70000 Tons Of Metal 2015 - Day Four: There's A Tear In My Beer
|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)
Read what happened so far:
The last day of the cruise is always bittersweet since … well … it's the last day. But it's also the day to catch bands which were missed previously.
Horns high for 70000 Tons Of Metal
Anvil was one of those which I had missed on the second day of the cruise but today's performance on the Pool Deck made up for it. The sun was shining bright and Lips and Co. had a great time on stage. Around since the 1800's … kidding …but despite the fact that Anvil has been around for several decades they showed no sign of slowing down that morning.
80's classics such as "School Love", "Metal On Metal" and "666" sounded as fresh as ever. Lips got the audience going when he 'sang' into his guitar and even more when he pulled out a dildo (!) from his back pocket, swiped it under his nose to check for residue smells (!) and used it to lay down an awesome solo. Yes, shit like this is sometimes the norm on the cruise.
It was windy has hell, but this didn't stop Anvil from putting down an awesome show. Lips was all smiles when he thanked the fans and organizers for having the band on the ship. "We love you man!" Seriously, it looked like he had a Botox procedure; the man did not stop smiling.
70000 Tons Of Back-Stage Passes
To be honest, most if not all the bands on the cruise shared his admiration for the 70000 Tons Of Metal concept since it's a vacation for them as well. Yes, they do have to perform twice in 4 days, but for the rest of the time the 'rockstars' are just like anybody else on the cruise.
Some even brought their wives/husbands or significant others to enjoy the amenities on the Liberty Of The Seas. Of course, by the sheer nature of their popularity, some were seen less than others; Michael Schenker being one of them. Arch Enemy's front screamer Alissa White-Gluz, who was accompanied by the one and only Doyle, was also only seen sporadically throughout the cruise.
Most band members mingled with us 'mortals' frequently and while the "Finnish Drinking Trio" (Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Wintersun) was unstoppable, Alestorm was equally social and couldn't be pried from the bars at times. Seriously, where do you have the opportunity to dine, freely talk to or hang out and party with the bands? Granted, the music cruise concept has evolved over the years and now there are several to choose from, but I heard that the 'free roaming of rockstars' model is by far the best on 70000 Tons Of Metal; the Original Metal cruise.
So, while Matthew (Matthewknowsphotos) was at Studio B for Triosphere I waited for Alestorm to take the stage on the Pool Deck; which they did, sans guitarist Dani Evans. Chris Bowes spoke for the band and let the audience know that "Dani was in labor and had a kid" or something along those lines and that their show was moved to 2am at Studio B. Of course, rumors galore after this announcement and while the majority of the cruisers speculated that Dani was too hung over to play, I also heard that he did have a medical emergency and was not able to perform. Either way, this might have been the BEST cancellation of a gig in history, since Alestorm's show at 2 in the morning was one of the best thus far.
And then the scheduling conflict happened once again. Due to the second day snafu with Grave Digger on the Pool Deck stage, they were squeezed in on the last day; meaning the set-times on the Pool Deck shifted to accommodate the band. While I had originally planned to watch another round of Lake Of Tears and some Suborned, the new schedule was too tight for this. Hence, after a quick lunch I headed back outside to watch the second set of Primal Fear.
As I already mentioned in the Day One Report, Primal Fear had been a 'bucket list' band for many cruisers and judging from the response the band got during both gigs I wouldn't be surprised if they will be asked to play on future sailings. It would have been nice if they had played a different set, it was the same as on their first gig, but other than that it was an absolutely brilliant performance on the packed Pool Deck.
Set-list: Final Embrace, Nuclear Fire, Unbreakable, When Death Comes Knocking, Angel In Black, Chainbreaker, Metal Is Forever, Running in the Dust (?)
While the famous Belly Flop Contest took place at the Solarium 'pool' I opted for a beverage break before heading to the Platinum Theater for Heathen's set which meant I, once again, missed Abandon Hope. But since the Bay-Area thrasher's sound was not all up to par on their first go around, it was an almost no brainer to support them once again. Good choice since they almost tore the roof off the place.
"Death By Hanging" off their 1987 debut album Breaking The Silence as well as 2010's "Dying Season", were received with equal enthusiasm by the fans; fist pumping and headbanging galore.
Guitarist and cruise veteran Lee Altus, who had been on the boat twice already with Exodus, had the time of his life shredding those Heathen songs live. And David White did a pretty good job hitting those high notes as well. They sounded much better than on their first gig but the amount of strobe lights was once again ridiculous. Aaaand this (strobe light) horse has finally been beaten to death.
I didn't stick around for Heathen's entire set since after my run-in with Ravn earlier in the day I was more than eager to let him surprise me.
So, there I was, strolling through the Promenade and stopping to chat with 1349's fill-in drummer Jon Rice, whom I know since the early Job For A Cowboy days. The entire 1349 clan was standing there, talking to some fans and before leaving I said: "hey, looking forward to your set later on", to which Ravn replied: "didn't you see our first one?", and I sarcastically responded: "nope, didn't see you at all since it was dark and red"
While the fans who witnessed this stood in shock 'n awe, Ravn just gave me a big grin, lifted his middle finger, and said: "let's see what we can do about this". In all fairness, some of the print magazines on board needed good 1349 pictures as well and already bugged their tour manager/light engineer to accommodate their request for better lighting.
Therefore, while Korpiklaani tried their best to fight the wind on the Pool Deck stage I was standing in the photo-pit, patiently awaiting the Norwegian 'light-show'. Well, 1349 can't have "Slaves" or be "Chasing Dragons" in rainbow colors, but this was hands down the best light I had ever seen them play in.
Then it was once again a toss of what to do. Cannibal Corpse were fixing to start their set on the Pool Deck stage, while "Jamming With Waters" was going on in the Platinum Theater. I opted to watch some Floridian death metal before heading over to the All-Star Jam.
Yay, Cannibal Corpse in full day light with the wind blowing like hell … but to my surprise the Pool Deck was not filled to capacity. George and the boys always bring it, but Alex had major issues with his bass during "Scourge Of Iron". Other than that, it was a flawless execution. Corpsegrinder was in his full element with: "stop asking for 'Freebird', you not gonna hear it from us" and things like that. But the funniest moment was when he dedicated a song to a fellow rockstar on board; "this goes out to my friend Patryk" (ed. Behemoth) and they played "Addicted To Vaginal Skin".
Unfortunately I only caught the ass end of the next event, but god damn, no wonder the Pool Deck was not packed to the gills, most of the people were in the Platinum Theater for …
70000 Tons Of All-Stars
Yes, this was clearly the place to be on Sunday afternoon. I remember when Annihilator's Jeff Waters did the same thing a couple years ago on her Majesty Of The Seas. Back then it was a two day event and on the first day there were hardly any people in the Boleros Lounge; the main hangout and Karaoke place on the old ship. Word got around and for the next Jamming the place was packed.
This year, the organizers dedicated the entire Platinum Theater for his "Jamming With Waters In International Waters" event; a show where the 'rockstars' on board were paired together to play some old-school, tried and true heavy metal and rock songs. This was not only a treat for the audience, but the band members had tons of fun as well. While the songs were predetermined (voted on by ticketed passengers) and the who-does-what as well, some surprises took place nevertheless.
I remember Behemoth's Nergal being all fan-boy when he sang Motörhead's classic "Ace Of Spades" with the one and only Cronus. One surprise was that Chris Boltendahl partook in the Jam since Grave Digger's Pool Deck stage performance was right afterwards. And seeing him on stage, together with Michael Schenker, during Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" was a treat to the ears.
Other highlights were Hansi Kürsch singing the "Immigrant Song"; great choice for the screaming part alone, and of course the mighty Max Cavalera of Soulfly doing his best Phil impression on Pantera's "Walk". So, dear cruise organizer, if Jeff Waters is up for this next year, PLEASE bring the All-Star Jam back.
While all those shows were going on, some artists also did clinics to either explain their craft or give helpful tips to the cruisers attending. Due to not feeling well, Primal Fear's new drummer Aquiles Priester had to cancel, but clinics with Origin's John Longstreth and Korpiklaani's fiddler Tuomas Rounakari, among others, went on with great success. Apparently Trollfest's Tamborine "clinic" took the cake that day and what started out as a "yes, we can do a clinic on board the ship" notion by the band turned out to be one of the most funniest ever.
Taken from Trollfest Official YouTube channel
Mad rush back to the Pool Deck after the All-Star-Jam, since Grave Digger was fixing to play their second set. And just like the day prior, the band started with "Hell Funeral" but switched it up with "The Round Table (Forever)" afterwards. Their set-list was almost the same and they just switched out a couple of songs; "Wedding Day" off 1993's The Reaper being one of them. Of course no Grave Digger set would be complete without the obligatory "Excalibur" and "Heavy Metal Breakdown".
Yes, Grave Digger as well as some other bands on the 2015 version of the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise were repeats from prior years, but each year there are also …
70000 Tons Of New Discoveries
Lesser or even unknown bands get the opportunity to perform on the cruise and make a statement with their music. To recognize those bands, some die-hard cruisers came up with the term "Cripper Award" in honor of Cripper, the first band who won the, back then, unofficial award for their 2011 cruise performance. Fast forward to 2015 and the organizers finally made this fan choice award official; albeit still run and decided on by the fans.
While over the years several bands 'won' the unofficial one (check here), the first official award went out to Izegrim who blew everyone away in 2014. And to commemorate this honor, Kim Dylla over at Kylla Custom Rockwear designed and made a jacket which will feature the winning bands logo and be handed over to the respective winner; Masacre (COL) from the way it looks like.
Not a newcomer by a long stretch and up next on the Pool Deck stage were Michael Schenker Group's Temple Of Rock combo and just as with their first performance, they rocked everyone like a hurricane before it was Therion's turn to play their second set.
In hindsight, I should have went to watch someone else, and not taking anything away from the band or the droves of Therion fans, but … so, there I was, sitting in the Solarium actually, and the sound traveled over the structure dividing it from the Pool Deck area. You know when it's summer time and you have your windows open at night and you get woken up by the sound of two cats fighting? Yes, it sounded somewhat like that.
Realizing I haven't had dinner yet, I unfortunately missed some bands and made it back to the Pool Deck for another dose of Annihilator; with Coburn Pharr once again taking over the vocal duties on a couple of songs. Maybe I didn't notice it last time, but Mr. Pharr was sporting a huge Band-Aid on his chin … wonder what happened.
Annihilator was running late, and not just a little bit, like 30 minutes or so and what would have worked out quite nicely, turned into a "dammit, Venom is on in the Theater" situation for a lot of people. Yes, the "Thank You" speech by Skipper Andy was scheduled right after their performance and I guess due to already being late, he opted to thank the cruisers right before their last song.
He didn't make a lot of fuss - said his voice was almost gone - thanked everyone for attending - announced that this year's cruise had people from 70 nations on board - and ended with "you are the United Nations of heavy metal - thank you". Huh - That's it
To say that a lot of people were displeased with such a short speech was an understatement. While in prior years he at least announced the dates for the next cruise or even the destination, nothing was mentioned this time, and as of press date, there still is no official word on when and where, just a countdown timer on the home page.
It was actually funny to see tons of people leaving afterwards, be it because of the disappointment or because they were heading to watch Venom, who already were well into their set. Thankfully there was a gap in the Pool Deck stage set-time and the last band on the outdoor stage was the unofficial headliner, Blind Guardian.
Kudos for playing a totally different set this time around; well other than crowd favorites "Valhalla" and "Mirror Mirror". Hansi had just as much fun as last time, engaging the audience to either sing along with him or by giving one of his famous intros to songs. Among the highlights was: "now that we come to the end of the trip, we decided to play a depressing set - to make you feel even worse" but he also mentioned that he hopes to come back and play again on the cruise. Yes please; that's fine with me.
Unfortunately the wind really had picked up, maybe because we were hauling ass back to Florida, and depending on where one was standing, the sound was not as good. I didn't have an issue with this and moved around to find the sweet spot during their set. While Blind Guardian omitted one of the huge audience participation songs in their first set, the entire Pool Deck was in unison for … "The Bard's Song". Seriously, who doesn't know each and every word of this one? Awesome performance by the band and fans alike.
Set-list: Sacred Worlds, Born In A Mourning Hall, Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill), The Script For My Requiem, Mordred's Song, Traveler In Time, This Will Never End, And The Story Ends, Lord Of The Rings, Imaginations From The Other Side, Valhalla, The Bard's Song - In The Forest, Mirror Mirror.
No clue how many people were at Studio B for the second Claim The Throne or in the Lounge for Gurd for that matter, since both clashed not only with Blind Guardian but with their countrymen Destruction as well. While Schmier and Co were supposed to be the last band on the cruise and even had merch which stated this fact, things didn't work out due to Alestorm's mishap earlier in the day. Regardless, the German Thrashers gave all they got and delivered a great set.
So, Alestorm … never in the history of missed shows anywhere, was it better to play at 2am in the morning compared to on a bigger stage during the day. This was THE best Alestorm show ever. Studio B was not just packed, it was overflowing. During one song of their set almost everyone in the mosh-pit sat on the floor and was rowing; funny as shit. Seriously, not to take anything away from Destruction but this was the perfect ending to an awesome cruise.
Afterwards, people were either hitting the sack, trying to score the last slice of pizza or heading into the Sphynx Lounge before the cruise came to its end.
Top 3 performances that day: Blind Guardian, Grave Digger and Primal Fear.
Make sure you also check out the photo gallery from Day Four
Now, I decided long and hard to even bring this up again ever since I hinted on divulging some Karaoke madness; courtesy of the Finnish Drinking Team members, Ensiferum's guitarist Markus and none other than Wintersun's mastermind Jari.
While the nagging question of "circumcised or not" falls under the "what happens on the cruise, stays on the cruise" clause I will just let the below picture speak for itself. Ladies - THIS is what you missed.
Screenshot from the Day 4 Recap on 70000tons.tv
So, this wraps up yet another successful 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise which leads to …
70000 Tons Of Reflections
While this year's cruise was great as usual, I do have to deduct a couple points for the lack of variety on the food at the buffet, the overuse of the strobe lights and the Lounge used for the ever so popular Metal Karaoke. The organizer actually did send a Feedback Form to all cruisers; let's see what happens. Other than that it's hard to pin down my personal performance highlights of the cruise; there were just way too many.
Behemoth stepped up their game and delivered two awesome sets, Wintersun and Arch Enemy equally so and while Venom sounded as fresh as ever on the Pool Deck stage, so did Primal Fear and let's not forget about Amorphis and Korpiklaani. Or the 4 in the morning gig by Municipal Waste and watching Heathen after quite a few years. Exciter was a dream come true, Gurd surprised the shit out of me, Destruction as well as 1349 are always a pleasure to watch and it was great to see Michael Schenker Group's Temple Of Rock. See what I mean; it's impossible to narrow this down.
But the German in me sure as hell enjoyed each and every minute of Blind Guardian, Grave Digger and Refuge.
In closing, below are some things to consider if you want to be part of this epic adventure in 2016:
and last but certainly not least and most importantly
If this sounds like something you can deal with, then check the 70000 Tons Of Metal website frequently for upcoming booking information and band announcements. In addition follow their Twitter feed and "like" their Facebook page to stay up-to-date on what's going on.
Written on 04.04.2015 by
Former boss lady. Now just a professional concertgoer... dangerously armed with a camera!
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The Ancient One
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