Chapter 3: Take a Break: You’re in the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands – Day 3
By Gilberto Morais
Good Morning pals!
7:00 AM: we had just arrived to Grand Turks, our destination! Metal oriented Cruise Ships means tourism too! And we thank the organizers for the break and letting us have the opportunity to take a rest, relax and enjoy the natural beauties of this wonderful place.
TOURISM IN TURKS AND CAICOS:
Like the boarding procedure in Miami, I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to the promoters for a smooth, fast and efficient disembarkation in this beautiful island. No need to take a boat to leave us on shore. Besides, you could leave the ship (or not) anytime you wanted, respecting the embarkation limit of 3:30PM, time to be back aboard! At 4:00 PM, the ship should sail back on the way to Miami and it did punctually.
Having that said, have you heard of the Turks and Caicos Islands before?
If not, please let me tell you a little bit about this exquisite group of islands, laid between Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Being artist, crew, press or regular guests, it doesn’t matter; it was time to go sightseeing, relaxing, etc. After all, humans need leisure time for a while.
Personally speaking, I got up later and went immediately to a bar called Margherita and had a lot of those outstanding Piña Coladas, made of typical Caribbean rum along with tasty spicy chicken wings as appetizer and had animated conversation with two Brazilian friends who were with me during this event.
As time passed, the bar was getting packed! Suddenly, Markus Grosskopf (Helloween) showed up and took a seat next to our table. He remembered me from the past night and we had a small talk in German.
It was noticeable the amount of artists who were walking around or merely having some spirits. Among them, I saw Peavy Wagner (Rage), Andi Deris (Helloween). Later on, Sy Keller and Nige Rockett (Onslaught)were laying down and enjoying the sunlight on their beach chairs. I didn’t want to bother anyone else and most of all, this was my unique chance to taste and enjoy the green and blue Caribbean sea. Wow, I had a ball! Watching the shoaling swimming around me, I was sure the paradise still exists! To sum up, I was completely astonished at the water temperature (perfectly balanced) combined with the air temperature. Absolutely amazing! It was a pity, time‘s up and I must go back to the ship!
CONTACT WITH ARTISTS DURING THE EVENT
I’m sure you already asked me how long it will take to describe you how it was the relationship between fans and artists aboard. Well, just three words: THE BEST POSSIBLE! Aside the designated and strict Meet & Greet, you are also allowed to keep in touch with your favorite idols. Everything works as if we were on the backstage. In fact, the organizers encourage you to bring your own memorabilia to get signed and so on.
Have you run into someone you really love? No sweat! You may have a talk; ask for a photo, autograph, as long as they are not busy with something else at that time. As far as I could see, most of the guys were really nice to our requests, way down-to-earth and easy going. Be polite, nice and if you notice you’re bothering them or if they’re busy with most relevant things, just leave them alone and everything will be fine. Don’t worry! There will be another opportunity, if it didn’t work out for the first encounter.
Apart their jobs, they are also enjoying their vacation and taking this opportunity to have a great time. Just be little patient and you’ll see the results. Maybe someone well known might ask you, if you don’t mind sharing the same table for a drink or meal. Believe me, that happened!
To sum up, you will see them everywhere! I’m afraid you certainly miss this fact, when you get used to.
Well, Time to go through what you are waiting for: THE SHOWS!!!
FATAL SMILE (5:00 –5:45 PM) – SPECTRUM LOUNGE
Please take note of the following rule before reading the rest of the review:
The Days 3 & 4 are exclusively dedicated to the second sets of every band presented on this amazing cruise ship festival. No news concerning the whole cast, just the same bands that got on stage previously.
This second appearance of the Swedes took place once more at the Spectrum Lounge. In fact, Fatal Smile was one of the few bands which didn’t play indoor and outdoor concerts as expected. Being a not well known band in American soil, the attendance was poor. Hence, the venue was wisely chosen! Lucky, the band and crowd could feel the atmosphere of an intimate gig. Not bad for their fans!
Back to the show, because I had lunch later and the service took that long, unfortunately, I missed the first fifteen minutes of their second performance on 70.000 Tons, however, there is no further info to be added and said, referring to any improvement concerning the past concert. As far as I recollect, there was a slight difference on their setlist. Was SOB omitted? Or maybe played at the beginning of the show? Not sure about it! I noticed the same good ones as part of this gig: „Run for your Lives” and the ballad dedicated to Ronnie James Dio with the same speech by Blade, the singer, honoring our hero. Btw, nice words and respect for this beloved human being. Besides, at the end of the set, the band performed the first single of the new album „21st Century Freaks“, the track „Welcome to Freak Show“ instead of the quoted „SOB“, which enclosed the preliminary appearance.
I wish the guys of the band all the best and look forward to getting back on track. Maybe they may put a new album out as good and powerful as „World Domination“ and perform that tight sleazy/ hard rock stuff as the old days. I’ll keep on supporting them, despite these only regular shows. Because of their previous appearances, they still deserve one more chance.
ANGRA (6:30 – 7:30 PM) – POOL DECK
I know people keep on being too curious to know whether Angra would unveil some surprise during this set. Would they finally play their hit „Carry On“? Why did the vocalist Carl Casagrande (Stormborn, ex-Scelerata) quote he would be along with Angra for 70.000 Tons of Metal shows? Was he a special guest or maybe the new singer of the band? The answers come up next!
First off, the rumors of the new singer keep on being a secret for all of us. Fabio Lione performed the entire set and there was no participation of Carl as a vocalist at all. As far as I could see, he has been working as a crew member of the band, perhaps as a tour manager.
Their second gig was not different than the first one. To start off, they played basically the same tunes, except one or two songs from the first show. Once more I got really impressed by Fabio Lione’s top quality performance. Although I wonder he should have learned all the tracks at the Eleventh Hour, he seemed a permanent member of the band for such a long time.
Last but not least, let me introduce the special guest of this gig: no one other than the beauty Courtney Cox from the female tribute band, Iron Maidens, you know who the chicks stand for. Oh,yes, they played a Maiden cover: „Wasted Years“. Not only the band but also Clarence Cox performed pretty well on this tune! Her solo was perfect note by note! Absolutely amazing!
Enclosing the set, their second most known and requested track „Nova Era“. No encore and the outro were coming out from the PA: Gate XIII. Having that said, „Carry On“ was not really performed! Nobody knows for sure, why they have cut it off. Anyway, IMHO, the band played way better than the first appearance and looked more confident. Hope they keep on being active from now on and the bad times are gone!
METAL CHURCH (7:30 – 8:30 PM) – CHORUS LINE THEATER
That goes without saying, Metal Church was one of the long awaited shows of the whole 70.000 Tons. At this time, they would vary their set consisted of the entire classic „Metal Church“ album performance.
Nevertheless, our staff had the happiness to notice the lead singer Ronny Munro was warming up and wearing a Wikimetal T-shirt given the past night a couple of minutes before getting on stage. We really appreciated it, you’re the man!
Well, what I could tell about this performance in particular that would be necessary? There are no words to describe what I have eye witnessed! The Metal Church debut album is absolutely outstanding from beginning to end, including the powerful cover of „Highway Star“with no keyboards (only guitars on this tune) which was available in some versions released worldwide.
Jay Reynolds, Steve Unger, Ronny Munro and Jeff Plate highly honored this masterpiece which the original lineup created and brought us an amazing and unforgettable experience.
Please do yourself a favor and don’t miss their show for the very first in Brazil at Live and Loud Festival for nothing, you‘ll not regret it! Besides, it’s obvious for now, this was not sort of one-off show and the band is craving for regular tour basis. Thank goodness, I am lucky enough to check one more performance out recently confirmed at Headbangers Open Air Festival, closer to my home address.
Going back to this show, there was time left. That’s why they played a bonus for the audience: The title track of the „Human Factor“ album. May this reunion last forever!
DORO (8:30 – 9:30 PM) – POOL DECK
I have never attended a Doro’s gig that would end up being less than excellent! She never lets you down and, believe me, she gives 110% to please her audience! No matter, if there were several lineup changes, she knows exactly how to meet the right guys for the left positions. That’s the secret of her regularity!
Although I’d rather Warlock than her solo band material, the aforementioned balance between her tunes and her ex-band on the setlist makes me feel so good to my heart content. She never relegates her past and overall, look to her present and future way too clear and knows exactly what she’s doing. She picks the best tunes of her solo career up, which are essential for her set, combined with Warlock classics. Absolutely perfect!
Talking about Warlock, I love listening to songs like „Hellbound“; „Fight for the Rock“and mainly „East meets West“ and the opening track of this set: „I rule the Ruins“ presented to us during this set.
Back to Doro’s camp, the highlights were once more the brand new track „Raise your Fist in the Air“ and the WOA anthem „We are the Metal Heads“. Btw, Top form performance of the whole band as always!
ONSLAUGHT (9:30 – 10:15 PM) – SPECTRUM LOUNGE
I’ve been always on the run and 5 minutes prior to the end of Doro set, I left the Pool Deck Stage and went downstairs straight to the Spectrum Lounge.
Although I have already travelled to Braunschweig , Germany to attend the entire The Force set for the past year, I was looking forward to checking it out again and I didn’t regret it! Definitely not!
Being one of my favorite Thrash albums ever and having this chance coming out again , I wouldn’t miss it easily. This 7 track record was responsible to increase their fan base, especially in countries like Netherlands and Belgium. According to them, one of the highlights of their entire career was the appearance back then at the Dynamo Open Air, Holland, where there was a sea of Headbangers eager for their straight thrash metal stuff and of course, it was during The Force tour. From the first song „Let there be Death“ with its long amazing headbanging riff intro to the last one „Thrash till the Death“, was there anything better left you might expect from this British institution?
The answer is YES!!! Like Metal Church, there was time left for a couple of songs and they played „Power from Hell“. The gig was tight and solid and I noticed an huge mosh and circle pit was formed in the middle of the standing area. Pure chaos and a hell of fun! As it was mentioned before, only Kreator could surpass it! Let’s see whether the Germans went well later!
HELLOWEEN (10:30 – 11:45 PM) – POOL DECK
Finally, I got suitable time not to quit any of my favorite shows and proceed to the next one in a hurry. 15 minutes left between the end of the Onslaught set and beginning of the next gig.
Helloween performed a similar set than the first one. As far as I’m concerned, maybe they haven’t played the new track „Burning Sun“. Andi Deris even mentioned he was having a great time during the cruise ship and talked about hangover. Pure German!
Generally speaking, the quality of this appearance differs not too much from the first concert. It was OK, however, to tell you the truth, I expected much more from them. Anyway, I give them enough credit, because this was barely one-off or warm-up shows and sort of vacation. I am sure they may be better and tighter for the Hellish Tour, which is about to come.
The highlights of the setlist was „Eagle Fly Free“, „Power“ and the hits from Keepers of the Seven Keys era („Future World“ and „I Want Out“).
LACUNA COIL (11:45 PM – 12:45 AM) – CHORUS LINE THEATER
As the Italian band took me by surprise for their first set , I have made up my mind giving another try watching them live, although I was starving and willing to have food immediately up to that point!
To my surprise, it was not like the previous gig! I assumed: if an open air appearance was that great, Lacuna Coil would burn this place to the ground at the indoor Chorus Line! And no, it was neither hot nor precise as the concert I attended at the Pool Deck. Weird! A mistake.
Anyway, I followed the whole set until the end expecting it might get better and better, which it didn’t occur. It’s a pity! The first impression was the best possible. From now on, I would think it over, while attending a Lacuna Coil show.
HELSTAR (2:30 – 3:15 AM) – POOL DECK
Being an huge Helstar fan, who followed the band several times either in Germany or in the Netherlands, I wouldn’t miss any of their shows for nothing, however, I needed to have food, drink and take a shower and rest promptly. There’s no bad time for me, when the subject Helstar come up with. Definitely not, No discussions!
Anyway, while I stayed in my cabin, I was getting lazier and lazier, considering in quitting this gig! Fortunately, I changed my mind and went upstairs to the Pool Deck stage.
First of all, this set was slightly different as James Rivera previously stated. The opening track was the kick ass „Angels Fall to Heaven“ from „Glory of Chaos“ album and suddenly I realized how lucky I was to have the chance of attending an amazing spectacle like this, no matter for the 6th time, it never gets boring! On the contrary, it is always a pleasure for me to watch their concerts.
To tell you the truth, every time I watch songs such as „Baptized in Blood“ and „To sleep per chance to Scream“ performed in this set, I got really nuts and lose control of my mind! It never gets dated; this feeling is not easy to be described. There are only a couple of bands which still make me fell this energy, Helstar is one of them. Lastly, this show was way better than the first one, surpassing all my expectations and the sound quality was absolutely perfect! That said, I will never forget it! Thanks guys, for providing us a tight set once more. Can’t wait to listen to the brand new album, count on me on your shows, no matter where you book the gigs, I‘ll always make it up for you!
KARAOKE (Midnight – End) – BOLEROS
Lastly, I haven’t quoted anything about the Karaoke up to now! Well, it took place daily at Boleros from midnight till the end. I’ve got no further information which band members showed up and the performance of the ordinary passengers. I did not hear anything negative about weird chosen songs by the artists who exposed themselves, nor the chosen ones off the crowd. Anyway, it should have been somehow funny for sure! Expect songs you would never wonder your favorite artists would pick them up for regular gigs. You never know how this would end up being!
Click here for Chapter 4.
COMING UP NEXT: CHAPTER 4 –NO WAY! THIS IS THE FAREWELL! – DAY 4 & Post Event
SPECIAL THANKS: Allison Painchaud (The Ultimate Metal Cruises)
Jan Rosenberg & Björn von Oettingen (CMM Marketing)