Wednesday dawned and we didn’t. I think it was the latest we slept in, but we finally got to breakfast. Jill grabbed the very last Eggs Benedict for me, and we ate quickly. We have a poster of BNL at home with an page on top of it with their signatures I got when I saw them in Boston in 2000 (on a flight itinerary, the only piece of paper I had with me, while Chris only had a birthday card with him). I thought maybe we’d get a chance to have them sign it after their headlining show, but on the ship heard that was a bad time, and it was easier to find them during the day. So I was going to stalk them during their workshops that day, but we got started too late for that. I decided to carry it around with me anyway.
Jill found a spot near a window in Bar City to read and knit, and I went up to the manager’s panel and asked some questions about digital distribution. When I came back down, the BNL box set panel was going on (Jay, the compiler, was playing tracks off his laptop but the set probably won’t be out until next year). While the songs were playing Tyler was there providing commentary, and he was eventually joined by Jim. I chatted with them briefly after the show and got them as well as Andy’s signatures. Jill went to get lunch and then watch a Warren Miller (which was supposed to have an Ed Q&A that never happened), and I went out on deck to get a good spot for the BNL covers set. It was not very organized, but pretty cool in spots, a great cover of “Immigrant Song” and a moving cover of “What A Good Boy” by Kevin’s brother Sean (who was also his bone marrow donor).
I quickly made my way to the lounge to get a good spot for the Vanity Project, Steve’s side group – Jill joined me right before it started. His partner on the record, Stephen Duffy, was not there, but he’d recruited the Odds to back him up. It was fun to hear the songs live – apparently he’s played some of the songs solo (we saw him do one when we saw him in 2004), but the only band shows have been on the cruises. Jill wasn’t as into it as I was, and left to change for dinner. I joined her and we headed over to one of the main rooms. I had the sausage and pasta, while Jill had the turkey, then we headed out and caught the rest of Thinbuckle, Kevin’s group. I snagged him after they finished, then we went back to Bar City to see some of the Brothers Creegan, who had Ed on drums. We tried to find Ed after the show but he vanished, so we headed upstairs to the Chocoholic buffet.
It was ok, so we finished there, and finally headed over to the theater to catch the end of Great Big Sea (finally heard “Company Of Fools” on the ship). Not that they weren’t good (they were in fine form), but it was our last chance to catch the BNL side projects. We stayed in the theater and snagged some excellent seats to catch Kevin McDonald & Dave Foley (from the Kids In The Hall). They had Craig Northey with them to do music, and had worked up a hilarious series of skits. Both Jill and I were laughing hard, the good news is the whole group has a green light for a new TV series.
Thursday morning we were docked in Key West. We were supposed to be in Great Stirrup Cay (Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas), but a cold front had made that a difficult port to get to land from, so we bundled up (the cold front was here, too, but the water was calm) and headed out on the town with our friend Suzanne. The irony was after we got off the cruise, our first stop was Key West, but we figured that just gave us an extra half day (and we had a guidebook already). It was a half day because we didn’t end up making it in to town until 12 (we also had to change timezones the previous night) and left at 4. But we made the most of it, heading directly to the Hemingway House, then the southernmost spot in the continental U.S. (ironically we could have stopped in Hawaii at the southernmost spot in the U.S. but it would have taken close to an hour to get there and back just for a picture). We looked at a couple restaurants and settled on Upper Crust Pizza, based on Boston style and greasy but tasty. We wandered around a little more looking at restaurant options for the next night, then got back on the boat.
We’d made reservations for the French restaurant, but got a call that the management team had taken it over, so we switched to the steakhouse. It was probably better, as the theme for the night was 1920’s gangsters, and the name of the place was Cagney’s (the other themes were 1988 Prom and Nerds, but we didn’t participate with them). I’d picked up a hat in Key West and wore my tux without the tie, while Jill wore a dress and a wrap. The dinner was very good, I had a filet mignon and Jill had a NY strip. After dinner we took our time getting to the theater.
This was our big show night, and it didn’t disappoint. Sarah McLachlan opened (with a band that included Jim & Tyler), and tore through all her hits, including some jaw dropping duets with Butterfly Boucher. She said she’d had laryngitis for eight weeks, but you could hardly tell. BNL themselves were great, pulling out lots of rarities and hits (“Jane”, “Everything Old Is New Again” and “Call And Answer” were my favorites). It was late after the show, and Jill headed for bed while I packed. But the music wasn’t over, and I headed out to catch a little of Acid Wish with their all star guests. It was pretty entertaining, but it was loud, late and I was tired, so I headed for bed (never got to Steve or Ed, but it’s ok, I’ll get ’em sometime).
All cruise photos here.