I have dragged out this final day as long as possible. I just want to relive it over and over. Where does Day Four MEGACRUISE end and Day Five begin? Somewhere around 5am, closing down the Bliss once again. I had to get a few hours sleep. I managed to get up in time for Armored Saint’s Q&A. I was headed straight to the coffee bar and the Armored Saint boys were there getting their coffee, chatting with fans and taking pics before the Q&A. It was awesome hearing questions from the youngin’s that are huge fans. Metal is timeless and appreciated by all ages. Mike Howe, frontman of Metal Church was in the audience and had a fanboy question. I love seeing legendary bands being fans, too.
Toothgrinder was on the Pool Stage at noon. It was awesome to see them in the light and with plenty of room for all that energy. I love their cover of “The Chain”. Toothgrinder is Jason Goss (rhythm guitar), Matt Arensdorf (bass, backing vocals), Wills Weller (drums,) and Johnuel Hasney (lead guitar, backing vocals). Justin Matthews (lead vocals) proposed to his beautiful girlfriend on MEGACRUISE that day and she said, “yes!” They are out on tour headlining a few shows right now, so check them out!
Where does Day Four MEGACRUISE end and Day Five begin?
Testament was up next on the Pool Stage. I decided to go up on the deck and behind the stage for a different point of view. I could see Jose Mangin, ‘Mr. Metal Ambassador’ of SiruisXM, out there in the middle of the crowd in the mosh pit, as always. I found out an awesome story later that goes with my images. A mom asked Jose Mangin if he would take her 13-year-old son into his first mosh pit. What a special moment for both of them. I’m not sure who was luckier: the kid that got first mosh pit experience with Jose Mangin or Jose Mangin getting the honor of being asked to be a mosh pit mentor.
I dropped in Dave Ellefson’s Bass Story for a few. I love hearing the stories of what went on back in the day and how he got where he is now. The last four nights of staying up until 5am were catching up to me, so I dipped out for an hour and I let my head hit a pillow before catching Suicidal Tendencies on the Pool Stage at sunset. I have seen ST many times in the last few years and they bring next-level of energy! Mike Muir made his way down to be in with the fans. Ben Weinman went climbing around the balcony. Google the video, it’s pretty awesome. He climbed down with a little help from his friends and crowd-surfed (with guitar) back to the stage. Ra Diaz went jamming through the crowd and into the pool. “What the hell is going on around here?”
We went over to the Spinnaker to grab a beer and check out some comedy. I’ll probably get a little flack for this, but Scott Ian was not ‘comedian-funny’ in my opinion. He had cool stories, but the crowd was giving courtesy chuckles. Sorry, dude, I love Anthrax and his guitar playing, but I’d leave the comedy to Brian Posehn.
Lamb of God went next in the Stardust Theater. It was pretty awesome seeing Art Cruz behind the drum kit as an official Lamb of God member. Randy Blythe told a few stories; one was about a prison guard in Czech Republic that would give Randy cigarettes cementing a bond in the prison. That prison guard just so happened to be on our ship to see Randy and Lamb of God. Randy then took us on a crazy journey inside his mind, cracking us up, talking about pirates, mutiny, taking over the Disney ship. Another video you should look up on YouTube, but maybe it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments.
Randy then took us on a crazy journey inside his mind, cracking us up, talking about pirates, mutiny, taking over the Disney ship.
Cruising around the ship I quickly became aware that it was ‘Costume Night’… I was cool with the kid dressed in an Eddie costume and, of course, Vic Rattlehead, but anything else in a mask gets me pretty ridiculous walking through the halls like a paranoid crackhead. No eye contact, head down, ignore them, maybe they won’t see me. Creepy clown dude was coming straight towards us. My heart raced and any rationale I had left jumped overboard. RUN! Creepy clown chased my friend instead and I somehow wound up hiding in an inlet with one of my favorite guitar players and he says, “I hate clowns!” OMG, me too! What just happened?? A bad situation turned awesome!
Beasto Blanco was the last band performing on MEGACRUISE 2019. It was my first time seeing them. Calico Cooper is gorgeous with her stunning costumes. Chuck Garric and Calico have a magnetic chemistry and Beasto Blanco put on a full theatrical show with costumes, props, fire extinguishers. I was exhausted at this point, but I couldn’t leave this amazing last show.
The karaoke bar closed early, which was bittersweet. I didn’t want this to end, but my body was saying it’s time to go home. Every minute of MEGACRUISE felt like I was in a dream. It was that fucking awesome. Favorite moments, you ask? Every single one. Metal, metalheads, live music, beer, food, rock stars everywhere for five straight days — does it get any better than that!? The people I met and the friendships that started are the best. I knew I would have fun on this cruise, but I had no idea that in my 49 years on this planet, that I would say MEGACRUISE 2019 was THE best week of my life.
Photography by Heather Vandemark