Bueños dias — Ensenada, Mexico! I actually never even left the boat. I debated going ashore, but there was so much going onboard that I wasn’t about to miss it. Day Four on Megadeth’s MEGACRUISE had a photo experience with Testament, Lamb of God (we all missed the LOG photo experience, we’ll get to that later), Doro and Brian Posehn (comedian and metal fan). I did hear some stories about tequila tasting bars and saw a video of Dino Cazares from Fear Factory doing an impromptu jam session on a tour bus.
I was so excited to get a photo with Testament, that I turned into a lame fan girl…
After coffee and ketones for breakfast, I headed up to the Fan Photo Experience. I was dying to get a photo with Testament! The line was quite long, but I was with metalheads — everyone was chatting it up. I was so excited to get a photo with Testament, that I turned into a lame fan girl: all weirded out, didn’t know what to say. Does that happen to any of you? I was pretty stoked when Eric Peterson recognized my hat and said “and there’s the hat!”. If you don’t know anything else about me, you may know I wear a ‘Rock the Ketones’ hat ALL the time. People don’t know if it’s a band or a drink. Mysterious, right?
Queensryche was on deck at the pool. Wait, what is happening? We couldn’t hear Todd LaTorre’s voice, but we could hear Casey not missing a beat. The mic cut out. Not a problem, because the fans picked it up. Another song, another mic cut. Third time, the crowd was ready and sang so loud. We just thought it was technical difficulties, but it turns out that it was the ship calling on PA for Lamb of God members. They were being held up on the dock for some reason.
We did dinner in the packed dining room. Holy shit — the boat was rolling! Fortunately, I was not one that went ashore doing tequila tastings. The ceilings were high and it did feel a little creepy like a Poseidon movie. Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but the drunk people were now walking in a straight line. Steak, potatoes and beer before heading into the next concert…
Lamb of God was going in the theater. Art Cruz, my favorite drummer, officially joined the band this year. Randy talked about the debacle, trying to get on the boat earlier. Armored Saint performed only once on the ship, after performing MEGACRUISE’s pre-party (with Kirk Hammett) and also at House of Blues San Diego with UFO while we were in port. With an almost full moon, it was a bit chilly and really windy on deck as we cruised the Pacific. Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan rocked the stage with their gorgeous hair wrapped around their faces at times from the wind. Like true seasoned performers, they didn’t let it stop them. Jon Bush has so much power in his voice, you can feel it in your bones. Gonzo Sandoval crushed the drums with a big smile on his face. “Reign of Fire”, “Can U Deliver” and “March of the Saint” were a few on the set list.
Frank Bello did his Paul Stanley impersonations, hilarious. Charlie Benante put on a Peter Criss mask.
Kiss All-Star Happening then went down in the Stardust theater. I love all star jams — who is going to pop onstage next? Thom Hazeart and Dave Ellefson, Ra Diaz (of Suicidal Tendencies), Doro, Mark Osegueda and Rob Cavestany (of Death Angel), Alex Skolnick and Chuck Billy (of Testament)… just to name a few. Frank Bello did his Paul Stanley impersonations, hilarious. Charlie Benante put on a Peter Criss mask. Todd LaTorre (of Queensryche) played drums, which was amazing! All star jams are just fun for everybody. Musicians just have a blast, no pressure, playing with friends or their idols. The fans sang songs we all know, loving watching everyone on the same stage.
The after party was at karaoke. The place was packed! Members of Death Angel, Testament, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, Mecanix, all hanging out. MEGACRUISE videographer Tammy Vega got up there with Alex Skolnick of Testament to do Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”. Tammy was all incognito on the cruise behind her camera, until her inner Tina Turner came busting out. So good! Alex may play lead guitar, but he’s got some sultry bass in that voice, too! Who knew?! They were an amazing duo! Another night of closing down the bar at 4am. You can’t go to bed; you’re on a cruise, hanging out with metalheads. You can sleep when you go home in a couple days! Tomorrow was our last day on the boat, so stay tuned for the final MEGACRUISE installment.
Photography by Heather Vandemark