Reviews > Shows
Seas the Moment (Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise)
Photo by Laura Carbone
Heading out of JFK International with Hurricane Sandy barreling towards the East Coast, my brother Mike and I embarked on a journey to San Juan, Puerto Rico to be passengers aboard the 19th Southeastern Caribbean, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
Making our way on board we immediately went to the pool deck where we were surprised to see that there were very few people. Then we realized this was because the first performance was about to begin, so we made our way straight to the on-board venue, appropriately named the Revelation Lounge.
There we waited eagerly as Trampled Underfoot took the stage with our carry-on bags in one hand and complimentary champagne in the other. With the powerfully smoky and soul driven voice of lead singer/bass player, Danielle Schnebelen, the band opened the first set of the week with a swingin’ blues joint that cuased the crowd to erupt, making drinks run dry, and starting the ship’s week long dance marathon in all the right ways. Trampled Underfoot’s style through the week varied from swingin’ blues to jump blues to slow and smoky blues- all done with charisma and welcoming warmth from the incredibly talented family band out of Kansas City, MO.
Three times throughout the week, in the ship’s 900 capacity, red velvet Celebrity Theatre; a man whose name is synonymous with Rhythm and Blues, Taj Mahal, put on a blues clinic. The Taj Mahal Trio treated the theatre each evening to everything, including standout versions of “Sitting on Top of the World,” “Fishing Blues,” “Queen Bee,” “Leavin Trunk” and “Spike Driver Blues.” The trio’s performances were incredibly heartfelt and true to the essence of blues. The 70 year old guitar/vocalist led bass player Bill Rich and drummer Kester Smith with ease, swagger, and charm. The magical Taj Mahal Trio was able to transform the largest theatre on the ship into an intimate, invite only blues club for all who attended.
Drawing the largest crowds throughout the week, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, mesmerized even the most hardened blues fan with every song off of Revelator, soothed the soul with a tease from Bill Withers “Kissing My Love,” shook the R&B fans with a tight cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight,” and managed to please the crowds funk bone by ending their last set of the week with a jumpin’ Sly and the Family Stone medley.
The dynamics and “stop on a dime” playing by the versatile 11 piece band turned the swaying crowd into putty. Featuring a jovial three piece horn section, heavy-hitting backup singers, tight-knit dual drummers, a world class organ/flute player, and an in-the-pocket bass player, Susan and Derek had a well raised platform to display their inspiring talent. Trucks performed in full force and was certainly the “Captain of the Cruise.” While his effortless playing hypnotized the packed crowds, Susan’s powerful vocals and tasteful guitar solos pleased all ears in her wake.
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