Jam Cruisers were all decked out in their Sunday best on the final night of this unparelled musical voyage. They weren’t dressed up for church–though many were undoubtedly having a spiritual experience–but rather The Great Jamsby, a Jazz Age-themed ball that took over the MSC Divina as the ship approached Miami.
The cruise’s final day began, perhaps unsurprisingly, with some jams, as Twiddle and ALO played back-to-back sets on the pool deck. The bands were followed by Cris Jacobs, who invited his friends Ivan Neville, Tony Hall and Brady Blade to play a few tunes from their forthcoming Neville Jacobs record.
The day also featured a pair of superjams, with the rotating cast of Everyone Orchestra lighting up the Pantheon Theater. A few hours later, Sacred steel disciple Roosevelt Collier led his own one-off musical army, which featured appearances by guitarist Will Bernard, a full horn section, keyboardists Joel Cummins and Todd Stoops, Greensky Bluegrass’ Paul Hoffman and Anders Beck, and many more.
However, the night’s most memorable moment took place in the lavish Atrium, whose sparking interior and spiraling staircases provided the perfect setting for the Jazz Age theme. Fortunately, Ivan Neville provided the perfect entertainment as well. As has become tradition, the Dumpstaphunk frontman sat behind the piano for a vulnerable, low-key performance that had more than a few onlookers in the packed room tearing up. His rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Joy Inside My Tears” made for a particularly rousing scene, as Neville was flanked by Trombone Shorty, Eric “Benny” Bloom, Karl Denson, Nigel Hall, Nick Daniels, Cory Henry and others.
Here’s a video of Neville’s Stevie Wonder cover courtesy of Live For Live Music:
As the fashionably dressed audience filed out of Atrium, most made their way to the pool deck, where Anders Osborne was delivering his final set of the weekend, or the Pantheon Theater, where JJ Grey & Mofro were doing the same. Next up at the Theater was Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, who treated the crowd to their typical set of New Orleans-infused rock and roll.
In keeping with another tradition, Galactic headlined the cruise’s final theater show. Percussionist Mike Dillon joined the group for most of the set, while current touring singer Erica Falls laid down some vocals on most of the tunes. Things then took an exciting turn for the closing number, a version of The Meters’ “Africa” (with the title lyric changed to “New Orleans”) that included guests Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, Eric “Benny” Bloom and Skerik.
As Galactic and Electron (who were busy with a Pink Floyd tribute set on the pool deck) wrapped up their performances, the party moved over to the Black and White Lounge and its nearby deck. It was there that bassist Reed Mathis led the boat’s final official jam session, while thousands of friends–old and new–bid bon voyage to one another until the sun came up and party came to an end.
All photos by Jeffrey Dupuis.