ALO played their first Rocks Off boat cruise yesterday aboard the 300-passenger Jewel. The crowd was made up entirely of ALO fans (save one drunk guy in a suit), which gave it a real family atmosphere (Well, I guess there's always that one too-drunk uncle.). "It almost feels like a wedding or a French discothèque in here," remarked Zach, the band crammed into the bow of the cabin at the same level as the dancefloor. While that made it difficult to see, the sound was shockingly well-mixed on our floating concert hall, even with socks placed over Steve and Zach's mics to prevent them from being shocked. (There was a taper set up in the front, but I saw a bunch of people grazing his mic with their pointer fingers, so we'll have to cross those fingers that this turns out to be listenable on LMA.)
"All Alone" with a "Pink Panther Theme" tease followed, keeping up the playful vibe of the first set. A pair of songs from their latest album Sounds Like This, "Falling Dominoes" and "Blew Out the Walls" came next, though you'd never know they were new tunes judging from the affirming cheers at the flange-y intro to "Blew." The fun continued as the band segued into Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing." As the boat petered down the East River and underneath the Brooklyn Bridge, the dancefloor began bobbing in the choppy water. Three-time veterans of Jam Cruise, the boys were unfazed by the turbulence, and took things a little slower with the melodica-heavy "Shine." The mellow mood didn't last long though, as they slipped into "I Love Music," which would be the only Man of the World entry of the night. Frequent set-closer "Barbeque" including a reprise of "I Love Music" finished it out, lightning illuminating the water, and sheets of rain streaking the windows.
After about twenty minutes, ALO returned to the bow to sing "Happy Birthday" to someone in the front. I took a position on the port side so I could watch Lebo for the second set. An inspired take on "Pobrecito" laid out the map for the rest of the "deep cuts"-filled night. I'll have to wait for the recording for verification, but I believe Dan even layered "In the Hall of the Mountain King" into his scorching solo. They jammed into "IV Song" with Steve choosing a pipe melodica this go-round. "You guys are yelling out some really old ones," noted Dan. "Should we do 'Sexo y Drogas?'" And they did. For the first time in over a year. It was like watching 2004-era ALO all over again. Before launching into the singalong "Walls of Jericho," I heard Lebo tuning a little ghost of "They Love Each Other." My ears didn't deceive me, the Garcia ditty exhuming itself from the remains of "Walls." As the band grooved, I looked out the windows, attempting to retrieve my bearings. Spotting the glowing red Pepsi-Cola sign of Long Island City in front of us, I came to the sad realization that the cruise was almost over. "We have time for one more, and it has to be the fastest version ever," explained Zach before they powered through a bouncy "Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down" with a few lines of "I Melt with You" thrown in for good measure.
"This was fun. We're gonna make this Rocks Off Cruise an annual thing. Mark my words: ALO's coming to the East Coast," proclaimed Gill. Cheers from the crowd. And more cheers as they bravely defied curfew (What is curfew on a boat anyway?) for another oldie, "Time is of the Essence." If that weren't enough, a cover of "Reelin' in the Years" found its way into the middle. Even though the shouted requests for new monster jam "Cowboys & Chorus Girls" remained unanswered, everyone left happy knowing this wouldn't be the last time ALO "hit the water and not the ground."
ANIMAL LIBERATION ORCHESTRA – 07.23.12 – ROCKS OFF BOAT CRUISE
SET ONE (1 hour, 6 minutes) –
Hot Fun in the Summertime (tease) > Possibly Drown / All Alone > The Pink Panther Theme (tease) > All Alone / Falling Dominoes / Blew Out the Walls > Money for Nothing / Combat Zone / Shine > I Love Music / Barbeque > I Love Music > Barbeque
SET TWO (1 hour, 23 minutes) –
Happy Birthday to You / Pobrecito > Wasting Time (Isla Vista Song) > Plastic Bubble / Speed of Dreams / Sexo y Drogas / Dead Still Dance / Walls of Jericho > They Love Each Other / Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down > I Melt with You (tease) > Girl, I Wanna Lay You Down / Time is of the Essence > Reelin’ in the Years > Time is of the Essence