m f@#ked if I know the name of it, even though I admittedly know some of the words to it. It was something about “feelings” or something like that. It wasn’t about horses though, that’s for sure. Surprise surprise, I don’t know the name of this next one either, but the following song has some very familiar harmonica at the start of it. Rise, or something like that?

Daryl asks for the stage lights down and whips out a mini torch to provide lighting for the guitarist to rip a solo which leads into a cover of The Easybeats which I didn’t quite catch the name of, it’s all about covers on this cruise. Daryl then announces a surprise, which kind of spoils the surprise. The surprise is another stack of free merch that he hands out to the people standing at front of the stage dancing. You know, the pricks that spoil the view for the people following the rules and staying in their seats. A shirt cannon would have come in handy here.

Daryl announces that the next song came out at the same time as when the stubby coolers came out that he just handed out. It’s Howzat? by Sherbert. And Daryl hands over vocal duties to the crowd for the final chorus to which they all happily oblige. For a 70-something-year-old, he sure does have some lungs on him still, and a super high vocal range. The next song which I also don’t know the name of shows this off. It was something about Too Soon to Say Goodbye or something about love.

I’m really gonna need a setlist. These ones are all familiar, but I really have no idea. I was merely a tear in my father’s third eye when most of these songs came out. It may be called Summer Love, and it’s probably another Sherbert song. It gains a massive response from the crowd. Daryl then talks about being asked about playing that song and he makes another joke about himself saying it was a replacement for the horses. Apparently, the next song is a crowd participation song, which may or may not be Horses.

It’s not, it’s As the Days Go By and I definitely know this one. The crowd does too as they clap along and sing as the days go by in the crowd participation bit. Again, I have absolutely no idea what the next song is, but it has a thumping baseline. Wait, it’s Higher Than Hope and it’s followed by another big hit One Summer, but no horses yet?

And I spoke too soon, here it is, we are now riding on the Horses, and that’s the way it’s gonna be little darling, way up in the sky. Another massive sing-along for the last chorus clearly shows the command that Daryl has over his audience. The repeated chorus with the crowd singing along lasts longer than the entire song. And it’s now something we agree we all needed to see and are f@#king glad that we didn’t pull some elitist metalhead shit and say “F@#k Darryl, and his horses”.

It’s not one that I ever thought I needed to tick off my bucket list, but f@#k me, I’m glad I did. Next up is Vince “Something or the F@#kin Other” Contarino out of the Zep boys doing an originals set at Centrum which we now know thanks to Daryl is referred to as Westfield. If you can imagine this, Centrum is a central foyer stage with 7 levels of balcony looking down on the bands as they rock out. It’s quite the vibe, and there is a bar on most levels somewhere to help ya keep ya fluids up.

Vince makes a joke about the difference between tribute bands and original bands and the punchline is that original bands don’t make as much money. Well, I guess when you are competing against a Led Zeppelin tribute, you’re probably always gonna have a bit of a struggle on ya hands.

It’s almost 8pm now and the crowd is loving it and dancing along, but we take a hike to that flashy Restaurant for another 3-course meal and 2 or 3 more Long Island Ice Teas … all a part of the cruise package by the way. Well, the 3-course meal anyway, the drinks are part of the drinks package which I discussed back on day 1 and which we’d already drunk our money worth before lunch time today.


We dash back to the room for a quick freshen-up and then head up to the Schooner Bar for the kid Nathan Cavaleri. The kid that’s only 2 years younger than me, the old bastard. And being the slow old bastards that we are, we made it for about the last 3 minutes of him just randomly jamming along.

Oh, and we did catch a minute or so of some cowboys at Centrum, but I’ve just been told to stop working so I’ll catch you tomorrow for Day 4.

I’ve had to jump back in quickly because there is some very Gary Moore-sounding guitar work coming from The Bob Spencer Band back over in the Schooner Bar now, and of course he has JC and Chris providing a solid rhythm section for him.

A “little” later on I walk into some The End style thing by the Mason Rack Band which is a nice change from the non-stop rock on this boat. That changes pretty quickly though as they jump into some crazy swinging lap steel song. The mood just changed to blue, but not the sad kind, it’s nothing but good times in Centrum right now.

So that whole plan to stop working and go to bed failed as we find our way to the Park Café for some late-night Pizza and Hot Dogs. And what a stitch-up that was, the only place open at the end of the night when ya legless is a café by the Pool Area with wet floors. It’s fun to watch but watch ya bloody step!

Check back in tomorrow for Day 4: Please Sir, can I have some more?

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