Ah, progressive rock. The natural, er, progression of rock music throughout the 1970s, when musicians were freely signed to massive record labels and given free rein to indulge their whimsical musical passions to the heart’s content, with fascinating and sometimes downright bewildering results. It was a time when the likes of Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer and King Crimson reigned supreme; driving to shows with an articulated lorry each, playing keyboards the size of houses and of course, wearing ridiculous silvery capes. Of course it had to end somewhere, in this case, with punk rock; the musical manifestation of the new generation’s disapproval of the stodgy old guard’s musical output and image.
But what does all this have to do with cruising you may ask? Well, fast-forward to now and prog rock is back (though fans would argue it’s never been away) and is enjoying so much of a revival that it’s been granted its own cruise. Progressive Nation at Sea takes place aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s 2,394 passenger vessel Norwegian Pearl between February 18-22, 2014 and sees over 20 progressive acts take to the stage throughout a sun-kissed cruise from Miami which calls at Great Stirrup Cay and Grand Bahama Island.
Heading up the bill are prog supergroup Transatlantic, featuring among others Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas and former Dream Theater drum legend Mike Portnoy and they’ll be joined by a host of other favourites, including Spock’s Beard, King’s X and The Flower Kings. Of course, it would’nt be a progressive rock cruise without a connection to the genre’s godfathers, Yes and indeed the group’s former frontman Jon Anderson will be there, playing tracks from his recent solo album. It’s not just the old guard who’ll be filling out the Norwegian Pearl’s five venues however, and passengers can expect to enjoy performances from the likes of Periphery, The Safety Fire and Haken, too.
Throughout the cruise, fans will be able to take in performance on the ship’s Pool Deck as well as in the Stardust Theatre, Spinnaker Lounge and Bar City venues. The Norwegian Pearl’s spacious atrium will also be put to good use and will also host a number of performances. As well as the bands, passengers will have full use of the fitness centre, spa, sports court and casino and also be able to try their hand at bowling and scale the ship’s rock climbing wall, too.
By Simon Brotherton