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Ten Things Learned on the Moody Blues Cruise

Music cruises provide a great experience on the high seas, but they can also offer some significant life lessons as well.

Take for example, the Moody Blues Cruise, which jump-started April with a fantastic onboard lineup that included not only the cruise's namesake but also special guest Roger Daltrey, Carl Palmer of ELP, the Zombies, Starship, LIttle River Band, and various other bands of vintage pedigree. Over the course of five fantastic days, certain truths, rumors, and revelations were shared and explored, leaving the participants much wiser.

Here are some of the lessons learned.

See also: Review of the Zombies at Mardi Gras Casino, Hallandale, on April 8

10. Youth need not be wasted on the young.

With an average age of 60-plus, this was hardly the sedate sea-going voyage one might have imagined just a few years ago. These fans were reliving their earlier years, grooving to the sounds that provided a soundtrack to their past. As one performer put it, it was inspirational to see even the 70-somethings partying as if they were teenagers.

9. Cover bands can be very entertaining.

Not your average cover band, mind you, but those that boast at least one ongoing member of the original ensemble. Starship's sole claimant to the original legacy was singer Mickey Thomas. The Orchestra, formerly Electric Light Orchestra, boasted violinist Mik Kaminski, and the Little River Band held its pedigree courtesy of singer and bassist Wayne Nelson. So while the claim to legitimacy might otherwise have been challenged, all three acts did a superb job of retracing their respective outfits' original legacy with songs that brought them to the charts even before those current members were involved.

8. No, Jim Hendrix never considered joining ELP.

While the would-be moniker -- HELP (Hendrix, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer) would have made for a catching name, drummer Carl Palmer diffused the myth. "It was a rumor conceived by overeager journalists," he insisted.

7. There is a plausible excuse for weight gain in one's later years.

"My chest lost its battle with gravity," Moodys drummer Graeme Edge explained.

6. There's no reason for despair, even in hard times.

"We've lost Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, and Steve Jobs," Moody Blues singer and guitarist Justin Hayward lamented. "We've lost hope, cash, and jobs!" Still, the band performed as emphatically as ever, allowing its audience to forgive whatever misery they might have endured as a result.

5. Even the most seasoned performer can get anxiety.

Edge admitted that he has a recurring dream about sitting at his drums, reaching for his sticks and pulling out a pair of bananas instead. There's some sort of phallic reference there that remained unsaid, but that can be left to one's imagination.

4. If at first, you don't succeed, chuck it.

The Zombies' most-heralded album, Odessey and Oracle, languished in the bargain bins soon after its release, due to mediocre sales and the fact that the band broke up even prior to its release despite the inclusion of its hit "Time of the Season." Now it's considered a classic, and its sales and critical kudos intensify with each passing year. And justifiably so.

3. Playing isn't work.

According to Hayward, the two hours they're onstage they do for free. It's the hours spent traveling to the gigs that they're getting paid for.

2. Woodstock wasn't a wreck; the band was.

While it's been said that the Who hated the gig, it was the music festival itself that they were dissatisfied with. "We weren't happy with our performance," Daltrey insisted and suggested that their drinks had been laced with drugs prior to going onstage.

1. Look out.

In nearly 50 years of famously spinning the microphone cord, Daltrey claims he only broke two mics. However, he did cause his bandmates to duck on several occasions just to get out of the way.

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Lee Zimmerman

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