The final day of ShipRocked was spent cruising the waters between the Bahamas and Miami. The day was the last opportunity to let loose before returning to reality, and things kicked off just before noon with meet and greets in the Headbanger Lounge with all of the ship's headliners.
Perhaps the coolest part of the ShipRocked experience is that there is no 'backstage'. From the buffet to the casino to all of the performances, the familiar faces of everyone's favorite artists were there to hang out with fans. The meet and greet lines wrapped around the boat regardless, serving as a great opportunity to finally get a full group photo with each of the bands.
Activities across the boat kept people entertained before the music started, with the Meliti Drum-Off for the drum savvy ShipRockers, and a beer pong tournament overlooking the ocean at the Great Outdoor's Cafe. Digital Summer kicked off the music for the day on the Monster Deck Stage, with new fans gained at their Headbanger Lounge joining old fans to watch the talent of 12 year old drummer Austin Rios backing the catchy tunes. The Deck Stage kept on rocking with Crash Kings up next.
Crash Kings definitely had some unique characteristics, specifically in the fact that they had no guitarist. The 3-piece consisted of Antonio Beliveau (lead vocals/keyboard), Mike Beliveau (bass/backing vocals), and Tom Roslak (drums). Their strong performance proved that guitars weren't a necessity and I'm sure the audience watching them could say the same.
A brief break from the music allowed time for the Cancer Sucks charity auction, giving fans the opportunity to bid on signed guitars from all of the artists, autographed Mayhem and Uproar festival memorabilia, and the generously donated signed sketches of Sevendust provided by an amazingly talented ShipRocker. The auction proved to be a success, raising a record breaking $140,000.
The weather took a turn for the worse for the first time all cruise when it was time for UK rockers Young Guns to take the stage. The band jokes about bringing their dreary English weather when they finally played outdoors, but that didn't stop anyone from rocking out to hits like "Towers" and "Bones," feeding off of the contagious energy of the band.
The Atrium played host to sets from Tremonti and Living Colour, allowing a chance to witness rare intimate performance from the band. Texas natives Scorpion Child brought their 80's style rock to the Headbanger Lounge, followed by yet another great set from Love & Death. Unfortunately, the final deck shows of the night with Candlebox and Sevendust were cut short due to weather. As a result, the Stardust Theater was packed to capacity to see Art of Dying and Papa Roach.
Art of Dying played to an audience of eager and energetic fans singing back their lyrics. They incorporated some acoustic songs into their set once again and were sure to try out their new song once again. It was clearly received well the first time around, with fans singing along to the lyrics they could remember. The lights from the indoor theater complimented their already energetic show, bringing the performance back to a "typical" concert environment as opposed to a stage on a beach.
Finally, Papa Roach closed out the concert cruise with one last show in the Stardust Theater. The California 4-piece decided to switch up their set list this time around and came out in full swing with the first single off their newest record, "Still Swingin'." They also threw in "Lifeline" and "Hollywood Whore" for this set, which they didn't manage to play the first time due to time constraints. Again, Papa Roach's energy on stage cannot be contained. So much so that front man Jacoby Shaddix jumped off the stage and into the crowd on numerous occasions. He ventured up and down the sea of people followed by camera flashes of those wanting to document the moment. It seems as though the Stardust Theater was the perfect place for bands to truly interact with their fans.
The whole time the cruise was floating along, it was fairly subtle with the exception of those that were extremely sensitive to it. On this last night, however, EVERYONE felt the boat. Whether it was from the choppy waters or from the energy from the Stardust Theater that night, rocking out on a boat was taken to a whole new level. That didn't stop Shaddix from leaping around the stage nonstop, delivering an insanely energetic show that was considered by many to be the best of ShipRocked 2014.
Papa Roach closed out their set with crowd favorite "Last Resort" and before we knew it, the concerts of ShipRocked 2014 had come to a close. The night was still young and people made their way out to the various bars around the boat to live up their one last night. Finally, the Atrium Stage hosted Andy Wood's All-Star Bash, during which members of every band participated. These final performances of the night included classics like "November Rain." Words cannot do justice to the feeling of the surreal night, with talent from across the country singing together as one tight-knit ShipRocked family.
You get only get a small perspective on what happens on this cruise from these reviews. If you are a rock concert lover, you need to put this trip on your bucket list. Even if the bands on it aren't necessarily your favorite, the things you experience here are ones that you'll never forget. You get to meet people who are just as dedicated about music as you are and you truly do become one big family. It's bittersweet that this is the review of the last day, but all good things must come to an end... Until next year of course!