Jam Cruise 20 Comes to a Close After Five Action-Packed Days of Music

March 1, 2024
Jam Cruise 20 Comes to a Close After Five Action-Packed Days of Music

After five full days of music, Jam Cruise 20 came to a close in the early morning hours of March 1. While the final stretch of live entertainment was scheduled for Leap Day, Thursday, Feb. 29, performances ran late, in the typical fashion, stretching till 5 a.m. 

Day five presented even more super-sized jams, collaborations and covers, beginning with Big Richard on the Pool Deck. The four-piece ensemble embraced the TV character theme, dressed as Power Rangers and delivering their signature meld of bluegrass fusion, like a perfected rendition of Pink Floyd’s 1973 The Dark Side of the Moon cut, “Time.” 

ALO’s Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz hosted the Yacht Rock set for the second year in a row, running through favorites from Steely Dan’s “Peg” to Toto’s “Africa” and a sexy take on The Eagles’ “One of These Nights.” Lebo’s frame included mainstays Sammi Garett, Shira Elias, and The Horn Section, in addition to sit-ins from Lyle Divinsky, Mike Dillon and Ivan Neville. 

While there was plenty to do and see between sets, the next batch of music came in the form of Mike D Super Jam. A high point included Ween’s White Pepper tune “Bananas and Blow.” For the cover, Dillon welcomed guests Garett, Divinsky, Johnny Sketch and Ryan Montbleau.

From one set to the next, music continued in the Pantheon Theatre with the return of Steel Pulse following their Tuesday, Feb. 27 festival opener. The aforementioned performance coincided with Ivan & Friends in the Atrium. Neville’s super jam incorporated a range of artists that either remained or cycled on and off stage for choice numbers, such as Dumpstaphunk horns, Tony Hall, Cris Jacobs and others. 

Neville served up “The Greatest Place on Earth,” dedicating the number to Jam Cruise, on top of covers like Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” and crowd pleaser “Hey Pocky A-Way.” Fittingly, the previous song featured a sit-in from George Porter Jr. Guest additions continued during Perpetual Groove’s set in the Black and White Lounge, where they brought out Daniel Donato and Ansley Stewart to help out on Peter Gabriel’s “Digging in the Dirt.” 

While Cory Wong was ripping on the Pool Deck, Cimafunk unleashed a rhythmic explosion of dance-focused music, tapping into the island vibes and invigorating the lively frame with the essence of Cuba. Meanwhile, in the Atrium, Matt Butler led the Everyone Orchestra in an acoustic performance featuring artists like Cosmic Country’s Will McGee, Kanika Moore, Cool Cool Cool Josh Schwartz, and members of Big Richard on strings. 

Eggy started their frame on the Brews at Sea stage with a cover of Big Thief’s “Time Escaping,” eventually welcoming guests, moe.’s Chuck Garvey and Wong at separate times. Next, Lotus cut into their finale on the Pool Deck, which coincided with Galactic’s action-packed frame. The New Orleans band once again welcomed Dillon for the entirety of the hour and forty-five-minute delivery and hosted separate sit-ins from Chali 2na and Cimafunk. 

Montbleau assisted on “Domino,” a tune he helped out on for Galactic’s 2015 LP Into The Deep. Also included was a take on Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” which the band and their guests have previously played together. 

The Jam Room finale was co-hosted by Disco Biscuit’s Marc Brownstein and 2na, who welcomed various guests at different points throughout the frame, like Dani Batta, members of Eggy, and vocal powerhouse Moore. Meanwhile, Keller Williams dipped into his Hobby Weird persona in the Galaxy Disco, keeping folks dancing till the final moments of the event. 

All said and done, Jam Cruise 20 served the ultimate purpose as a mecca for jamband lovers, unleashing a tidal wave of unimaginable collaboration and sit-ins, favored cover songs, and monster jams that will keep attendees talking till the next ship sails. 

Scroll down to view photos courtesy of Hana Gustafson.

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