For the mere act of transporting us from shore to shore we can thank Carnival Cruise Lines. But for making this cruise a special cruise, about you and me and the music, and not just an ordinary cruise, we have to thank Simple Man Cruise. And for the money they’re laying down to charter this wonderful cruise, we have to thank Sixthman.
This cruise turned out to be four days of nonstop music and sun and fun. I even told my editors I’d need a week to recuperate when I got back. They thought I was joking! Obviously these wankers have never been on one of the Simple Man Cruises.
Billed as the Simple Man 2009 Cruise, it was hosted by Lynyrd Skynyrd. We were due to cast off at 1600 hours, and when we weighed anchor it was to the sound of music on the Lido Deck. But you could hear the music from anywhere on the ship, as long as you were outside. And who wants to be inside on a cruise? Four days of maximum sun is the sure cure for four months of snow up to your ass.
Four days on a cruise should rate two weeks to recuperate. There are times when men and women in combat will go for three, sometimes four days without a break, without sleep. To think that your body is moving for that long with little or no rest is scary! Even without the combat. After the third day I had to be reminded to take it a little easier. And what was reminding me was my whole body: It was tired. Beyond tired. But don’t pity me. It’s like the old guy with a 25-year-old hottie, it took three undertakers to get the smile off his face.
I’m gonna come right out and say it, people. This Lynyrd Skynyrd Simple Man Cruise was just phenomenal. Phenomenal that Simple Man Cruise arranged the perfect weather. Phenomenal that Simple Man lined up the perfect music Obviously, Lynyrd Skynyrd were the stars of the show, but lemme tell ya, straight up, they had to work to keep their star billing. The other acts were breathing down Skynyrd’s neck the entire time. “No prisoners!” was their war cry. Any band that slowed down the chase would have footprints up their back and down their front.
Somebody asked me as we were leaving the Marshall Tucker performance, “Who’s your favorite on the cruise?” I told her, “Marshall Tucker!” The next day, as we were coincidentally at the Oakhurst performance, she asked the same question, and I replied, “Oakhurst!”
Check out this lineup: Lynyrd Skynyrd; Marshall Tucker; Molly Hatchet; 38 Special; Blackberry Smoke; Bang Camaro; Tom Hambridge and the Rattlesnakes; Oakhurst; Jupiter Coyote; Leslie; Gareth Asher; Defense Wins Championships; Brian Fechino; Heather Luttrell; Pat McGee; Scott Munns; Francisco Vidal; X Brothers.
I knew some of the lineup, but the ones I didn’t know before this trip are double the ones I knew or had even heard of. Man, I had to do some quick research, and then naturally I was forced to actually watch all their performances! I mean, I had no choice, right? I mean, it’s my job, isn’t it? [Wink, wink!]
I can say that every one of these musicians and groups who appeared put on great shows. Even the bands whose music I didn’t particularly care for I thought were great.
Lynyrd Skynyrd performed twice, but each person could see only one performance. The venue they appeared in, the largest on the ship, would not have held that number of people, so there was simply no way to fit all the partyers … I mean, passengers, yeah, that’s what I meant … into the place. Of course, I had to try to weasel my way in to both performances, but the lady wasn’t having it. She sneered so beautifully. Not really, just my humor. I did try the old “But I’m a journalist …” ploy but the lady was adamant. I got thrown out before I was even in.
Of course I had to drown my sorrows, so I just strolled up to another deck and listened to some really great, different music. And if I wanted to, I could even skip up to another deck and listen to some other, really great, different music.
I truly am unable to single out any particular performance that was better than the others. And that’s the way I have to leave it. The fantastic sunny weather, the great music, the great staff on the Carnival ship, the food, the company, the endless food, the fresh soft ice cream. Of course the best part was when you paused and thought, “Let’s see, what do I have to do today?” You pause again, pensive, then break into a wide grin, “Oh! That’s right. Nothin’!”
If any of the groups I named above appear in your area, I urge you to make it a point to see them. They're worth the drive. They've all got websites – just do your homework!
And all this fun and sun and suds is down to Simple Man Cruise!