Photo by Michael Weintrob

Mark Brown ("The man" - Jam Cruise, Cloud 9 Adventures)

1. Having a conversation with Michael Franti on the pool deck before their sail away show from the Grand Cayman islands and hearing him pretty much free styling our conversation into one of his songs. It was a perfect show with the sun shining as we sailed away. Also loved the shoutout/standing ovation he gave to the Clean Vibes crew who worked their asses off making sure all bottles and cans from the cruise were being recycled.

2. Speaking with Brownie this past summer about his idea of a special project for Jam Cruise and seeing the Brain Damaged Eggmen come to fruition late night on the pool stage. The Beatles set blew us all away. What a fun show of Beatles tunes done in an Umphrey's McGee/Disco Biscuits style and followed by an awesome set of Floyd.

3. We received request from a few artists to have a stage setup specifically for spontaneous jams. This idea sounded like a natural especially with over 100 talented musicians onboard. This room turned out to be a huge hit and every time I walked in, amazing collaborations were taking place. Really one of kind shows sometimes with over 15 players on a tiny stage in front of intimate crowds loving every second of it.

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Photo by Dave Vann

Matt Hogan (SCI Fidelity)

Jake Cinninger, Jeff Coffin & Jen Hartswick
Photo by Dave Vann

1. Umphrey's McGee – Pool Deck, Monday January 9th
If we're taking everything that goes into a concert experience into account – music, location, vibe, friends, etc – this was quite possibly the greatest rock concert I've seen in my entire life! After spending a restful day in Jamaica (where an amazing beachside massage helped to recharge my batteries), the Umphrey's boys took the energy of that entire ship and sent it into another stratosphere. These were two, flat-out DIRTY, rocking, poignant, funky-ass party sets from UM, and the "Tell Me Something Good" (Rufus feat. Chaka Kahn) cover with Jennifer Hartswick & Jeff Coffin was just unbelievable. The show kept rolling until around 4:30 a.m., and people were still thirsting for more!!! Umphrey's Muthafuckin' McGee!

2. The Jam Room
This was by FAR the best addition to Jam Cruise this year. A plethora of instruments were left in The Cabaret, where a revolving door of musicians were able to sit in to create spontaneous magical musical moments. If, at any point on the cruise there was a moment of down time, you could always say, "let's see what's going on in the Jam Room," where you would inevitably find some of the world's greatest musicians tearing it up with each other. I can't really remember many of the exact lineups, but hopefully some tapes will start circulating, so you can hear for yourselves. Steve Kimock, Eric Krasno, Ron Johnson, Brad Houser, Rodney Holmes, Adam Deitch, Jason Hann, Papa Mali, Karl D., Cheme, the guys from New Monsoon, and pretty much every other musician on the boat spent some time killing it in the Jam Room, which also turned out to be the latest-running party each night. Simply incredible!

3. Costa Maya, Mexico
It seemed unanimous that this was the best port Jam Cruise has ever visited. As the last stop on the trip, Costa Maya gave cruisers a chance to check out some beautiful Mayan ruins, and still have plenty of time to relax on a beautiful white sandy beach, which was in eyeshot of the MSC Lirica. Those of us who opted to lounge around the beach all day long were treated to a rainbow sighting over the boat, crystal blue waters, a super-relaxed vibe, and some of the BEST fish tacos & guacamole I've ever tasted! And oh yeah, the TEQUILA!!!

Ugggh … just 3? In that case, honorable mentions have to go to Brain Damaged Eggmen (WOW!!!), DJ Williams (he's a guitarist, folks! Incredible sit-ins everywhere, and his solo acoustic set gave me chills!), Gomez, Digable Planets, Bassnectar (DJ Lorin) and the Blue Room Disco, Michael Franti & Spearhead, the steam room, sunrise, and the entire staff of Jam Cruise 4! To everyone who was on the boat, y'all rock, and I can't wait to do it again next year!!!

Photo by Dave Vann


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