Glenn A Baker is an ambassador for the sixth Rock the Boat floating music festival onboard Legend of the Seas, featuring classic rock acts from the 1960s. But while Glenn may know rock, he is a novice cruiser.
What makes a music festival on a boat different to a regular music festival?
The whole idea makes sense – put people on comfortable cruise ship and give them an array of amazing 60s act they never though they’d see live. This is the sixth Rock the Boat cruise and they are taking it very seriously. It’s a major undertaking and has become a lot more sophisticated. There’s a lot of excitement around the fact that it’s going out of Brisbane. It’s a new port for Royal Caribbean and the first time Rock the Boat has departed from here. I think I’m going to really enjoy it, and I’d enjoy it even if I wasn’t the ambassador.
What can you tell us about the acts?
It’s a really interesting combination of people who were the original lead singers and original members of some of the best bands from the 1960s. Of course the 60s was a very long time ago so not everyone is still around and we aren’t pretending that these are the complete original lineups. It’s a great mixture of people who were in the original bands and have been on the road for decades, proving that they can still play to large crowds. To have Peter Noone (the original lead singer from Herman’s Hermits) is a real coup. The Hermits were almost as big as the Beatles for a while. The US couldn’t get enough of them and they had a lot of number one hits there. The band toured for years with a new lead singer, so for Peter to come back and sing all their big hits is amazing. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap has a voice that defined an era, and it still comes out of the radio today.
Why aren’t there any Australian acts in the lineup?
This is a great opportunity to see people you normally wouldn’t see performing in Australia, on a package tour around the country or at a local RSL. Every headliner on the tour is an act that’s pretty special. They have a great relationship with Australia and almost all of them have been here, some many, many times.
What can passengers expect onboard?
Passengers can expect a full performance each night from a major act – these won’t just be single songs. During the day I will be hosting Q&A sessions with the musicians and convening all sorts of activities, like trivia nights. I’ll be telling stories about the bands that I’m sure they will have forgotten (or they wished everyone else would have forgotten). I’ve found that these rock legends are always very easy and comfortable to deal with. It’s what I’ve done all my life. I’m not going to be hiding in my cabin the whole time and I’ll be delighted to share with the passengers all these facts that they want to know. They can enquire about how the songs are made, hear useless trivia, have discussions about misheard lyrics – all with me fanning the flames. It’s going to be a lot of bloody fun and everyone is going to have a great time.
What makes fans of 60s music stand out?
The 1960s was a really unique time in the music world. In the 1970s pop broke off into so many sub groups and everyone had their own different take. In the 60s it was universal. We all loved the same music and it’s an astonishing thing when you look back on it. Vast numbers of post war baby boomers all loved the same thing and it tied us all together. You really can’t underestimate how much that did tie us all together; whatever sound was pumping out of the radio at the time united us all forever. People will be on this ship and just be able to look at each other and know what they are thinking.
Will this appeal to music fans who haven’t been cruising before or don’t think cruising is for them?
Definitely. It’s not just for cruisers, it’s for people that want to see different bands and who may never have set foot on a cruise ship in their life. You’re not going to get that grouping of acts anywhere else, with such proximity to the artist you love. The idea that they’re just down the corridor from you is very exciting. It will appeal to people who’ve not done this before, but want to be amongst people of like mind. You’ll be on a ship with 2,500-3,000 people who think like you do, love the same stuff and think that these songs are incredible.
Have you hosted one of these cruises before?
I haven’t; I’m only the second ambassador they’ve had onboard after Molly Meldrum. I did lead a tour across Europe for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles tour, which gave me sense of what this whole 60s fan movement is all about. And it’s huge. When I was in Liverpool for the anniversary it was astonishing and there were people from all over the world. Tribute acts came from Peru, Colombia, South Africa and Japan. There were fans dressed like the Beatles, acting like the Beatles, wanting to be the Beatles! They really took it a bit further.
Who is your favourite act from the cruise?
I’m very intrigued to see Joey Molland from Badfinger, who were really a sort of quasi Beatles in the late 60s. I also love the Searchers and the crisp quality that they brought to all their songs. But I will admit to a certain fascination with Peter Noone. His replacement in the Hermits was on the money, but Peter was always a bonafide 60s pop idol. He was incredibly accomplished at what he did, this English kid with a big bright smile who got his start on Coronation Street. I look forward to having the chance to sit down and ask him a few questions
Cruise Passenger also spoke with Mick Manov, CEO of Rock the Boat’s operating company Choose Your Cruise, about the upcoming cruise.
Why was the decision made to cruise out of Brisbane for the first time?
While departing from Sydney has been a success for us in the past, we are continuing to broaden our company by offering new and exciting ports of call in the upcoming cruise seasons. The great thing about departing from Brisbane, you are closer to some of the South Pacific Islands, so you can explore more in the same time frame. For instance, 2016 is the first year Cruisin Country will have four ports of call over an eight-night itinerary. We also have an extraordinary amount of passengers on our cruises travelling each year from Queensland, so it just made sense to give our main clientele a closer departure city. This is along with starting new adventures in 2016 with our new ship, Legend of the Seas which will be based out of port Brisbane.
Why do you choose to run these festivals on a cruise ship as opposed to a resort or an RSL club?
The great thing about these music themed cruises, is they combine the luxury of a cruise with the excitement of a music festival. Choose Your Cruise has been striving to provide something different for our passengers to enjoy since 2009, and there is simply nothing like it. You can enjoy the sights and sounds the beautiful South Pacific has to offer, see your favourite artists perform in first-class venues, all while not having to worry about travelling to and from the city, what to organise for dinner, and, most importantly, not having to clean up after yourself!
What have been the most popular acts at sea from the previous cruises?
We have welcomed over 30,000 guests on our cruises, including over 450 acts so there is simply too many to choose from! However, memorable performances onboard that have been stand outs would be having Shawn Klush perform in 2011 with The Sweet Inspirations, who were Elvis Presley’s own backing singers. We have had everything from the Village People, to Chubby Checker and Daryl Braithwaite perform onboard. My personal favourites have been the Sweet in 2014 – seeing them play to two completely packed shows while everyone does the Ballroom Blitz is something I won’t forget. Also, having Jimmy Barnes in 2013. The atmosphere of him performing onboard is like something I have never experienced, we loved having him onboard with us in 2013, we are bringing him back this October!
Rock The Boat 6 – A Salute to the Sixties, will depart for the first time ever from Brisbane, with some of the world’s most influential sixties artists. For more information including how to book your cabin go to www.chooseyourcruise.com.au or call 1300 247 371.