Glide’s Andrew Bruss is providing day to day coverage of Jam Cruise 13 as it makes its way around sea over the course of five days. Here are the highlights and photos from day 5 aboard the ship. Be sure to check out his coverage of day 4 here
A Change of Plans: Our last day aboard JamCruise 13 was spent below deck due to the high winds that forced the cancellation of Umphrey’s McGee’s Pool Deck performance the previous night. While folks with images of hot tubs in front of the main stage on their minds were disappointed, the brain trust behind JamCruise augmented the program so that it was even more fun in a chaotic way.
JamCruise thrives on spontaneity and when you throw this kind of curve ball at us, we turn shwag into hash oil. The schedule was shuffled around to the point where it was almost unrecognizable but included previously unscheduled performances and activities.
The indoor pool area hosted an artist signing that gave fans the chance to have their picture taken with all their favorite musicians and have them sign practically anything.
Up to this point on the trip, the ships three-story atrium had only hosted one set a day, a solo grand piano performance. With the deck closed, the atrium gave us a full performance from Sister Sparrow, Nathan Moore and a solo acoustic set from Revivalists front man Dave Shaw.
Charles Bradley gave his fans an opportunity to pick his brain with a Q&A in the atrium with such soulful, heartfelt answers, it literally brought tears to peoples eyes. When a young woman up front began to get teary, Bradley put the mic down to give the woman a big, long hug. After the Q&A, he gave everyone there a hug as well. Everyone. He wasn’t necessarily the MVP but Charles Bradley wins Jam Cruise 13 Rookie of the Year by an oceans length.
A highlight for most was two long sets from Umphrey’s McGee in the theater. Plenty of folks literally signed up to hear them play on the Pool Deck and while that didn’t happen, they heard just as much Umph as they would have through two days of single performances.
The Bottom Line: JamCruise 13 was a complete success. Not everything went according to plan, but a boat full of die hard Umphreaks are used to not knowing what’s coming around the bend. The production crew worked wonders, getting the Pool Deck primed for shows not long after pouring rain. The Jazz Lounge took a great deal of the Jam Room’s thunder as the better of the two venues to catch collaborations, and the lineup hosted an array of familiar acts to JamCruise (Lettuce, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Galactic), as well as new talent that is sure to make a return (Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, The London Souls, The Nth Power).
But the single most important part of this trip, the part that makes it next to impossible to effectively convey this experience via online recaps, is the people. The MSC Divina hosted plenty of great bands, but even more significant in the experience was the approximately 3500 veteran live music fanatics who know how to party hard while keeping it cool. These folks are the Seal Team Six of concertgoers, and even though the inclusion of Pretty Lights made for a younger demographic than in years past, nobody was “That Guy,” and every stranger was a potential friend. There wasn’t a soul on board who would deny you a high five, or engage you in a lengthy conversation.
Over the past five days, it’s been made abundantly clear that the music on JamCruise revolves around collaboration, but the heart of the JamCruise experience lies in the people who are not on stage. As every JamCruise Virgin wound up saying after five euphoric days: See you on the boat next year.