It was a lively, at times overwhelming opening afternoon on the cruise, as masses of fans streamed onboard, got situated and learned their way around the 14-deck ship. A vibe of friendly familiarity hung in the air, the tight sense of camaraderie that comes when even complete strangers know they share a unique bond.
Here, that common cause is simple: Be the biggest Kid Rock fan you can be, and gear up for five days of craziness.
“The party will be everywhere,” Rock boasted to the Free Press Thursday afternoon, an hour after he and his entourage had boarded the ship to a throng of cheering fans queued up to join him. “Everywhere you go on this boat, you’ll be walking into it.”
Just about a quarter of the 2,700 cruise-goers are from Michigan, but with OId English D’s and Detroit sportswear all over the place, it often felt like a floating Motor City.
For a habitué of Detroit’s rock world, it was a day of recognizable faces and old friends, with members of the Howling Diablos, Ty Stone’s band and Kid Rock’s staff roaming the halls. Even the cruise publicist is an ex-Detroiter who worked with a host of local bands.
Classic rock was the omnipresent soundtrack across the ship, the rumble of bass penetrating deep into the cabins.
On the ship’s sunny upper deck, which promised to be a locus of action for the weekend, the shirts came off, the bikinis emerged and the beer flowed freely.
SOURCE: Brian McCollum / Detroit Free Press