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01.18.2010
Gaelic Storm on The Rock Boat
(From the Rock Boat X Blog)
These moments are unpredictable and unexplained, can last for a second or for hours, and will stay with you forever.  These are the moments you’ll look back upon next week when you go home and try to explain how great The Rock Boat is to your friends.  It’s these moment you’ll go to when sitting at your desk counting down the days to The Rock Boat 11.  It’s these moments that you’ll dream about for years, and it’s these moments that you’ll tell your grandkids about one day.

I had one of those moments while on The Rock Boat X, so I’d like to try and explain in words how incredible it was while it’s still fresh in my memory.  On the Rock Boat, we’re so used to things going wrong (weather, missed ports, etc.) that nothing surprises us any more.  We lost two whole days of Lido Deck shows due to weather, we had to cancel the beach party we had worked so hard to prepare, and practically every show on the last two days had to be rescheduled for a new time and location.  None of that is new.  What did surprise me was how many things went right on Friday night for Gaelic Storm’s St. Patty’s Day show up on the deck.

Although the weather gods generally frown upon The Rock Boat (it must be jealous), they did give us one single night of reprieve, where it wasn’t too cold, didn’t rain, and the ship was sailing through calm waters.  Because the weather held up, it seemed like all 2000 people on the ship were up on the deck wearing green and chomping at the bit to watch Gaelic Storm make their first official performance on TRBX.  Anticipation for this concert began WAY back in march, when Gaelic Storm swung by the Sixthman office to make a videoannouncing the theme night and threw their full support behind it.

Fast forward to Friday night, January 8th. The whole Sixthman team took the stage to raise a glass and “cheers” our hosts for that night.  We could have said anything into that microphone and the crowd would have still loved us – that’s how excited they were.  After we left the stage, Gaelic Storm walked out while their intro music played…I’m On A Boat.

Whenever an irish folk band walks onto the stage while a fake rap song is playing, you know you’re in for a treat.

What transpired over the next two hours was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever been a part of.  After everything had seemingly gone wrong in 2009 (the economy tanking, people losing jobs left and right), this show felt like a huge pressure release valve had been opened.  The crowd danced and sang at the top of their lungs, and Gaelic Storm fed off of this energy to give one of their most spirited performances in memory.  To borrow a quote from my favorite movie The Shawshank Redemption:
“I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.”
Sure we might not have been trapped in a prison like those guys in Shawshank, but we certainly allowed ourselves to feel free of any sorrows for those two hours.  There was a small contingent of us Sixthman employees standing way at the back of the deck, and after two days of unfortunate weather (plus the announcement that our beach party the next day would have to be canceled), we needed to blow off some steam.  We all began doing some variation of the Irish Jig and danced around in a tight little circle like little kids, laughing and smiling and taking a break from the pressure that comes with coordinating a 2000-person floating music festival.  As others walked by to see what all the commotion was, they saw how much fun we were having and decided to join us.  Within a few minutes, it seemed like half the deck had turned into a human-whirlpool of fancy footwork.  It was awesome.

I will never forget this night, and the way it made me feel.  If you were on the ship and at this show, you know what I’m talking about.  This was my favorite moment from any Sixthman cruise because so many things had to go right for it to happen the way it did.  It was a perfect (Gaelic) storm of weather, crowd interaction, performance, release, happiness, and enjoyment of life.

I want to know your “moment,” from TRB X or from ANY cruise you’ve been on.  When did time stand still for you?  What’s the memory you always go back to when you need a pick-me-up?
-Steve
 
Oh, and Simple Man Cruisers – I can’t wait for you all to have a “moment” coming up this weekend on SMC 2010!  See you soon.

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