GP takes to the high seas on Joe Bonamassa's Blues Cruise.
Ana Popovic rocked the Pool Deck on Wednesday.

Ana Popovic rocked the Pool Deck on Wednesday.

Ya gotta love the shared bash-fest that is the web. When I posted some Instagram videos from Joe Bonamassa’s “Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea IV” cruise on February 26 through March 2, 2018, a snarky comment stated, “I can’t think of something that represents the blues more than a bunch of rich white people on a ship.”

Black Country Communion opened the Pool Deck concerts on Monday.

Black Country Communion opened the Pool Deck concerts on Monday.

Well, I guess someone always has to throw mud at something wonderful. I was there, however, and for whatever it’s worth, here’s my take on what went down…

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● The Sixthman crew—who produce the cruise in tandem with Bonamassa’s J&R Adventures—are like having your own personal concierge. Everything is taken care of. I never had to worry about what to do, or where to be. Like all of the cruisers, my only “job” was to relax and enjoy myself—well, that is, if I wasn’t being the working press.

Sixthman Ninja Assistant Justin Keller (left) and Artist Relations Leader Trae Vedder

Sixthman Ninja Assistant Justin Keller (left) and Artist Relations Leader Trae Vedder

● Yes, the fans were predominantly white people of a certain age, but it’s wrong to assume all attendees were affluent. I talked to people who saved two years to make the trek, and it’s their only vacation.

● It was uplifting to see more than 2,000 people support live music, and they devoured it. Even the least-known acts in the smallest venues on the ship enjoyed enthusiastic audiences.

The Lovell sisters—a.k.a. Larkin Poe—jamming on the Pool Deck.

The Lovell sisters—a.k.a. Larkin Poe—jamming on the Pool Deck.

● The artists played their asses off, signed autographs, hung with guests, and often jammed with each other.

Chicago Blues guitarist Toronzo Cannon goes low down.

Chicago Blues guitarist Toronzo Cannon goes low down.

● Bonamassa works like a demon to ensure every passenger is enjoying themselves. Special little gifts are distributed in every cabin, he plays surprise concerts and joins jams, and shares stories about his vintage-gear obsession.

Folk artists Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear—the mother/son team of Ruth and Madisen Ward.

Folk artists Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear—the mother/son team of Ruth and Madisen Ward.

● The cruise supports Bonamassa’s Keeping the Blues Alive charity, which raised $70,000+ for music education on this outing.

The Bros. Landreth holding court in the Atrium’s Acoustic Mornings slot.

The Bros. Landreth holding court in the Atrium’s Acoustic Mornings slot.

● It’s a boat full of people who love what we musicians do for them. It’s hard to be snarky about that, right?

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