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Cruise To The Edge 2019

Steve Hackett and others live: Cruise To The Edge 2019

Impressions from Steve's shows and further highlights of the Cruise

The Cruise To The Edge, which is –the- institution among the prog cruises, has gone into its sixth round this February. It followed the same route as previous year’s cruise aboard the same ship, the Brilliance Of The Seas, and took place from February 4 to 9. The ship called at Key West, Florida, and Cozumel, Mexico.

1Many of the bands aboard had played on previous cruises, too: Dave Kerzner, Airbag, Enchant, Spock’s Beard, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy and others, and, of course, the eponymous Yes. Marillion did not join this year, but Fish was set to participate until he had to cancel for personal reasons only a few days before the cruise started.

Our Steve Hackett was invited, too, and played his first shows this year. It was not really the kick-off for his tour, though, because both line-up and set were quite different from what has been announced for the shows starting in April.

4The band had simply not had the time to rehearse the full albums of Selling England By The Pound and Spectral Mornings. Besides, the tour drummer, Craig Blundell, was still touring with Steven Wilson at the time, so Steve engaged Marco Minnemann who also drummed for several other acts on the cruise, e.g. The Sea Within and Dave Kerzner’s In Continuum. And Marco is a blast! Watching him reminded me of The Animal of the Muppet show. Jonas Reingold played the bass guitar (and will continue to do so throughout this year’s tour).

Unlike his predecessor Gary O’Toole, Marco does not provide any backing or lead vocals. This means that we got to hear Nad Sylvan sing Blood On The Rooftops for the first time. It sounded very clear and clean, I must say, particularly in the high passages, e.g. “for when we got bored / we’d have a world war / happy but poor” where Gary would be squashing a lot. The second show had a Durga and Lorelei McBroom, who were aboard as members of Dave Kerzner’s band In Continuum, as guests; they added backing vocals to Every Day.

2Once again, both shows had very different sets:


Dance On A Volcano
The Steppes
Firth Of Fifth
The Musical Box
Supper's Ready

Los Endos


3El Niño
Fly On A Windshield / Broadway Melody of 1974
(Vocals Nad)
Firth Of Fifth
Blood On The Rooftops
(Vocals Nad)
Shadow Of The Hierophant
In That Quiet Earth / Afterglow
Every Day
(Vocals Nad + McBroom sisters)
Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
The Musical Box

Los Endos

6Steve also guested at the show of Dave Kerzner’s In Continuum. Steve added his typical guitar sound to their current album Acceleration Theory (the track Crash Landing), and at their concert, too..

There was another item in which Steve participated: As on the last cruise there was a Q&A session with him and Roger Dean, who also exhibited his paintings and drawings in a gallery. They did not have a host, but asked each other questions about their creative process.

7Steve told a story about how he contracted a fever on a trip into the swamps while he was playing the Acoustic tour at Borders bookstores in New Orleans and only got rid of it when he ate some chicken soup and had a dream in which he heard a beautiful aria – from that moment on, he said, both fever and pain had gone, music being like a medicine. To which Roger noted that it was a question of whether music had healed the pain or whether the end of the pain brought about new music.

As for the other bands, I had a much stronger feeling on missing something this time, one reason being that the cruise started about eight hours later. The ship had not been able to come into Tampa port because of morning fog on Tampa Bay so the passengers of the previous cruise could not disembark. The upshot of this was that the first day’s programme had to be cut down and/or postponed. We saw Pendragon play at 2a.m., for example.

Most shows that had been scheduled for the first day, including Hackett’s first show, were made up for in the following four days, so that the programme on board during the days in port was even bigger. I had had no intention to see the places, anyway. Apart from the big shows in the theatre with Yes, Hackett, and Jordan Rudess (keyboarder with Dream Theater) you have to focus on a handful of things.

8Or you just amble through the ship and drop in here and there. I sort of stumpled on Unikue – five guys with nothing but ukuleles, a female singer, and Nick d’Virgilio on drums. They were playing The Cinema Show! Apparently they play only covers from anywhere in the prog world. Or you happen to be there when Thijs van Leer (Focus) and Rachel Flowers play together for the first time, with him on the piano and her on her flute. Rachel has made a name for herself with her own songs as well as with covers of ELP and Peter Gabriel songs. Brand X got to play three performances in the end. I got to see one of those, where they played one of my favourites, Nuclear Burn. And So To F was played at one of the other shows, apparently.

I caught little of the Late Night live sessions, but they were another good opportunity for hobby musicians to get some of the professionals to play along with prog classics. I saw one interesting performance, though, when Joe Deninzon (Stratospheerius, In Continuum) played the full Domino on the electric violin. He played a very impressive solo in the instrumental passages of The Last Domino that really brought this song to life. As one of the main acts, Jordan Rudess payed homage to Genesis by playing Entangled at his keyboard solo shows.

10As usual the date of the next Cruise To The Edge was announced before the end of this year’s cruise. The 2020 Cruise To The Edge will take place from 3/27 to 4/1, on a different ship, and it will start from Miami (as in 2014 and 2015).
Right after the Cruise To The Edge another ship went On The Blue Cruise from Miami, with mit Justin Hayward, Dave Mason, The Zombies, Alan Parsons – und Steve Hackett. As far as I know he played similar sets there as well.

Notes from the Editors: During the first Blue Cruise Show Steve and his band played Out Of The Body and Serpentine Song in addition to the first set on the CTTE. The setlist of the second show swas the same as the second show on CTTE.

Author und Photos. Volker Warncke
English by Martin Klinkhardt


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