We jumped out of bed in as quiet of a manner as humanly possible without disturbing our slumbering cabin mates (or more accurately, I nimbly climbed down my ladder…jumping out of bed probably would have resulted in some serious bodily injuries) and began preparing for the jam-packed day ahead of us. We had been looking forward to day 4 of the cruise since we received our itinerary, but it came with a bittersweet sentiment for the mere fact that we weren’t ready for this incredible experience to come to an end.
Despite the late night musical experience, we had to make ourselves as awake as possible with only about an hour before the 10am meet and greet/autograph session. This consisted of showering and a mandatory stop at the coffee shop (which we conveniently had to pass on our way to the autograph session location). The barista knew our order before we even gave it to her (shocking? Probably not), and we headed to the Onyx Lounge where the autograph session would be taking place. The line for the meet and greet went from the entrance of the Onyx Lounge and wrapped around the adjoining dining room. Amanda and I took up our posts as close to the end as possible, we needed some time to get our beach balls ready. That’s right, beach balls. We had purchased the #SNCcruise beach balls and decided that we wanted them signed. Amanda and I began blowing up our beach balls (thinking this would make them easier to sign), and I was having difficulty. Was I an incompetent beach ball inflator? Turns out that my beach ball actually had a hole in it (what a relief…yet sad…I’m glad it wasn’t me and just a lame beach ball).
We passed the time talking to Chasers in our vicinity and fooling around with our beach balls. When we finally made it up to the tables, we put ourselves in the right mindset (this was an odd scenario, not being after a concert) and handed our beach balls to Walt. He asked us if we had been having a good time on the cruise (duh!) and then stated that blown up beach balls were a challenge to sign (our bad). We laughed at this, and then being the wise-guy that I am, I said, “My beach ball will be the real challenge.” Turns out a partially blown up beach ball with a hole is much harder to sign than a fully inflated beach ball. Walt was instantly concerned with the state of my mediocre beach ball and told me I should go get a new one. I stated the obvious, and said, “But you’re already signing this one.” He acknowledged that I was correct and passed the beach ball on to Randy. If I thought Walt had been really concerned about my beach ball, imagine my surprise when Randy received it. He was frank about his disappointment in the quality of the beach ball and even noticed that not only did it have a hole, but some of the lettering and picture was faded (as if it had been misprinted). This had gone unnoticed until this moment, but I eased the tension by laughing and pronouncing that my beach ball had character.
We moved on to DR and Seggie and they asked us what we had done when we were in Cozumel. We told them we had found two very comfortable lounge chairs by the dock and had taken a nap. DR found this amusing, but Seggie was instantly concerned exclaiming, “Did you get a sunburn?!” I know we’re from Boston, Seggie, but did we look like lobstahs? I sure hope not. Before we could ease his mind, however, he distracted us by showing us that he was wearing his black watch (same as his white one from the cocktail party, which wasn’t mentioned in blog #1 but was discussed at that time). Seeing this reminded us that he had told us the name of the company that made the watches, but when discussing it later we couldn’t remember the adjective that they used to describe the goat in its name. He laughed and told us that it was Shocking Goat and that it was a “dumb name, I know.” We didn’t think it was dumb, it’s unique and creative. After this little detour in conversation, we remembered Seggie’s concern over our sunburn and told him that his mom had given us some great advice before we ventured into Cozumel. He shook his head and said, “I need to stop taking her places.” We laughed and told him that it was all really great advice and we came back to the ship unscathed.
We slid down toward Charlie and Don, where Charlie, promptly informed us that we were the Chasers he saw most coming and going around the ship. We laughed at this, thinking about our easy-going agenda when it came to our downtime on the cruise. Our lackadaisical mindset had led to quite a few encounters with the guys (especially Charlie and Hayden) as we meandered about the ship. Glancing up from the beach ball he was signing, Charlie noticed the beverage I was consuming and inquired as to what I was drinking. I glanced down at my cup and chuckled as I told him, “oh this, it’s just a cup of cream.” The look on his face told me that he thought this was bizarre, but in reality the cream to coffee ratio of my beverage was quite disproportionate and it really did seem that there was only cream left in my cup. I chuckled at myself and focused my attention on Don, who was telling Amanda that the beach balls were actually harder to sign when blown up. This was starting to sound familiar and didn’t warrant a response from me as I was still chuckling about my cup of cream (I seriously find myself so funny sometimes).
Tyler than asked us what we had been doing on the ship, but before we could formulate an answer Jerome distracted us by asking how we were surviving without tweeting each other. Amanda quickly retorted that we sit in silence. Obviously. Tyler and Jerome both found this funny. We moved wordlessly down toward Mike. He asked us if we were having a good time and thanked us for coming the night before to his and Jerome’s solo show. There’s no way we would have missed it. Our conversation transitioned to my popped beach ball. Mike was very concerned and leapt out of his chair to go get me a new one before realizing he needed to stay to finish out the meet and greet line. Ryan leaned over and told us to talk to David Britz or Richard and tell them we had the band’s blessing. Everything would work out with my beach ball. I was grateful for their sentiment. We then told Ryan about our “Where’s Waldo/Ryan game we had entertained ourselves with when we had first got on the cruise ship. We told him that we were really excited for his solo show, and that the two solo events were ultimately our deciding factors in booking the cruise. He seemed a little surprised and appreciative of our excitement.
We exited the line and went to find Richard. After a lot of discussing between many groups of people, and Amanda and me waiting around entertaining ourselves in our usual manner, I received a brand new beach ball sans hole! This one was unsigned, however, so that situation had to be remedied. Richard escorted us back to the end of the meet and greet line, where Ryan kindly yelled toward us, “one time only, ladies!” We clearly ignored him and got back in line anyway.
We approached Walt and decided that staring uncomfortable at him was the best way to handle this situation. He squinted at us quizzically and laughing we told him that the first time through was just a practice run. He accepted this answer and signed my beach ball, stating that his signature was better this time because I hadn’t blown up my beach ball. (If I didn’t learn anything else from the first time through the line, I definitely learned that inflated beach balls were difficult to sign. I wouldn’t be making that mistake twice.) Randy then told me that I had actually gotten angry at them and took it out on the beach ball. That’s why it now looked like it said “eight” No Chaser instead of Straight No Chaser. They lost two guys through my anger…we’re still speculating as to which two guys were terminated as a result of my wrath.
While laughing at the prospect of being that angry at these wonderful guys, we stepped toward DR and Seggie who completely ignored the fact that we were going back through the line again and picked up our conversation right where we had left off. DR asked us if we were going on the waterslide. I promptly said no, but then Seggie interjected by saying they should make one that goes around the entire ship. I then amended my previous objection to the waterslide by stating that we would go on if it was a group trip. DR laughed at this, but agreed that we could do it Conga line style. Charlie looked up at us and said, “Now, when I said that I saw you the most earlier, this is taking it to a whole new level!” After getting over the shock of seeing us again, he and Don then asked us our opinion of the game show. We told them that we thought it was hysterical, but also took this time to give them some helpful feedback (i.e. being able to sign up at the game show instead of when we first boarded the ship and knowing a general idea of the games that would be played ahead of time would have swayed Amanda and I into participating…it was too much of a hasty and overwhelming decision upon boarding the ship). They were both appreciative of our opinions, and told us that this was the type of feedback they needed to hear.
As we transitioned down toward Jerome, we noticed a pamphlet from a venue that someone had graciously given them with their picture on the front. We were taking a moment to check it out as Jerome told us that the mosaic picture we had given him in November was hanging in his new house (aww!). Jerome noticed what we were looking at and nonchalantly told us that that was them on the front and Hyannis Sound was on the back. Despite knowing full well that this wasn’t true, we both freaked out and got ridiculously excited. We practically launched ourselves over the table to grab the brochure out of Jerome’s hands. Jerome couldn’t contain his laughter and said, “You two just proved my point. You both freaked out!” We both tried to compose ourselves and hide our shocked reaction, but the thought (although absurd) of both of our favorite groups on the same advertisement was too mind-blowing for us to contain our excitement. Sorry, Jerome.
Jerome walked away after this slightly embarrassing yet hysterical display of fan-girl-dom and we brought my beach ball to Mike. He was extremely happy to see that I had successfully acquired a new beach ball. Amanda then told Ryan that we had told Lauren that she should come to Mohegan Sun. Sometimes we miss her. His response was an endearing “you and me both.” (So sweet.) We thanked Mike and Ryan for persuading me to get a new beach ball and graciously taking the time to sign it again, and then we went off to meet up with some of the other chasers to get some food. The coffee flavored cup of cream was no longer cutting it.
After nourishing our bodies, and some inevitable Chaser shenanigans, we went to line up outside the Criterion Lounge where Ryan’s acoustic show would be held. Seating was on a first come basis. Let the tailgating begin! Months of tailgating for Hyannis Sound had left us prepared for this moment and we were able to entertain ourselves easily while stealthily listening in on the sound check that was taking place. We didn’t have to wait too long until they began to let us into the lounge, but there was still some time before the actual show started. Since the seating area had tables, and remember we had brought our own forms of entertainment, we decided that now was a perfect time to start up a quick round of Anomia (a fun card game- you should check it out). I hope no one was alarmed by the random words being shouted from our direction. Ryan took the stage, and we readied our cameras while leaving our card game shamelessly on the table where it would be forgotten until the show was over.
Ryan’s acoustic set was Ah-May-Zing! I can’t find any words in the English dictionary that properly express how perfectly mind-blowing this experience was. There were moments during the show when Ryan would be singing a song that we had come to love off of one of his CDs, or Lauren was singing a duet with him, or his friends Seggie, Randy, and Mike were jamming with him on stage where Amanda and I would just glance at each other from across our table and just mouth “is this real life?” It was a Chaser’s dream come true and we loved every single nanosecond of it!
The show came to a speedy end, much to our dismay, and the lounge was emptying slowly as people mingled about chatting. Jenn, Amanda, and I awoke from our Chaser dream and promptly remembered that we had an epic game of Anomia we had to finish. We were trapped in the lounge, so why not? That was until Chasers began yelling our names. Apparently they wanted to do a big group picture and our game was put on hold once again. We all squeezed in for an amazing picture, and then the mingling resumed. As we ventured back toward our table, we were stopped by Don so we took this time to tell him that we had an epic game of cards going on at our table. He gave us a peculiar look and then just asked, “Like go fish?” Not exactly, but we didn’t have a chance to explain because him and the rest of the guys had to go and get ready for their show that was a short time away. We cleared our card game and went back to our room for a quick rest before heading up to the Palladium Lounge for more musical fun.
The #SNClive tour preview show was yet again another mind-blowing experience (I’m still not sure how my brain survived the cruise). There was incredible energy from the crowd and the guys the entire time. They sang many favorites including 5 songs that we had the opportunity to vote on. The five fan picks were Africa, ‘Til There was You, Summer of ’69, Chicken Fried, and the #1 pick Bridge Over Troubled Water. It was exciting to have the guys sing songs that we had a hand in picking, although Amanda and I were both sad that our #1 pick wasn’t one that received the most votes (I won’t tell you which one that is, but if you know anything about us at all you can probably guess which one it was. The singing of this song may result in us donning an extra accessory for a few minutes). The new songs they premiered on the ship were incredible, astonishing, remarkable, unbelievable (there are just too many appropriate adjectives to chose one). Now that the tour is sufficiently underway (or over…whatever), I won’t be giving anything away by stating my opinion on the new songs. Runaway Baby was fun and refreshing. Soldier appropriately left every eye a bit teary and our hearts touched in only a way a beautiful song can do. It’s also safe to say that Amanda and I had a bit of a panic attack when they sang Some Nights; it was unexpected and amazing. Against All Odds was stunning. It was really nice to hear some new music from our favorite group. We also thoroughly enjoyed the additions to the Movie Medley as well as the updated Closing Medley (Call Me Maybe left us with stomach aches from laughing so hard). The show ended with a superb, off-mic rendition of Back Home Again in Indiana. Every Chaser in attendance was overjoyed by the entire show experience. We were rowdy and loud, and gave the guys the many standing ovations they deserved. We all left the Palladium Lounge grinning from ear to ear.
(Ignore us hyperventilating)
As we packed up our lights and cameras, Amanda and I glanced at those aforementioned accessories that had gone unused. Amanda instantly had the idea of incorporating them into our 80s outfits for that night’s party, but in order for them to be perfect we needed to make a quick stop at guest services to see if they had any tape we could borrow. Our mission was successful, despite the confused looks from the guy working there, and we returned to our cabin to get ready for dinner.
Dinner was fun, as usual, and all the Chasers had a good time spending one last meal together. When it came time to for the waiters to entertain us, I didn’t get the dance that Dexter had promised me, but Jerome did grace the Chasers with his outstanding dance moves. This brought the whole production to a stand-still as the waiters freaked out over Jerome’s actions. It was hysterical and a fantastic way to end dinner!
Once we were thoroughly stuffed and entertained, we left the dining room to get ready for the much anticipated 80s party. Amanda and I had been so excited for this since the moment we found out it was going to be a part of the cruise. The majority of our suitcases had been packed with attire for this single event. We were hyped. We put on all of our 80s gear (and our enhanced Buddy Holly glasses…fine, now you can probably have a clear idea of our favorite song) and made our way to the Onyx Lounge where the party was about to begin.
|Pictures courtesy of Dave Roberts via Amanda's camera|
The 80s dance party was one of the most fun experiences ever. It was wicked cool to see the guys in such a carefree state. Many of them had dressed up (Ryan’s outfit was my favorite) as well as a majority of the Chasers. We danced the night away and celebrated a successful cruise together. We had a blast! Amanda and I believe that an 80s dance party would be the best way to end every SNC concert. We even openly expressed this opinion to Seggie at some point during the night. He said that that would be fun, but then “they would never make it to the next city.” We said that that was fine; just start the tradition in Boston. At one point early into the evening, Jerome danced by us and we took the opportunity to tell him that we loved all of the new songs and jokingly stated that we were happy that they added so many Hyannis Sound songs into the set list. Hearing this he hollered, “That’s it! I’m done with you two!” No worries though, we made amends later in the evening by telling him that he didn’t let us finish, we loved all of the Hyannis Sound songs they did and they were better. (Although we truly love both versions. They’re completely different and can’t really be compared).
We danced and chatted with the guys and Chasers into the wee hours of the morning (which even included an all-Chaser sing-along to Billie Jean and Poison...which thoroughly entertained Jerome and Mike…we may have adlibbed a bit). Around 3am we realized there were only a handful of us left as we did the Conga line around the room (which was enthusiastically led by Mike and Joel). After Mike pulled me on to the dance floor and I unsuccessfully tried to twirl him (he’s so tall), we stumbled off in fits of laughter. We decided that it was probably best if we made it back to our cabin and tried to get a few hours of sleep before our long day of travel ahead of us. We said our goodbyes to Mike and thanked him for the amazing time. He quickly asked us when he would get to see us again. He was displeased with our answer of Mohegan Sun and blurted out “that’s too far away; I need to see you sooner than that!” We were appreciative of the sentiment, but told him it wasn’t that we didn’t want to see them sooner it was just that there was no way that we would be able to get any additional time off from work any time soon. You know, with the cruise and all.
We gleefully left the party and headed back to our cabin, where we took the time to pack all of our belongings (because that would have been a terrible thing to have to do after a few hours of sleep and Randy was kind enough to make the wise suggestion). Once packed, we quickly drifted off to sleep. It was all too soon when we were awaked as zones were loudly being called for disembarking. We thrust ourselves from our beds, quickly showered and packed some last minute items, and made our way off the ship. We made it to the airport with ease and had many hours to kill here seeing as our flight didn’t leave Miami until 3:30. We wandered about the airport trying to rid our bodies of their sea legs and the aches and pains acquired while dancing the night before. This also gave us ample time to analyze the fall tour schedule. Somehow we convinced ourselves that we could make the Wilkes-Barre show in a mere 10 days and decided we had to make it happen. Plans were in full effect when we touched down in Boston and we couldn’t have been more ecstatic to be seeing the guys we had just spent the most amazing four days with in such a short period of time!
A few more goodies from the night: