The pandemic consequences postponed the beloved Cruise To The Edge for more than two years, but last month it was finally happening again. DPRP's Menno von Brucken Fock was there and today we are starting a series of articles he has written to tell you about it.
After more than two years of Covid misery, the Cruise To The Edge finally got the green light. Originally planned for March 2020, the line up back then underwent several changes, unfortunately. Most of them not much to our liking, to be honest. There was the addition of Nektar, but big progressive rock artist like Steve Hackett, Pendragon, Glass Hammer, Steve Hillage with Gong, King's X, Headspace, Stick Men, IO Earth, and Enchant disappeared from the schedule. Their replacements were, among others, The Zappa Band, Jane Getter, and Jakko Jakszyk. We were quite puzzled and confused that the organisation went on to plan a cruise without Yes, much to our disappointment.
Several weeks before sailing, a pre-party was announced to be held in the Convention Center next to the Radisson, at the Port Hotel in Orlando. This pre-party on the first of May turned out to sell out very quickly and we couldn't get a ticket when we tried to reserve our spot.
So without a ticket, we took a chance and went out after having tested negative for Covid the same afternoon. Thanks to someone offering us one ticket and a staff member feeling sorry for me waiting in the lobby for another spare ticket, my wife and I were reunited inside the packed venue.
The show had already started. Two renowned session musicians were playing prog-rock and related covers: Tyson Leslie with Will Doughty.
Next artists to perform were The Alan Hewitt & One Nation, and just like Leslie & Doughty they were also scheduled to perform during the Cruise. Hewitt is keyboard player for, among others, The Moody Blues and John Lodge, and this is his own main outfit.
The band played a rather heavy set, but definitely in the category of neo-prog with some metal influences. Although the band was named after keyboardist Alan Hewitt, it was guitarist and main vocalist Duffy King who stole the show.
The main event for this evening were ProgJect, a so called "super group" playing covers from tracks of the most renowned prog legends like Gente Giant, ELP, Genesis, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes, and Bill Bruford. The initiative to form this band came from drummer Jonathan Mover, who rediscovered a love for progressive rock when he was invited to "fill in" during a tour with The Musical Box.
Mover managed to enlist Michael Sadler of Saga (vocals, keyboard, bass), Matt Dorsey (ex-Sound of Contact), Dave Kerzner on bass and basspedals, Mike Keneally (among others ex-Zappa, ex-Vai) on vocals and guitar, and Ryo Okumoto (among others Spock's Beard on keyboards.
ProgJect just finished a tour in the States and this performance was the extra special finale of their tour. Mover expressed his admiration for Bill Bruford and most certainly instrumentally the band rendered an extraordinary performance. Having said that, it was a little strange to hear Michael Sadler sing Jon Anderson songs, or Mike Keneally sing where we are used to hear David Gilmour.
It was already quite hot, and according to schedule the show ended just after 10 PM.
Siberian Khatru (Yes) One More Red Nightmare (King Crimson) Firth of Fifth (Genesis) The Cinema Show (Genesis) Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd) Money (Pink Floyd) Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd) Hell's Bells (Bill Bruford) / The Abingdon Chasp (Bill Bruford) / Age of Information (Bill Bruford) / The Sahara of Snow (UK) / Land's End (Bill Bruford) Two Weeks in Spain (Gentle Giant) Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 1 (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, Part 2 (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) Dance on a Volcano (Genesis) Los Endos (Genesis) Squonk (Genesis)