eddie from ohio cruise report: part 1

Our week started with the first Birchmere show on Friday. Julie said during the Q & A it’s one of their favorite venues, and it showed.


Mike had two new songs, “Lady Freedom” and “Cowboy”. Both are great, but “Cowboy” is hilarious (“Sits to pee”, anyone?). Don’t know who wrote it but Julie’s got a new blues song , “Alone”, that’s a great showcase for her voice.

We flew into New Orleans on Saturday night, and endured several days of drinking and eating to build stamina for the cruise. Emeril’s NOLA was the best food we had there, very fine – I had the tasting menu. We waddled home after that. Clover Grill was in two of my guidebooks as best burgers in town – we compared with Camellia Grill and I had to agree. We even returned twice more (partly because they’re open 24-7). The best music (besides EFO) was Beth Patterson at O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel Pub. We only caught a couple songs, but enough to know we liked her Celtic/folk blend enough to catch her when she hits Virginia in February. We toured the cemetery (St. Louis #1) and the Garden District, and still found time to catch the Matrix in IMAX at the Aquarium.

The HOB show was fun, but a very different vibe between sets. The first set was mostly seated in front of the stage. The second had lots of dancing and a fairly drunk woman with spiky blond hair that apparently hadn’t heard the band in several years and kept yelling for songs from the Bad Habits days (like Schoolhouse Rock, which I’m convinced they played partly to placate her and her friends, and partly because they had practiced it in preparation for the cruise). She also was pleading to grab Julie’s tambourine and play along during “Walk In Jerusalem”. Mike referred to her as the “mechanical bull rider” because at one point she was riding on the shoulders of a young guy she was with (rumored to be her son – everybody now: “ewwwww”).


We lasted with the bar crawl a couple hours (I hope there are some good pictures of Eddie), then took off. We made it to the Court Of Two Sisters for their jazz brunch for the second time Thursday morning. Jill and I had gone Sunday morning, and liked it enough to bring more people the next time. Also joining us were my sister Sharon, my best friend Chris, his wife Jess, her best friend Debbie, and Stuart, who was solo on this cruise. Some of the best Eggs Benedict I’ve had.

We got to the ship and relaxed for a while. We went to the Lido deck to get some food; Mike was sitting nearby. After he left, Stuart’s keen eyes saw he had left a receipt on the table. He snagged it and noticed his Sail-and-sign number on it (the number tied to your credit card, which Mike gave out on stage last cruise), which we of course turned back to Mike. As if! No, we gave it to Shelly, then went to the cocktail hour.

I saw Mike coming in with yellow 3×5 card on which to vote, and headed him off. I had produced a two sided ballot of my own. The first side was the songs, in order of votes (that got one vote or more) from that poll I ran last month. The second side was the recall.
Unfortunately, the band has all the ballots, and I don’t believe they counted the responses, so we may never know the outcome (maybe we can petition the Supreme Court?). Also memorable was Mike’s toast, which if Shelly doesn’t have, I can transcribe.

After dinner, people were looking for someplace to hang, but nothing really clicked until a whole bunch of people showed up at Rick’s American Cafe. There was a large request book that people were requesting songs from and Eddie was there, but it really got started when Mike led another group of 15 Edheads down from the Casino (a twisty red staircase led down). I pointed out Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the request book to Mike, and the next thing you know, 30 people are singing along at the top of their lungs. It went on for a while after that, but I called it a night not too long afterwards.

Friday was an excellent day. We sunned for a while, then took in the show. I had some misdirection going on – I had a trophy for Bob McNichols celebrating 10 years with the band. What only Chris and Jess knew was I had something else to do, which the band kindly obliged me on. “Woman Of Faith” is Jill’s favorite song, and I asked them if it made the setlist, and if so could I do a special dedication. So before the song (8 songs in), Robbie called me up. Jill couldn’t figure out what I needed her to come with me for. I said “The song is ‘Woman Of Faith’, and I hope that Jill will be my woman of faith”. Then I got down on one knee and popped the question. She said yes, and I put the ring on her finger, then we danced to the song. She was very surprised: “If I knew, I wouldn’t have been wearing sweatpants, no
makeup, and my nails not done”.

[Originally published through the edheads email list]