The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2015 – Review
Day 3 - USA
April 20th 2015

By Day three of the Cruise the casualties are mounting, from the lines of the walking dead at the breakfast bars you know that for some the party didn't stop last night and the sight of those too loud and awake to have ever indulged is just as bad. We walked the line and ended up just the right side to take in the opening act of the day - Whitesnake's new guitarist (and Nightranger's old guitarist) Joel Hoekstra on the main deck. While some are heading for, or have already headed off ship for the Blue Lagoon trip (we looked and it looked great but the lure of Beach Games and a sandy Meet and Greet was trumped by extra breakfast and a nice relaxing wait for the Tom Keifer Q&A.



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The Tom Q&A is actually quite good too even if Riki Rachman does hog the questions for himself initially. It's out on the deck though where Frank Hannon and friends really hit the high notes on the high seas (I tried to stop writing that) – it’s great to see Tesla's guitarist in full flight joined on stage for some real rock standards by the guys from Nightranger and the ever present Dave Meniketti! Seeing them lay down some Hendrix and a little Aerosmith had to be one of the absolute highlights of the Cruise. As a complete contrast Honeymoon Suite in the Theatre a band we've been pestered to watch in the build up to the event are rather disappointing and lacklustre. The same can't be said for the Winery Dogs whose second set in the Theatre is even better than their previous outing on the pool stage. They are quickly topped though by one of our absolute picks of the Cruise along with Tyketto - when Babylon A.D. take to the Atrium Stage to reprise their midnight performance from day one they look born to it - it's almost like witnessing a world that might have and should have been. They put on a show that doesn't dip or falter at any stage and the sheer strength of the material is awesome. If you haven't seen these guys live they are an absolute must and one of the bands you can physically see turning heads and making new fans. For a long-time fan like me to finally see them it's actually far more than I dared hope for - as well as the better known rockers "Bang Go the Bells" and "Kid Goes Wild", slow numbers like "Desperate" still can stop a room and "Shot 'O' Love" is still one of my favourite songs from the whole of eighties rock.

We interview Derek and Robb from Babylon A.D. later and they are full of enthusiasm and so they should be - let's just hope they follow in Tyketto's footsteps and get a bigger stage next year. You can also pick up the new album "Live@25" from their website – a great live set that is pretty much what we got on the cruise.

Outside it's Queensryche following up from their stunning pre-party set that continue to excel - tearing through their glorious back catalogue in fine style with new frontman La Torre doing a great job, it is odd to think though that soon ex-vocalist Tate will be the only one able to perform 'Mindcrime', their best known work. I'd not hesitate to say that these guys certainly sound like they've many years left on the clock - roll on the new album.

Krokus for some are one of the wildcards of the Cruise, probably the oldest band here these Swiss metallers have been out there longer than AC/DC (for those that level AC/DC copyists accusations at them). They are one of the highlights of the trip – crisp and loud and non-stop, no-nonsense rock and roll! After that high it's time for another with Extreme on deck at the Pool stage playing the "Pornograffiti" set (well so we thought). To be honest after the last time I saw Extreme (at Rocklahoma a few years back when Gary had a go at the crowd) I wasn't sure what to expect – but the crowd gives them love and they give love back and even though we get neither all of "Pornograffitti" or it in order an hour seems like enough for some bands.

At this point we have to highlight the Dio Charity Auction that took place and we rushed to in the Atrium – presided over by Ronnie's widow Wendy, this even and the others on the Cruise ended up raising thousands of dollars for the Cancer Charity. We even put our hands up to help! Sadly we have to tear ourselves away to see the ever-excellent Kix – it's always a pleasure and always a thrill to see those guys stride the stage, as it is to see our main man Mike Tramp acoustic straight after on the Atrium stage where Tramp regales us all with tales of life and belts out the classics like no one else.

It's at this point one of those Cruise impossibles happens – do you see Black Star Riders on the smallest stage you will ever see them? Bang Tango play the jazz lounge? Or John Corabi play the Atrium after Trampy? We're almost torn in three by the decision so take in a few songs of the Black Star Riders before the oxygen threatens to give out in the room, then head to see Bang Tango's current day line up belt out the old and the new to a suitably passionate response. Indeed Joe is on fine form tonight with his between-song banter and ex-Dio man Rowan Robertson adds some great guitar to the sound but it's the metallic bass that sucks the funky life out of a band that once sounded so unique and we head to see the tail end of John Corabi's set in the Atrium which is rocking off the dial.

Derek St Holmes in the Pantheon Theatre is a treat for the ears at the end of the night, while some of us head out on the high seas again and the subtle charms of Faster Pussycat – a band who know their limitations but always manage to put on a great show all the same, like the external underdogs I always feel that Taime and Co would survive that Nuclear Winter along with the cockroaches and they'd still be partying by the time the Zombies hit town. Whether you chose Derek St Holmes or Faster Pussycat the only way you could lose would have been to choose sleep!

Read our review of day 1 of the Monsters Of Rock Cruise HERE
Read our review of day 2 of the Monsters Of Rock Cruise HERE

Review & Photos by The Rockpit