ShipRocked: KoRn Fights Seasickness but Fans Rage On

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A few weeks ago, Rocks Off's Kevin Ramer shoved off on the 2012 edition of ShipRocked, which bills itself as "the ultimate rock music cruise vacation." These are his reports.

After a long first night of partying and concerts, Shiprockers woke up in the southernmost part of the United States: Key West, Florida.


ShipRocked: Hard Rock Hijinks On a Big, Big Boat

For breakfast we had the choice of sitting down at one of the MSC Poescia's restaurants or going to the thirteenth level, where the buffet line was open 24 hours. It seemed the majority of people had built up an appetite for eggs, toast, sausage, cereals or fruit to begin their day in the Florida Keys.

Many rock stars were seen around the town doing some shopping or having a drink at a local pub. Being able to interact with famous musicians in that atmosphere made this trip that much more surreal.

Quickly, everyone headed back aboard to start the trip to the Bahamas. As the boat sailed away, Lit took the Monster Energy Deck Stage and put on a show that inspired many fans to begin their drunken debauchery immediately.

With lead singer A. Jay Popoff running around the stage with bottles of wine or Jagermeister in his hands, the band created the atmosphere for a good party. As they played some of their more famous radio hits from the late 90's like "My Own Worst Enemy" or "Miserable," the crowd's voices singing along were almost louder than the PA onstage.

Next was the cruise's first official meet-and-greet, located in the disco on deck 14 and featuring members of Five Finger Death Punch, Filter, 10 Years, In This Moment and The Letter Black. Fans began lining up along the outside deck a few hours before the announced 4 p.m. start, with the line winding around the smokestack and along the rails.

The event was structured like a backstage meet-and-greet at a concert tour - almost a conveyer-belt system, if you will. Fans entered one side of the disco, where the bands had set up shop in different corners of the room, while a professional photographer was on hand so all the guests could take home a few momentos of their favorite rock stars.

The big disappointment of the day came when the band many fans seemed to really want a picture with, In This Moment, had to slip out of the meet-and-greet early. The band's manager said they had to meet with some media, which had affected their schedule for part of the day. All the other bands stayed and met everyone waiting in line, allowing many, that once in a lifetime photograph with the entire band.

At the same time as the meet-and-greets, Gilby Clarke was on the Deck Stage rocking out his solo material as well as a few old Guns N' Roses songs from his mid-'90s stint with that band. Christian rockers P.O.D. followed, gathering a huge crowd for their first of two Shiprocked performances.

P.O.D. seemed very energetic and excited to be aboard the cruise this year, which their performance made very clear. Vocalist Sonny Sandoval bounced all over the stage, and even made his way into the crowd to sing with the audience. The band put forth 110 percent, and the audience gave the energy right back as the wind off the ocean ripped across the stage, creating even more of a rock and roll tropical vibe.

Sandoval even helped stage a wedding proposal of a fellow Shiprocker. Right before the song "Lost In Forever," Sonny went into the crowd and handed a fan in the crowd his microphone. The guy then knelt down and proposed to his girlfriend, who accepted.

Following P.O.D. was a band called The Halo Method, in their first-ever live performance. The group is comprised of members from Papa Roach, Evanescence and Rockstar Supernova, and was a big treat for those who got to witness their debut show in the Atlantic Ocean.

Other acts performing that evening included In This Moment, Fuel, Queensryche's Geoff Tate, Filter and finally the mighty KoRn at 10:30 p.m. in the Carlos Felice theater. The ship was rocking even before the hard-rock legends went onstage, but as soon as Johnathan Davis picked up the microphone the theater erupted into a frenzy of excitement.

The band was amped-up and smiling, and simply rocked the faces off everyone watching their performance. This was an amazing KoRn show, and not just because we were on a cruise ship.

A few moments before the show, KoRn bassist Fieldy said he was not feeling well due to the motion of the ship. "The theater looks just like any other theater we've played, the only difference is I get a little nautious and dizzy," he said. "We are in the ocean and the boat is rocking, so I feel a little off. Once we get up there and start rocking, I hope I'll forget all about it."

You couldn't tell at all, because Fieldy was nearly breaking his bass strings as he blasted out song after song. (His queasiness did prove that rock stars are not completely invincible, though.) An hour into KoRn's set, everyone was waiting for one particular song, and we got it as an encore. As Johnathan Davis brought out the bagpipes for the intro to "Shoots and Ladders," their sound seemed to echo thru the entire ship.

After exerting all of our energy and most of our voices during KoRn's performance, at midnight Andy Wood's Lonely Yacht Club Band performed all kinds of ocean tunes dressed in sailor outfits, which everyone in the Pigalle Lounge knew and loved. At 1am was the late-night deck party, where the bars stayed open for all the extreme party people.

Others decided to try and get in a few hours of sleep, as Thursday promised a true highlight of the trip: Nassau, Bahamas, and more than half a dozen concerts still to come.

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