M.O.R.C. Day 4. – Labadee, Haiti

U.D.O., Mike Tramp, The Rock n Roll Residency, Tesla, Tom Keifer, Y&T, Saxon, Tora Tora

February 27th, 2019

Labadee BayBee!

Was there a day on this cruise that wasn’t beautiful?!  Looking off the side of the boat and setting eyes on the little coves and bays that make up Labadee was a great start to the morning. But before I got to put feet on land, it was day two of my Meet & Greet Shoots.  Today I was the photographer for the Pink Cream 69 M&G.

Pink Cream 69

After the shoot, I still had one more task before I jumped ship and that was to inject a little Metal into my morning with U.D.O.!

U.D.O. – Studio B

Udo Dirkschneider – Vocals, Andrey Smirnoff – Guitar, Dee Dammers – Guitar, Tilen Hudrap – Bass, Sven Dirkschneider – Drums

Along with Saxon, U.D.O. were the other band on the boat that truly brought the METAL!  Untethered from the shackles of his former band, Accept, Udo now has a focus on his own material, and rightly so.  He’s created an amazing catalog of songs since his days with his former band and released 16 albums of solo material!

It was a bit jarring to see Udo hobbling around the boat and on stage with his crutch, but this little powerhouse of a man still has that amazing screech of a voice that distinguishes him from a lot of his contemporaries who can’t quite reach the vocal highs that Udo still so effortlessly achieves.

 He’s got a young band around him with the veteran of the group being guitarist, Andrey Smirnoff, who loves to mug for the crowd (and the camera).  His son Sven, is still anchoring the kit, keeping it a family affair.  They were definitely a great way to get the blood flowing and I recommend them more than any alarm clock I’ve ever had to use.

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MIKE TRAMP – Island Stage – Labadee

Mike Tramp – Vocals/Guitar, Oliver Steffensen – Guitar

I never had the opportunity to catch White Lion and I will always be bummed out by that. It was Mid 80’s when I first heard “Broken Heart” (the first iteration of the song) and, being a sucker for those big chorus, rock songs, I was hooked immediately. Of course, “Pride” and MTV blew the band up immediately, but I was always a sucker for the following two albums, “Big Game” and especially the heaviness of “Main Attraction“.  

Well here I was on a beach in Haiti, in front of Mike Tramp with an acoustic guitar.  Was it going to help me get over seeing the band in their Heyday?  Not quite, but it definitely put me at ease getting to hear Mike put an acoustic spin on some of those great songs.  He told stories of meeting “The Great Vito Bratta“; Defying the record company to put out songs that had more gravitas to them; and how he seemed to have a lot of interesting encounters on the MORC elevators?!  

Oliver Steffensen joining his friend, Mike Tramp on stage.

I throughly enjoyed this show.  After all the running around from rock show to rock show on the boat, I actually did feel relaxed standing in the sand getting to listen to a more mellow show.  I’ll have that Labadee, Island Stage memory with me for a while…He brought out his best friend, and Freak Of Nature bandmate, Oliver Steffensen a little later to accompany him on a few songs.

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THE ROCK N’ ROLL RESIDENCY – Island Stage – Labadee

After Mike was done, the guitars were plugged back in and it was time for The Rock N’ Roll Residency to take the stage.  Created by members of the Gene Simmons band, Jeremy Asbrock and Phil Shouse, the band lists an amazing number of guests that join them occasionally to jam some of rock’s greatest songs. 

Today was no different as, during my short time watching them before I had to head back to the boat, they brought up on stage, Mike Tramp (to jam on a cool version of “Radar Love“), John Corabi, Tony Higbee & Billy Mercer (Keifer Band) Brent Woods (Sebastian Bach) & Jimmy Chalfant (Kix) among others.  Such a fun band with a lot of energy.  They are a party unto themselves.

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TESLA – Pool Stage

Jeff Keith – Vocals, Frank Hannon – Guitar, Dave Rude– Guitar, Brian Wheat – Bass, Troy Luccketta – Drums, (with Guest Appearances from Guitarist, Pat Travers and Def Leppard Drummer, Rick Allen)

TESLA!  One of my Top 3 favorite bands of all time; Out on the pool stage, jamming’ into the wind like the Rock Gods they are!  I’ll start off by saying that this was a much more mellow setlist than I’m used to seeing out of Tesla and it’s my bad for not catching them indoors for their first show on the boat which seemed to include more of their up tempo hits.  But alas, any day getting to see Tesla is a good day.  This one started off with a nice surprise as guitar legend, Pat Travers joined Frank Hannon and Dave Rude switching off on an extended, multi solo version of “Cumin’ Atcha Live“.

After that the crowd was treated to “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out“. The middle part of the set started with new song, “Taste Like” from their just released album, “Shock” which led into a lengthy stretch of their mid tempo, slower songs like “Need Your Lovin‘”, “Stir It Up“, “Caught In a Dream“, “Call It What You Want“, “What You Give” and “Love Song“.  

I’ve seen Tesla few times over the years and I’m not sure if it was due to the songs in this set, but Dave Rude fucking SHINED tonight. He was front and center quite a bit and was just bursting with personality and style.

Their first set on the boat had been rescheduled due to Jeff being ill, but as always he sounded incredible and gave his usual amazing performance.  He just comes off as the kindest soul. During their Meet & Greet he was one of the few artists who actually greeted every fan with a handshake and asked what their name was.  

The show was bookended with another surprise guest in Def Leppard Drummer, Rick Allen, who came out and joined the band for “Little Suzi” and set closer, “Signs“. 

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TOM KEIFER – Royal Theater

Tom Keifer – Vocals/Guitar, Tony Higbee – Guitar, Kory Myers – Keyboards, Billy Mercer – Bass, Jarred Pope – Drums, Savannah Keifer – BV’s/Percussion, Kendra Chantelle – BV’s/Percussion

Running from one side of the boat to the other, there were a couple of shows I ran into just to grab a few pictures as I’d already seen the first set and had to whatever was next on the schedule. I arrived just as Tom and Savannah were performing “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)“. 

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Y&T – Studio B

Dave Meniketti – Vocals/Guitar, John Nymann – Guitar, Aaron Leigh – Bass, Mike Vanderhule – Drums

Another show that was a quick in and out was Y&T’s set in Studio B.  A band that if you only can see a few songs of, you see those few songs.  

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Luc Carl bringing out Saxon

SAXON – Pool Stage

 

Biff Byford – Vocals, Paul Quinn – Guitar, Doug Scarratt – GuitarNibbs Carter – Bass, Nigel Glockler – Drums (Guest appearance by shredder, Courtney Cox)

The second Saxon set was very different from the 1st.  With an endless amount of killer songs to choose from, it only made sense. What didn’t change was the great performance by the band.  Biff, still sounding and head banging like his 20 year old self, Nibbs Carter on bass going insane and getting a workout on the stage.

At the end of their set they were joined for the crowd favorite, “Denim and Leather“, by Femme Fatale & Iron Maidens Guitarist Courtney Cox (Seriously!?  Not “Princess Of The Night“?!).  It was a nice way to thank Courtney for lending Paul her guitar during the Cruise (Apparently Paul had a mishap at some point and Courtney and Ace Von Johnson stepped up to lend a hand).

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TORA TORA – Studio B

Anthony Corder – Vocals, Keith Douglas – Guitar, Patrick Francis – Bass, John Patterson – Drums

With such a small discography, Tora Tora sure are a loved band. I guess that proves it’s not the size, it’s what you do with it.  A bunch of people kept telling me to catch them if I could and I was lucky I did as I was heading off to meet up with some friends and got side tracked into their show.

A lot energy from the band and they whipped the crowd up into a frenzy.  I won’t pretend I’ve followed their career prior to the boat (outside of knowing their song, “Walkin’ Shoes“), but seeing them on stage kicking’ ass gave me an appreciation for them.  I’ve vowed to check them out when they hit my area next. 

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(Click Dates/Links to be directed to that day’s coverage) 

2/23/19: M.O.R.C. Pre-Party 2 – Magic City Casino, Miami, FL

Diemonds – Black ‘N Blue – Kingdom Come

2/24/19: Day 1: Embarkation, Sail Away

DL&T – KIX – Kings X – Vixen – Faster Pussycat

2/25/19: Day 2 – At Sea

Soto – Pink Cream 69 – Brighton Rock – Skid Row – LD&T – Tom Keifer

2/26/19: Day 3 – Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Femme Fatale – Extreme – Richie Kotzen – Bulletboys – Rose Tattoo – Y&T – Saxon 

2/28/19: Day 5 Coming Soon

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