70000 Tons Of Metal 2015 - Day Three: Jamaica And Back We Sail
|Event:||70000 Tons Of Metal 2015|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal|
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2015 - Day Four by D.T. Metal (251)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2015 - Day Three by D.T. Metal (265)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2015 - Day Two by D.T. Metal (313)
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2015 - Day One by D.T. Metal (243)
When a sea of black shirts invades the colorful island of Jamaica it can only mean one thing: the 70000 Tons Of Metal crowd has arrived.
The Liberty Of The Seas in Jamaica
While the organizer offered shore excursions with members of various bands (check here), I opted to sleep in and therefore only made it as far as Margaritaville after leaving the ship. A lot of metal heads did just that and the beach and restaurant was jam packed.
After a quick dip in the water and a bucket of beers, I made my way back to the ship because it was getting dangerous. Not because of the pushy sales people, but rather because the waitresses were pouring mix-drinks, straight out of the bottle, in one's mouth; for free I might add. So, while most were still on the island I took the opportunity to check out what else the Liberty Of The Seas had to offer.
70000 Tons Of Amenities
Well, actually 154,407 tons, since the new ship was much bigger than her Majesty Of The Seas. Not only were there more things to do but the comfort level surely surpassed the old boat. While time spent in the stateroom was minimal at best, I felt the cabins were much bigger and nicer as well. Might have been also since I was in one of the many balcony rooms, but I heard from others that even the "dungeon" ones were nicer.
The Royal Promenade was just flat out awesome; a multiple story open atrium that ran almost the entire length of the ship and meant to resemble a street with shops, restaurants and bars. The 24hrs Café, the English themed Hoof & Claw Pub or Sorrento's Pizza were not only heavily patronized but also great places to just sit and watch people. To be honest, I have no clue how the shops did, but the one who sold booze and smokes sure did pretty good since the prices were duty-free. While you don't get the booze you buy until you leave the ship, other things you can enjoy right away.
The Royal Promenade
The Royal Promenade
Pro-Tip: $36 for a carton of American made Marlboro is a steal; stock up if you are a smoker.
Other than the Pool Deck stage (and bar), the main draw on the upper decks was for sure the Solarium which also included two huge hot-tubs, somewhat overhanging on either side of the ship. The 'kiddie pool' area (H20 Zone) was always pretty packed as well, but with no real big swimming pool, this came to no surprise to me. Yes, normally there is a pool, two actually, on that deck, but due to the stage set-up, the two pools were covered, leaving only one big ass hot-tub.
Even though there was a small surcharge, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Parlor was a hit among the metalheads and so was the Cupcake place where you could design your own cupcakes. The Connoisseur Club, normally a cigar bar and one of the two indoor smoking places was also on the Royal Promenade, but since I am used to smoking outdoors I never even went into the place. I did however frequent the Casino, the other indoor smoking venue, but not to gamble, but rather to have a drink and socialize. Seriously, while the Boleros Bar was THE hang-out on the old ship, the Casino was the place to be on the Liberty Of The Seas toward the end of the night.
There was also a video arcade, a spa and fitness center, a miniature golf course, a huge rock climbing wall, a full-sized basketball court, and a surf-simulator. Like I said, the amenities were actually endless on the ship.
Once everyone was back on board, the first scheduled gig of the day was Artillery in the Platinum Theater. The first time I saw them with their new vocalist was at Barge To Hell in 2012 and I liked what I heard. Is it old school Artillery? No. But Michael does a great job bringing the old songs to life. Due to playing at the same time as Blind Guardian the day prior, I missed their first set where they played their 1985 debut album Fear Of Tomorrow in it's entirety. But songs such as "Khomaniac" and "When Death Comes" sounded great in lieu of.
The planned practice and the first ever 70000 Tons Of Metal Ice Hockey Championship was supposed to take place in Studio B, which was actually the converted Ice Rink of the ship, but the whole thing was cancelled and the bands who couldn't play on the Pool Deck stage the day prior played instead. Well, everyone except Grave Digger who were squeezed in on another day.
It somehow sucked for the bands playing in the Sphynx Lounge that day since they didn't just have to compete with the Pool Deck and the Platinum, but due to all the rescheduling, now the Studio B as well. To be honest, I didn't even make it into the Lounge that day but Matthew did, at least for Thy Antichrist and you can check some visuals here.
So, while Trollfest was the first band at Studio B and Jungle Rot in the Lounge, I opted to watch me some Pretty Maids on the Pool Deck stage since I missed them on the first day. The Danes are neither 'maids' or necessarily 'pretty', but they sure know how to rock. Some of their peers from Primal Fear as well as Destruction were hanging around the Pool Deck and enjoyed them as much as the rest of us did.
Pretty Maids also played one of their earlier albums in its entirety (1987's Future World) and songs such as "Future World" and "Needles In The Dark" still sounded good even though they clearly belong back in the 80's. Apparently this was also the first time ever that they played "Long Way To Go" live; wow.
I kept the 80's vibe going and went to the Platinum Theater to catch some of Whiplash's set. This old thrash outfit from New Jersey sure had their up's and down's over the years, but it's nice to see that they are still at it and it was a delight to watch Tony Portaro shred like there is no tomorrow. I left before the end of their set to hike back up to the Pool Deck where Maurizio with his Canadian death metal combo Kataklysm were getting ready to blow everyone's eardrums out. Always a pleasure to watch them, but in hindsight I should have went down to Studio B where Corrosion Of Conformity apparently tore shit apart; musically that is.
70000 Tons Of (Missed) Awesomeness
Ok, there are COC fans and then there is my cruise buddy Janet. Supporting the band in everything they do; driving or even flying to each COC gig she can; and no - she is not your typical 'fan-girl', she is the über-fan and developed a real personal friendship with the guys over the years. So much that they let her play the bass guitar on the last song of their set. Ku - fucking - dos to the entire band.
And to add insult to injury, I also missed my dear friend, and current Gwar front woman Kim Dylla, perform "Vote With A Bullet" with Corrosion Of Conformity.
Due to hunger I missed Threshold and while Arch Enemy played their second set of the cruise on the Pool Deck stage, I went to Studio B and watched a pretty amazing set by Amorphis. While they mainly concentrated on the albums with Tomi Joutsen, "Against Widows" from 1996's Elegy was a treat nevertheless. No big deal since it was announced that Amorphis would play their 1994 opus Tales From The Thousand Lakes in its entirety, I was fine with the selection of the songs this time around. I will be seeing them at Maryland Deathfest and wonder what they will pull off then. Anyhoo, while it would have been nice to watch them on the bigger Pool Deck stage, Studio B was packed and everyone had a great time.
I split before the end of their set since a bucket list band of mine was getting ready to shred in the Platinum Theater. Grave Digger
Intro and straight into "Hell Funeral", off their 2014 album Return Of The Reaper and it was obvious that the Reaper is back. Holy crap, the place went nuts. Chris Boltendahl was all smiles and clearly enjoyed himself as well but I couldn't help myself but smile when he sang "Witch Hunter". This song was released 30 years ago and he still has the same strong German accent when singing it. And speaking of accent; he also got the entire venue going with his Jamaican infused chant "The Grave Digger is on the cruise".
Since Manni Schmidt was also on the boat with
"Excalibur" is always a crowd pleaser and ending their set with "Heavy Metal Breakdown" off their 1984 debut album not only was the right choice but also gave the fans another shout along song before it was all over. Kick ass performance all around in part since Grave Digger really touched all eras of their discography.
Setlist: Return Of The Reaper (intro), Hell Funeral, The Dark Of The Sun, Witch Hunter, Ballad Of A Hangman, Season Of The Witch, Lionheart, Knights Of The Cross, Excalibur, Tattooed Rider, Highland Farewell, Rebellion (The Clans Are Marching), Heavy Metal Breakdown.
Wintersun was already playing on the Pool Deck stage and it was packed as well. Call Jari what you will … and on that note, congrats to him on "winning" the 2014 Drama Of The Year Award … but he IS one hell of a musician and Wintersun is great live. Fun moment was when Jari announced the next song being played 'Battle Against…' and made the crowd repeat the last word of the song title 'Time' and the dude next to me screamed "TWO" afterwards.
I didn't stick around that long though since I wanted to watch In Extremo who played at Studio B already. And by the shear amount of people there, I think whoever wasn't still at Wintersun was clearly watching the Germans; place was packed. Songs such as "Küss Mich" and "Feuertaufe" had everyone jumping and singing along. Yes singing! Either most in attendance were native speaking folks or tons of people knew In Extremo's lyrics. I watched some people jumping while they were trying to record the songs with their cellphone; no clue how this worked out for them. Seriously, if In Extremo comes to a town near you, do yourself a favor and go.
It was such a great party vibe and I had so much fun watching them that I missed the beginning of Behemoth's set who played in the packed Platinum Theater. And just as on the Pool Deck the day prior, the band played a flawless set. I think I would have enjoyed it more if the strobe lights would have been dialed down a bit, but hey, this was an ongoing issue with any band who played, so I won't even talk about it anymore. After my eyes adjusted again, I was ready for another dose of German metal; Destruction over at Studio B.
It's always nice to see Schmier and Co and as usual, they kicked some major ass; "Thrash Till Death" ya'll.
To all the internet critics/keyboard warriors who claim that Destruction would sound better with two guitars - suck it - Mike is the master of his instrument and the band sounds just fine the way they are. Songs such as "Nailed To The Cross" and "Mad Butcher" almost brought down the roof of the place with the mosh pit going strong almost the entire time. For the last 3 songs of the set, Schmier gave the crowd the choice on what they wanted to hear and while "Bestial Invasion" and "Curse The Gods" were two of the winners, they were on the set-list to begin with; nice touch though Schmier.
Destruction will be direct support to Sepultura on their upcoming North American tour and if you are a fan of thrash metal, this should be on your radar already. I for one am looking forward to this.
Before heading to Ensiferum in the Platinum Theater I strolled up to the Pool Deck stage where Apocalyptica were on their last song. I really thought it had rained since almost the entire deck was full of water. But no, it was the folks in the hot-tub thinking it would be fun splashing everyone within a 30 foot radius with water. idiots!
So, Ensiferum had the Platinum Theater packed since other than Helstar at Studio B there was nothing going on. I was actually sitting down while enjoying the Finns and not taking pictures of their set. In hindsight that might have been a bad move since I had a hard time getting up afterwards.
While Napalm Death was playing on the Pool Deck stage I really didn't feel like hiking all the way back up there and instead ended up at one of the bars … and it got blurry from there on out. I do remember hearing Divided Multitude in the distance while I had the last cigarette of the day before heading to bed. Sucks, since I really wanted to see them, and Einherjer for that matter, but my body had other plans.
Top 3 performances that day: Grave Digger, followed closely by Amorphis and last but not least a toss between In Extremo and Destruction.
Stay tuned for Day Four of 70000 Tons Of Metal and make sure to check out the photo gallery from Day Three.
Written on 14.03.2015 by
Former boss lady. Now just a professional concertgoer... dangerously armed with a camera!
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