Ships and Dip V – One Week at Sea with Barenaked Ladies

Mark and I have returned from another incredible week at sea with Barenaked Ladies, Great Big Sea, Gaelic Storm, and a dozen other bands. We started out with a brave pronouncement that this year, we would pace ourselves so that we would still have some energy reserves by the last night. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans…

When faced with a full five days at sea with your favorite bands, and 3-4 concerts going on at any one time, it is awfully hard to pace yourself. And so we went all out, glutting ourselves on as many concerts as we could cram into a day. But how could we not, when our favorite bands are playing everyday, plus the extra fan shows we were able to attend because we were Ships & Dip alumni.

And so now, we are infinitely grateful for a weekend of rest at home, so we can sleep, eat normal food (more on that later), and catch up on the home front.

There was a remarkable difference in the energy of BNL this year. With a happy, healthy Steve Page at the helm, the band we fell in love with 15 years ago was back. They were REALLY having fun onstage throughout the cruise, and were magnificent hosts. Tyler, Ed Jim, Steve and Kevin seemed to pop up everywhere, lending a hand (or a joke) in other artists’ shows. This is why we go on these cruises – you get to interact with your favorite artists in a completely different way. Shows are more loose, relaxed with more time for improv, jokes and stories.

A few highlights from the trip:

Snacktime Show with Barenaked Ladies
BNL did a special afternoon show for the kids to showcase the songs from their recent kids’ album. We have to admit that we love this album – we gave a copy to our favorite two-year old, Aria, for her birthday this summer, and all of the adults were glued to the CD player for the next couple hours playing and replaying the fun tunes. It was fun to see BNL playing to a younger audience, playing not only the Snacktime songs, but some of their other sillier tunes from their full catalog.

Great Big Sea Fan Show
As members of the GBS fan club, we were invited to a special show, in a smaller venue. The lads did a simple set with only acoustic guitars, and went round-robin and each sang a song – sometimes GBS, sometimes not. Murray Foster, with his great booming bass voice sang a couple of Johnny Cash songs. Chris McFarlane, who normally plays drums/accordian, was sweetly shy as he took the mike, but proved that his voice is as good as any of the others. You don’t often get to hear Murray and Chris sing on their own, so this was a special treat. Sean sang a bawdy tune, then a depressing one, and finished with a sweet lullaby he wrote for his sons. And finally, Alan Doyle handed a turn over to his brother, Bernie, for what was the highlight of the whole cruise for me. Bernie did a gorgeous a capella rendition of a traditional Newfoundland tune, Northwest Passage, and it gave me chills. Bernie and Alan’s voices are definitely similar, but I’d say Bernie’s might even be a touch better, with a deeper resonance. Here’s the video if you’d like to watch.

Tulum Mayan Ruins
The cruise made a stop in Cozumel, on our one warm day at sea, and we took the opportunity to see a city of Mayan ruins. The trip involved a 25 minute, very turbulent ferry ride to Playa del Carmen, and then a 45 minute bus ride to the city of Tulum. Our tour guide, Raul Torres, gave us an overview of Maya history on the bus ride, which gave us a much deeper appreciation of the culture and incredible technology of the Maya people. Raul, Mayan himself, truly had a passion for education the guests in his care, and so we learned a lot – enough to imagine a sliver of the lives of the people who lived in this stunning city by the sea.

Sarah McLachlan
We were very lucky this year to have Sarah McLachlan on board. She was a late addition to the line-up, and she did three small shows opening for the main BNL shows. We weren’t particularly Sarah fans before the cruise, but when we were looking through her catalog on iTunes before we left, we realized that we know most of her songs already, and many of them we know all the words. What we loved about Sarah was her honesty on stage – that she was recovering from 8 weeks with laryngitis, and needed some help with the high notes from Butterfly Boucher and Melissa McClelland. She was silly, able to laugh at herself and engaged with the audience. By the end of the show, we were definitely smitten with Sarah.


And, if you made it all the way to the bottom of this long post…here are some
additional pics from the trip.

3 thoughts on “Ships and Dip V – One Week at Sea with Barenaked Ladies

  1. I love love love the snacktime album. I already have used 3 of the songs from it in music therapy sessions and have suggested it to many a parent as a “safe” CD to give to kids/tweens. I use Popcorn at least once per week in sessions, but I think the crazy alphabet or the polywog song is my actual favorite. I can’t choose!

  2. Yeah, we don’t even have kids, and we love Snacktime! Pollywog live was awesome – Ed did some reggae improvising which was very funny. Sadly, they didn’t do the alphabet song at all…which is a bummer, as it’s probably my favorite, as a lover of strange words.🙂

  3. Jenn,I love that you love BNL! They have been a favorite of mine for years and years! I have seen them 6 times now – but there is not a soul in Missouri who appreciates them! Sounds like you had a fantastic trip! I’m glad to hear it!

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