Honesty first: This will be a brief overview that will eventually link to more in-depth posts about some of the bands that performed on the 2014 Cruise to the Edge. Just figured I'd get that out there first, okay?
If you look at this 'poster' for the event:
You might recognize one or two bands that performed. Recognize five or more, then hello there, fellow prog fan! Yeah, so this means that it was not going to be your ordinary cruise and it was not going to be populated with those who have a preferred station on the radio that plays all their favorites, all the time.
Nope, prog fans are used to not seeing their favorite bands play sellout crowds in arenas, or hell, even getting to see their favorite bands perform live. As a result, this cruise was like Mecca-the opportunity to have all prog, all the time. On the DEFCON scale, Ed would be one of those solid 5's-he is well versed, keeps up on the new releases, who is playing with what band nowadays. He even had given me the heads up that Dave Kerzner had left Sound of Contact about 2 months before we embarked, something the average person would say 'who?'. Me, I'm a solid 2.5: I know far more than the average person, love the genre as a whole, but I don't have the time to keep up with the ins and outs of who is in which band. That said, I really do love the genre.
Which is why as soon as Marillion was announced as the second bill act, I knew we had to go. Back in 2012, we had tickets to see them play in DC, but had to pass on going. If there was a 'do-over', this cruise was certainly going to fit the bill. Thankfully, my friend Allen offered to stay with boys and even was the one who said to 'go book that cruise already', and we're damn grateful for that insistence that we go.
Five days, 26 acts, Roger Dean, and host Jon Kirkman. I don't think there are enough hours in the day to see them all. We talked about two weeks before going and made a mental list of 'I'm not going to be upset if we miss...' and came up with a list of five that were definite passes. There just wasn't enough time. Another act got moved into the 'definitely skipping' after the act's manager bombarded a FB group for the cruise with 'you have to see this show!' multiple times a day, but the corker was 'this band doesn't bore you with 7/8 music'. Um, hello? We're all coming FOR the 7/8 music! We made a list of must see shows and kept that short.
The reality of our health issues is that if we push ourselves too much, it takes several days to get back to some semblance of normal. I brought the scooter in the hopes that it would keep pain and fatigue at bay. (It did a respectable job, but I'm still recovering). Still, my goal was to see about 15 of the acts, Ed's about 18. We both came close-I ended up with 11 acts (13 performances), Ed saw 13 acts (15 performances).
The ones I got to see:
Steve Hackett (twice)
Sound of Contact
If you do a breakdown by cost, I spent under $100 per show. When you live in central Florida, to see a show typically involves a drive to Tampa or Orlando-so there's $25 in gas. Add parking at a venue and a meal, and you're already close to $100 for one show, even if the tickets were free. That $86 per show also included our food-so I am comfortable with saying we shelled out $50 per show-and there was NOT ONE dud performance.
Over the next few days, I'll probably do reviews by day-and add pictures or videos as possible.
I think it's safe to call this experience, the Woodstock of prog, without the mud, and the crowds, and long lines for food and bathrooms...