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ROCK THE BOAT ’23 Tour Diary, Day 5: Stayin’ Alive

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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 5: Stayin’ Alive

I slept like a baby last night, and then woke up and looked out the balcony to see a coal mine, which was not what I expected. On the other side of the boat though there was some pretty nice-looking island called Nouméa which might have been nice to jump off the boat and visit, but although we are still alive, we aren’t the healthiest after 4 days of solid partying.

Krispy didn’t fare too well at all, so Squirty and I headed upstairs for a private breakfast date. Then I tried to book in for a beard trim with the onboard barber, but the bastard must be good, cause he was already booked out for the remainder of the cruise. It pays to get in early, you snooze, you lose. And yes, there is a barber/hairdresser and full health spa onboard too.

Later on, Krispy and I got some interview prep for Sarah McLeod and Lecia Louise sorted, while Squirty headed to the Chef’s Table to get the cameras ready. We gathered at Schooners Bar at 1 for some pre-interview drinks to get the vocal cords warmed up and for some reason Krispy’s tablet decided to take a free fall from the bar. As you can guess, that didn’t end well.

Shortly after we were joined in front of the camera by Lecia Louise, but more about that later. After waiting around to hear from Sarah McLeod again for an interview time, we figured we’d once again been stood up. So, we packed up and had a think about which bar, I mean band, to visit next.

I also realised that I lost my hat at some point last night in a drunken stupor, so I went to guest services to see if it had been found. No such luck, so now I’ll be scanning everyone’s heads for my bloody hat which might make people uncomfortable, or more uncomfortable than just generally being in my presence.

We all actually remembered to go and get some lunch on time today, followed by some ice cream. Yeah, dessert is a thing after every meal on this vessel of excess. The plan was then to head up to the pool and watch Lecia perform again, but Krispy and Squirty put themselves in a food coma, so it was just me.

I took some time to discover the rest of the ship, and I came across a Cinema in the middle of the big bastard. There’s pretty much everything on here, and I guess there has to be because we found out this morning from one of the lovely bar girls that the crews work 7 months straight. That’s a massive effort, lucky they don’t get on the piss every night like us because we may not even last 7 days.

We stopped and checked out a bit of The Rocking Birds, who are basically a world-class covers band with a world-class set list. I’m guessing like every other muso on this boat that the members of the band have their own projects and I‘m not sure who makes up the band, but these are some serious drums, bass, guitars, and key players!

Now, never in my life did I imagine that I’d ever be sitting down to review a Chocolate Starfish show, but here we are only a couple of days after I reviewed a Daryl Braithwaite show. This is certainly an odd series of events, and if this isn’t the strangest review I’ve ever been asked to do, I don’t know what is.

Anyway, the room goes dark and an epic keyboard intro blasts through the PA. The band all enter stage dressed head to toe in white. Well, apart from the arms hanging out the tank top jackets of the guitarist and bass player, and they show off for a little bit until frontman Adam Thompson takes the stage dressed all in black, with a cape, gold highlights and wrist tassels.

Will I know any of these songs? Turns out I do, as they kick into Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell. This is the first show I’ve watched in the Pacific Theatre with an actual light show, and in parts it’s almost blinding. I’ve heard about this Meatloaf Bat Out of Hell tribute these guys have been doing, but wasn’t sure they were doing it on here. I guess I’ll know over the next couple of songs.

It appears so far that it’s definitely the case, or I could still be wrong and just forgot about the whole Meatloaf tempo change thing because I thought we were 3 songs it, but it turns out we are still on Bat Out of Hell. Apparently, we are getting the best of everything tonight or so Adam tells us, and as the band kicks into You Took the Words Out of My Mouth, Adam asks the crowd to get on their feet, and they are all happy to oblige. Except for us three because we just threw down a couple of Black Tooth Grins before walking/stumbling in and standing is not our strong point right now.

None of us had any idea what the next track was called, or who wrote it, but maybe something about being beautiful or addiction or a combo of both. We know this next one though, and it’s Mountain, should I be embarrassed? Either way, it throws my Meatloaf theory out the window.

Mid-song, Adam stops everyone again and gets them to turn the “love lights” on their phone on so that we can all have an epic big song along to the chorus. The crowd again does not disappoint.

Adam then climbs out into the crowd and up onto one of the seats before starting to sing about getting his head right. Then he says something about “how can you all be at a rock concert sitting down” and the whole crowd stands up.

I’m pretty sure this one is called I Gotta Get My Head Right, or maybe just Head? I’m not sure whose song it is, but it doesn’t sound like a Meatloaf tune, so maybe a Chocolate Starfish song? Wikipedia now tells me it’s a Chocolate Starfish song, so I guess it does help to do some research. I’m not sure who this guitarist is, but he can rip a good solo. Wikipedia is no help at all this time, but their website tells me it’s a bloke by the name of Zakk Zedras. Can play!

Apparently next year is 30 years of Chocolate Starfish, which makes me feel old as f@#k as does hearing them perform Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad. And apparently we can’t sit down for the next one, and it sounds familiar, but I ain’t standing the f@#k up. Everyone else gets up and gets the fuck into it, though. Turns out its Queen‘s Radio Ga Ga which is an odd turn of events. No idea about the next one either, but this last one, this last one is You’re So Vain. And yes, I know the words, but don’t lie, so do you!

Apart from those couple of songs of theirs I knew; I think I just experienced Australia’s highest paid cover band. The crowd was having a blast, though, and that’s all that matters. And as much as I don’t like to admit it, I kind of enjoyed the show too. Just don’t ask me to stand up again.

Before the song ends, they bring it back down and start singing some random lyrics out of other songs, but I ain’t gonna list them because I don’t have time to jot ‘em down, and I ain’t gonna remember ‘em all later. It did end with Ring of Fire though, which I guess is appropriate for a band named after an asshole (allegedly).

And after fluffing around for a little longer, they kick back into the song. There may also have been an encore, but I’m not sure cause we took off early to the restaurant to beat the after-show rush. We could hear something about a Candyman as we were walking off, but it wasn’t enough to turn us around because we needed to get some food in on top of those Black Tooths.

Later that night, there was an announcement in the Minstrel restaurant during our 3-course meal, which unfortunately informed us that Barnsey would not be making it onboard due to being in hospital due to bacterial pneumonia. They told us not to worry though as his daughter Mahlia would be joining us onboard alongside the rock loyalty already here to present a tribute show of Jimmy’s and Cold Chisel’s greatest hits.

Sounds like fun, but right now it’s about getting the rest of this food in our guts. Enter food coma and Exit HEAVY for the night! Yeah, that’s how it ended for the night, the three of us back in the cabin watching Planet of the Apes. That’s how you Rock N Roll.

NOTE: That’s NOT actually how you rock and roll, that’s just three old blokes who went too hard early on. Rookie Error, but it will probably happen again, no doubt!

Check back in tomorrow for Day 6: Already? It’s Gone Too Quick!

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