Chapter Three - Kid Rock's Chillin The Most Cruise - Boarding Day!
Kid Rock's Chillin The Most Cruise - Boarding Day, Thursday
Thursday morning me, Arlene, Ricky and Donny ate breakfast at the Marriott, then began our mile or so walk from the hotel to Tampa's Port. Upon Arrival at the port we were greeted by staff of the cruise's organizer Sixthman, and given a complimentary booklet containing the event schedule for the cruise, as well as a lanyard to hold our cruise sail & sign ID cards. We took our place in line to register and pass through port security, of which carry-ons went through x-ray screening. Once checked in we were given a zone number and directed to a seating area to wait for our zone number to be called, at which time we were to board the ship and have our photo taken with Kid Rock.
While we were sitting and waiting I happened to glance to my right looking through a glass partition wall that separated those of us checked in ready to board and those still in line waiting to check in and pass through security. The partition wall with glass was limited and only next to the area we were sitting, then it became a solid wall preventing visibility to the other side. When brifely glancing through the glass I noticed Kid Rock and crew approach the port security xray screening area and said out loud in normal tone to Arlene, "there's Kid Rock". Well, I should have whispered rather than used normal tone, because others sitting nearby heard me and turned to look in the direction I pointed towards the limited glass partition. Chaos then broke with people in our area screaming and running towards the glass partition at the sight of Kid Rock on the other side, hahaha. Those from other areas wanting to see what all the hoopla was about also came running over to our area from where they were seated. It didn't take long for the news to spread that Kid Rock was in the building, hahaha.
Once Kid Rock passed through port security he was directed over to our side of the building, but of course he was taken directly to the ship to board, no waiting, haha. Below I've included a photo of Kid Rock walking past our sitting area inside the port authority building.
Not long after Kid Rock boarded the ship they began to call zone numbers. It took about an hour and a half for them to call our zone number to board the ship and have our photo taken with Kid Rock. They did not allow any autographs during the photo session, of which some cruiser fans were disappointed over. I suppose if the circumstances were different I might feel the same disappointment, but the cruise for me personally was more about the music, the friends, and priceless memories I knew would be created. From what I was told, they began the Kid Rock photo session allowing each passenger to have their photo taken with Kid Rock, but realized this was taking too much time so changed it to all those sharing a cabin having their photo taken with Kid in a group, rather than individually. Arlene and I shared a cabin, so we had our photo taken with Kid together.
Wednesday morning prior to my leaving home for the airport, I made a fresh batch of my homemade chocolate peanut butter fudge, intending to give blocks of my fudge as a small gift to Kid Rock and a few friends going on the cruise, such as Arlene, Ricky, Donny, Becky & Gene, and so on.
When it was our turn to have our photo taken with Kid, I approached him and handed him the envelope containing messages from fellow Kid Rock Community Fan Club members who were unable to go on the cruise. These messages were pre-arranged to be posted on the fan club forums and I was to then print them off early Wednesday morning to take with me, which I did, haha. I told Kid the messages were from fan club members unable to join us on the cruise. I then handed him the fudge I made him, wrapped in clear wrap with a custom Kid Rock theme label I created that read, "Just For You - Connie Jo's Homemade Kid Rockin Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge". Kid thought that was pretty cool and said to me as I gave it to him in such a surprised sweet tone with smile, "ohhhh, you made me fudge, that's cool, thank you so much." I told him it was soft from the warm environment, and he said, "that's okay, I'm going to give it to my guy here to put away"...and he handed it to his security person.
I had brought one of my KC Chiefs hat's with me, intending to ask Kid to put it on for our photo, knowing from chatting with him in the past over the years, that he's a good sport and fellow NFL fan. As well, Kid is close friends with Hank Williams Jr., of whom is a loyal Chiefs fan as a result of his very close friendship with the late and great Chiefs Linebacker Derrick Thomas. When I saw Kid wearing his fun sea cruisin blue hat, I just could not bring myself to ask him to take it off, haha...so I simply held my Chiefs hat in the photo. I had asked Arlene in advance if she minded my Chiefs hat being in the photo, and she assured me she did not mind. Our photo with Kid Rock is below, complete with my representing my beloved Kansas City Chiefs! HA!
A couple of days later I was told by several aboard the ship who knew me, or at least knew me by name and face, that they saw a photo of my fudge on their cabin TV while watching Sixthman and Kid Rock's Chillin The Most Cruise channel, of which was showing random photographs taken during the cruise of people. I was confused and somewhat surprised considering all of the other photos being shown on the dedicated Chillin The Most Cruise TV channel were of people, not items. I believe it was Sunday morning I finally had a chance to see the photo of my fudge on our cabin TV while watching the dedicated Chillin The Most Cruise channel, sure enough...it was 'Connie Jo's Kid Rockin Fudge' being shown. Below is that photo, of which credit goes to Will Byington, the official Sixthman and Kid Rock CTMC photographer. Thank you Will.
Once our photo session was finished with Kid, Arlene and I began to explore the ship.I don't remember why we were on the upper deck...during the cruise Arlene simply kept motioning for me to follow her, so I did most times, haha. It was an awesome place to be however, when we heard Kid Rock and TBT be introduced to the Lido Deck stage to perform for our sailing away party. We were not close to the stage, but we had great un-obstructed views of the stage, the crowd, the ocean, and Tampa's skyline in the backdrop, of which became more and more distant as we made our way to open sea. Kid Rock bought everyone on board a shot of Jim Beam, and the shots were distributed to each of us during his hosting our Sail Away Lido Deck Party. Following Kid's toast to us, we all did our shot's at the same time. I do not normally do shot's, but this time I did make an exception, haha...as I surely would not want to be disrespectful towards our cruise host when he so graciously bought it for me, haha. It actually was pretty good! HA!
I believe Kid and TBT performed for a good hour during our Sail Away Party, and my personal favorite song they performed was 'Sea Cruise'...they did an excellent cover, in fact...in my partial opinion improved upon the original version, haha. I would love to have an MP3 format full length version of their performing Sea Cruise live, so if any one reading this has it recorded, I would be forever grateful if you would share it with me, and would trade you some of my homemade fudge for it! HA!
It was during Kid Rock's Lido Deck Sail Away Party that he first yelled his now famed and popular cruise slogan, "we're on a boat MFer's!"...of which he must have yelled out 100 times during the Sail Away Party, haha. During the cruise at various times in particular whenever Kid sang his 1998 chart hit "Cowboy"...immediately after singing the chorus each time... "I wanna be a cowboy baby"...he would follow up with yelling, "we're on a boat MF'ers!"...and it didn't take long for the crowd to join him, haha. The song 'Cowboy' is where the cruise theme title originates from..."Chillin The Most"...are within the lyrics of 'Cowboy'.
At some point not long after the sail away party ended, Arlene and I ran into Becky and Gene near the main elevators in the central area of the ship, and while we were there chatting with them, Ty Stone appeared. My long time Kid Rockin friend Becky, who is also a talented songwriter and guitar player, and her hubby Gene are well aquainted with Ty. I have met him previously as well, though it was in Nashville 2004 attending one of Kid Rock's concerts, of which Ty was the opening act...so doubt he remembered me from our brief meeting six years ago. Ty and I did chatt a bit about his opening for Kid & TBT at the Nashville 2004 concert, as well chatted some regarding our mutual music passionate friend Scott. Ty asked me if Scott was aboard the ship, but I sadly told him no, that I was unable to stow him away, though sure would have if it had been possible, and that I hoped he might make next years cruise. Below are some photo's taken of us with Ty, as well as of the Sail Away Deck Party with Kid Rock and his band TBT.
Arlene and I decided to attend Paradime's show in the Paris Lounge on Thursday night. As many familiar with Kid Rock and his band TBT already know...Paradime is a TBT band member, but "Dime" as he's known in short, when not on tour as a member of TBT pursues his own Rap/Hip Hop solo artist career, performing more specifically in the Detroit area. It has not been feasible with my living in Kansas to attend a live Paradime show in the Detroit area, though I do someday intend to fulfill my dream of visting Detroit. I have many music related friends who reside in and around Detroit I have not seen in a while, and as well want to attend a hometown Kid Rock & TBT concert. As the famed Kid Rock quote states, "ain't no party like a Kid Rock party, and the Detroit parties don't stop y'all!"
I and a couple others, had made several pleas on the Sixthman Chillin The Most Cruise forums requesting Dime be one of the additional artists added to perform during the cruise, heck...he was on board anyway as a member of Kid Rock's band, so why not make the most of it and have him perform as a solo artist at some point during the cruise also! I was elated when I learned he was added, and made attending Dimes solo performance one of my cruise priorties! My first Paradime show experience was Thursday night on the cruise, and it was an awesome experience indeed! YEEHAW! I am very grateful to have had that opportunity to finally see Dime perform live after all these years of hoping to someday.
We arrived about a half hour prior to show time, and were able to obtain seats in front row, as it was a general admission show, first come first seating choice. A few minutes later my good friend Becky and her hubby Gene came in, saw us, and sat with us. As it neared showtime all of TBT's band members began arriving with their significant others to attend their fellow band member Paradime's solo performance. They all sat in the front rows with Arlene, Becky, Gene, and I. I was sitting next to Jessie Wagner, one of TBT's two back up vocalists, and it was so awesome witnessing her get it to the music of Dime, as it was all of TBT...Stef, Jimmie, Jason and his sweet wife Francesca, Dave McMurray, even Kid & TBT's manager 'Shakes' was present for Dime's show. It was an awesome experience to witness the support and loyalty fellow members of TBT displayed for their 'brother' Dime.
Prior to Dime's show beginning, bass guitarist Jason was the first member of TBT to arrive where we were seated, and he began visiting with us. It was at this time someone suggested I take a photo with Jason to go along with my soon to be written cruise experience story, so Jason and I had our photo taken, I've included it below with others. As far as the rest of TBT, no...I did not bother asking for photo's or autographs, as it was not appropriate or respectful in my opinion. TBT band members were there for the same reason we were, to enjoy ourselves watching Paradime perform...it was Paradime's time to shine solo respectfully and to our benefit I can assure you, haha. There would be a time and place to obtain TBT autographs at their meet and greet session on Sunday. Respectively so, that is when I obtained TBT band member's autographs on my Chillin The Most Cruise theme poster, of which I will discuss further in the chapter of my story covering our last cruise day, Sunday. Paradime and Stef both added their own special touches to my poster, hahaha, and sweet Jessie paid me a wonderful compliment that meant more to my heart than she could have possibly known.
After Dime's show Arlene and I hung around for the follow up show, which was Rehab. Well, not long into their performance I began to doze off, hahaha. Now, you know someone has to be totally exhausted to begin dozing off during a Rehab very loud rock concert, lol. Arlene was tired too, and so we left prior to the end of Rehab's concert, went to our cabin for some much needed rest and sleep. TBT members, including Dime, also stayed for Rehab's concert, but they all moved staying together as a group, to a more comfortable booth with a table to enjoy their drinks and conversation. My next chapter will be of day two, Friday, and what a full, fun, and awesome day and night it was...beginning at around 9 AM and coming to an end in the wee moring hours of Saturday! haha
Entrance to Tampa's Port Authority:
Kid Rock walking past our sitting area awaiting to board the boat...this is after he passed through Port Security. I'm not sure why, but found it a bit funny as I watched Kid take off his belt to walk through the Ports xray screening, then put it back on. I dunno, somewhat a humorous humble thought of 'he's just like everyone else having to go through all the security checks'...no favoritism, hahaha. I think it's cool he hauled all his own carryon luggage too, didn't have someone else tote it for him...shows how genuinely real he is naturally not expecting others to take care of his needs simply because he's 'Kid Rock'. I sure love his sea cruisin blue hat! I giggled when I first saw him enter the building through the glass parition wearing such a perfect theme color hat for a cruise, hahaha.
Our Kid Rock Chillin The Most Cruise photo with Kid Rock...thanks Kid and Will Byington, photographer! The smirks on our faces relate to the conversation over the fudge I took and gave to Kid Rock. I tend to think my sweet fudge earned me a sweet smile and wink from Kid Rock when he was on stage Saturday night at the Paris Lounge. I was directly in front of the stage and in front of Kid Rock, it was during a bit of a lighted break between songs...I have a witness!...Alicia saw him smile sweetly and wink at me! HA! Do you think I'd make such a claim and not have a witness? Heck no! :)
This is the photo of my fudge they were showing on the ships TV's in all the cabins, lounge areas, etc.. Although I created my fudge labels myself, I offer the following credits...I used a saved image of the original gray metal background from Kid Rock All Access Fan Club (KRAA circa 2003-2006). The sketched image I used of Kid Rock is one I found long ago somewhere on the internet. I don't know who originally created it, or I would offer their name giving credit respectively. My labels are for personal use only, not for sale. Thank you again to Will Byington, official cruise photographer:
These KR CTMC theme banners were one of the first sights my eyes took notice of upon boarding and entering the ships main central lobby area:
Looking down over the ships central lobby area:
Me with Top Dog Label recording artist Ty Stone, gotta love his expression, hahaha!
Thursday as we were waiting for the elevator's, I asked TBT drummer Stef & guitarist Aaron to pose for those fans less fortunate to be aboard. Stef has a wonderful sense of humor...obvious with her facial expression & as Kid Rock says, "middle finger waving in the air", haha. Every member of TBT has awesome personalities...Kid Rock is blessed to have not only the MOST TALENTED band in the world, but a band with the most AWESOME personalities too!
Jason Krause & me before Paradime's show Thursday night. The nights were chilly, as were some of the ships indoor areas, so jackets were needed often, & I thought to take a couple! HA!
We 'were'..."on a boat MFer's!!...YEEHAW!
This pic was taken by Sixthman & Kid Rock's photographer Will Byington...on the balcony overlooking the Lido Deck during Kid Rock's Sail Away Party.