Jam Cruise 12 came to a close early this morning after five nights and four days out at sea, Unfortunately, the day’s excursion to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas was cancelled due to unfavorable waters, but Warren Haynes’ private island set was moved to the Pool Deck stage after the guitarist was flown out to the ship via sea plane. While the new location was not quite as picturesque, it allowed Haynes to collaborate with even more special guests than would have otherwise been the case.
Haynes worked his way through a number of solo tunes before he was joined by Alecia Chakour, Ivan Neville and Bill Evans for a rendition of “Rivers Gonna Rise.” The next guests to take the stage were brothers and North Mississippi Allstars bandmates Luther and Cody Dickinson, who came out for a take on Howlin Wolf’s “I Asked For Water” before Steve Kimock sat in for a couple of tunes, including a fantastic “Stella Blue.” Haynes then got some help from Cyril Neville and Greensky Bluegrass’ Anders Beck and Paul Hoffman on “Hammer and Nails,” which was followed by a Kofi Burbridge appearance and a stellar “Sugaree” superjam featuring George Porter Jr., John Popper, Anders Osborne and Neville. Next, Haynes welcomed Eric Krasno, Chakour, Neville, Porter and 10-year-old guitar phenom Brandon Niederaurer for a set-closing “Soulshine” that included some impressive soloing from the young—and extremely talented—Niederauer.
After Haynes’ performance, a chunk of the crowd moved over to see one-man-band Zach Deputy on the Solar Stage set The next event to a draw a large crowd was Ivan Neville’s traditional piano set in the ship’s Atrium area. The packed performance featured an appearance by Dumpstaphunk bassist Nick Daniels, who helped Neville with the piano and vocals. The emotional set saw Neville’s first-ever rendition of Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash Into Me” and ended with a standing ovation from the audience.
Strong winds forced the Pool Deck to close down for a few hours, sending Everyone Orchestra over to the Black and White Lounge. The all-star jam session included conductor Matt Butler, bassist Victor Wooten, keyboardists Zach Gill (ALO) and Joel Cummins (Umphrey’s McGee), guitarist Dan Lebowitz (ALO), lap steel guitarist Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), mandolinist Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick, trombonist Carly Meyers, saxophonist Bill Evans and singer Jans Ingber (The Motet), among others.
For many the evening’s highlight was Lettuce’s performance on the reopened Pool Deck. That set featured an extended Nikki Glaspie percussion sit in before Niederauer returned to show off his guitar chops in front of another equally stunned audience. The 10-year-old then immediately made his way to the Black and White Lounge, where he joined Anders Osborne with the Bonerama horns and Mike Dillon. Niederauer’s sit in was followed by a guest appearance from Billy Iuso, who helped Osborne with a rocking “Shakedown Street” before Cyril Neville came out for a few tunes.
Robert Walter’s 20th Congress continued the funk theme on Pool Deck just as Eric Bolivar began leading the final Jam Room session. However, most fans began making their way to Galactic, who did their part to close out Jam Cruise in style. The New Orleans jam-funk icons were joined by a number of special guests during their late night show, including Mike Dillon, singers Maggie Koerner, Cyril Neville and David Shaw, Ivan Neville, George Porter Jr., Robert Walter, Roosevelt Collier, some of the Bonerama horns, Billy Iuso and emcee Mr. Lif.
Just as it seemed like Galactic were finally about to call it a night, Jam Cruise director Annabel Lukins took the stage to ask for another tune. The band complied with a beautiful, and fitting, “Quiet Please” before the revelry then made its way to the Jam Room for the final show of Jam Cruise 12. The Eric Bolivar-led jam session—which featured appearances by Anders Osborne bassist Carl Dufrene, New Mastersounds keyboardist Joe Tatton, guitarist Will Bernard, keyboardist Nigel Hall, Lettuce/Trey Anastasio Band saxophonist James Casey, Lettuce/Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, Dumpstaphunk bassist Tony Hall and more—closed out the music before throngs of fans then made their way to other parts of the ship to either sleep, eat, pack or enjoy their time together as the MSC Divina pulled into the dock.