Yesterday morning I found myself in Galveston boarding Carnival's brand-new cruiser, the Magic, for a presser with Maroon 5, who are currently burning up radio and the iTunes with their hit single "Moves Like Jagger". The band is helping promote the mammoth new cruise ship - it's a monster of luxury, y'all - and they held a free concert within yards of the ship for people lucky enough to snag tickets to their hour-long concert. Tickets were given away through radio and other local outlets.
So yeah, waking up to drive an hour to Galveston, the morning after the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase proved precarious but was nothing caffeine couldn't fix. Plus, the girlfriend is a fan of lead singer Adam Levine's loins, so it was one of those required couples events. Shut up, dudes. One of my friends was pissed he couldn't go, and he's one of the biggest Maroon 5 fans I know with a penis, and I value his opinion.
There are plenty of bands who offer cruises for their fans, including Weezer and KISS, that make this frontier seem cooler to the rock crowd. Stuck on a ship with tons of fans of your favorite band. There was a booth at Fun Fun Fun Fest that was selling tours on the garage-centric Bruise Cruise with King Khan & The Shrines, Neil Hamburger, and Fucked Up.
The Magic was the first cruise ship I have ever set foot on, and probably not the last, considering I'm a fan of food, sleep, the wide open ocean, and more food. Oh, and there's a casino, what seems like a dozen bars, and a water slide. You can't gamble until you are safely out in international waters, and they wouldn't let me on the water slide. Check out some of the other amenities here. Totally promise I wasn't given any money for that plug.
The only downside - upside? - to being on cruise ship seems to be the lack of cell service, but there's a wi-fi and a few Internet cafes aboard to keep you satisfied. It resembled a Vegas hotel inside, with the bright green halls and all the gold trimming. The girlfriend kept saying "Ooooh" so I guess that means it's cool.
Boarding is kind of like getting on plane, but without the steamy pat-downs, though the teams of media folk probably didn't get the sexy treatment. The maze-like structure had us winded - thanks HPMA's.
Maroon 5 was mustered into the comedy club venue of the ship for a quick press conference-style Q&A session, with questions about the peculiarity of a huge pop-rock band on a cruise ship abounding, and of course, Levine's new season of The Voice, which is going into production this week, was a topic.
I got the balls to ask the band what moves like Jagger entail, and Levine's piercing good looks soon melted my camera. Also, when did my recorded voice start sounding like Paul Lynde? Damn you, Adam Levine, and thank you.
After the Q&A sesh, the band was whisked away to lunch and the rest of the media scattered to get ready for the show. We all go to shoot the guys leaving lunch and getting into car about an hour later, which made me feel like a TMZ reporter, though I didn't scream questions about ice cream and socks.
The show was set for 4 p.m. at the Pier 21 complex a few hundred yards away from the ship. Initially there was the dumb assumption the concert would be on the ship, which we now feel stupid for thinking. The logistics of getting a few thousand screaming women on a ship where they could corner the band in dark corners was too much to handle.
Their set was a nice smattering of new and old, with the band beginning with "Moves Like Jagger", with Levine dancing and jiving all over the stage to the delight of the assembled womens and men.
For some reason I felt Levine staring me down during the song, as if he was saying, "These are what Jagger moves are, you bald bastard..."
The band snuck in "The Sun" from their breakthrough 2002 album Songs For Jane, which seems to be a lost gem in their catalog. For all the constant swooning, which sadly began to override the music - no fault of their own- they do make sturdy pop songs. "Wake Up Call" from 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long is rockier live than on record, with Levine taking to guitar.
So what did I get from this adventure? Well, Maroon 5 are nice dudes, even if there are millions of guys who do not want them not to be. And they managed to turn a boring pier into a party, if just for an hour with some catchy slices of pop-rock. Will I be boarding a cruise ship soon? Yes, if I can bear to leave the lights and sounds of Houston for a few days. Maybe I can find a band to review on the ship, because I don't know what vacation means.
Personal Bias: Oh, you know.
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The Crowd: On the ship, a lot of older folks who are blessed with not having to work and some younger people who I envy for being able to eat ice cream and Indian food in the middle of the Gulf with not a care in the world.
Overheard in the Crowd: "He's so fucking hot," in regards to Levine.
Random Notebook Dump: Here's hoping for a future cruise featuring Motorhead, The Sword and the like. There's video poker in the Magic casino area so Lemmy should be fine.
Maroon 5 Set List (For My Friend Pony):