Rock Star Karoake allows fans to sing or perform with ALO and David Gans on the theater’s stage. Anyone interest in participating could pick a cover off a list and put their name into a hat to be picked by Activities Guru Seth Weiner. I caught five songs and four of the cruisers killed it. One lady poured her heart into one of the more soulful Beast of Burdens these ears have ever heard. Another fine female vocalist delivered a sassy rendition of Use Me. The gentleman who sang Psycho Killer will not be the next American Idol.
I had the pleasure of sitting with Cruise Director Annabel “Julie McCoy” Lukins as Weiner announced that her husband, Peter, would be singing All Along The Watchtower. Peter’s got some pipes and the look of surprise and excitement on Annabel’s face was priceless.
Directly after Rock Star Karoake, Taylor Hicks hosted the Gong Show in the theater, which was hilarious. Most contestants were gonged after getting heckled relentless by the audience. Judges included Jennifer Hartswick, Ron Johnson and Skerik, all of whom were extremely tough on those singing or performing. Hicks continued to embrace the Jam Cruise Experience on Day Four by performing a short set for those eating lunch in the cafeteria and by consoling the dejected contestants after they were gonged.
At 7:30PM, JoJo Hermann of Widespread Panic sat at the piano in the atrium for a 45-minute set that featured an instrumental Tipitina and a raucous singalong version of JJ Cale’s Ride Me High. JoJo sang and played unamplified, so in those situations you need the crowd to cooperate by piping down. Unfortunately, those who came to the set thought it was more important to chat with their friends than to listen to JoJo. One of the few bummers of JC9.
God Street Wine wasn’t exactly known for bringing guests up during their heyday in the ’90s. I’m really glad that the guys embraced the sit-in spirit and welcomed Anders Osborne, Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass) and Leo Nocentelli of The Meters up to the stage during GSW’s two-hour Pool Deck set. The group rolled through a number of classic tunes with girls’ names in the title such as Molly, Goodnight Gretchen, Imogene and Wendy. Nocentelli mixed impressive rhythm work with brash solos during the jam out of The Other Shore and Fourth of July.
Osborne and GSW guitarist Aaron Maxwell traded intense slide licks on the aforementioned Goodnight Gretchen before Beck added tasteful dobro work to Epilog. We thought Get On The Train – which featured dueling Anderses (is that the plural of Anders?) – would be the last song of the night, but GSW fitting ended the last gig on their schedule for the foreseeable future with Into The Sea.
While God Street rocked the Pool Deck, Karl D. was turning his KDTU set into a super jam. An epic version of Maggot Brain featured Big Sam, Taylor Hicks, Leo Nocentelli and Ivan Neville coming out one by one to shred a solo before ducking back off stage. Later, Jennifer Hartswick and Fred Wesley paired out to form a mini-horn section and Mike Dillion (check spelling please :)) added percussion fuel to the KDTU fire. The Easy Allstars set also contained a sit-in with Big Sam throwing his powerful trombone skills into the mix.
That brings you through the prime time sets of Day Four. Tune in tomorrow (hopefully) for the tale of dueling sunrise sets and how Brock Butler pulled off a trifecta.