What was the first instrument Jimi Hendrix learned how to play and who gave it to him?
Also, who designed the logo for the famous rock group Queen?
I didn’t know the answers to either of those questions until I attended the “Rockumentary” show aboard the Celebrity Apex. The daily ship bulletin describes the production as being a chance to relive epic performances that have defined decade after decade of rock and roll.
That it was. But, since I arrived early to get a good seat, I was also treated to a visual presentation of rock trivia on the theater walls. Although I’ve long been a fan of Jimi Hendrix and Queen, I didn’t know those two tidbits. I won’t reveal the answers until the end of this story to give you a chance to figure it out for yourself.
With a ship as spectacular as the new Celebrity Apex, passengers might expect that entertainment is going to be super-special as well. And it is. In fact, even the stage in The Theatre is unusual and eye-catching. The Theatre – that’s it’s real name – is located on decks 4 and 5.
“The stage has no curtain,” a woman seated near me whispered. She was right. Not only does the Celebrity Apex Theatre not have a curtain, the stage itself extends into the audience. The in-the-round design puts everyone closer to the stage. Just for the heck of it, I sat in three different seats in the theater for different shows – front, back and middle – and they all were great.
The Theatre’s state-of-the-art technology includes 23-foot-tall 4K LED screen curving around the stage. A 28-foot-tall circular scrim and eight Panasonic 20K laser projectors for projection mapping create a 360-degree wrap-around picture for audiences. A live band, singers, dancers and aerial acrobats are all top-notch performers.
On another evening, The Theatre offered “Tree of Life,” telling stories of unforgettable memories in the lives of people and of the tree. The illuminated tree is complete with more than 3,000 LED leaves and changes color with the seasons as does the backdrop. Again, I arrived early as did many other passengers and were treated to an acoustic guitar concert beneath the tree.
The final show in The Theatre was named “Crystallize” and featured an electrifying violinist, high-energy light show, special effects, more singers and dancers and aerial acrobatics. Even the violinist was hoisted aloft by a contraption strapped to her body. And she didn’t miss a beat of violin playing.
The Theatre offered other shows during our cruise. Grammy nominated Broadway star and former American idol top finalist, Trenyce presented “Dueling Divas” spotlighting Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. Comedian/author Kirk Smith brought entertaining laughs. Three talented young men sang and danced in “Uptown.” Another night, “Magical Bones” questioned the limits of what is humanly possible.
The Club and Other Music Venues
But that’s not all. Celebrity Apex also has an entertainment venue called The Club. During the day, The Club offers games, dance classes and much more. In the evening are cabaret-style productions. One evening, I saw “Caravan,” featuring new takes on classic circus acts. Difficult to describe but fun to watch. Arrive early in The Club because good viewing seats are limited.
The Club was also the site for a series called “Beyond the Podium.” Featured guest speaker on my cruise was Andy Friedenberg, a former regional marketing director for United Artists, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Columbia Pictures. He shared celebrity war stories including a look at his work on the first preview of “The Electric Horseman” with filmmaker Sydney Pollack, plus the time he worked with Charlton Heston on the world premiere of “The Mountain Men.”
Of course, Celebrity Apex has music in other places around the ship including the unique space called Eden. Each night in Eden features a different theme – Night of Dreams, Night of Enchantment, Night of Chill, Night of Adrenaline, Night of the Year and Night of Arts. Live performances revolve around those themes. Very imaginative and creative.
Seems like live music is happening almost all the time on Celebrity Apex. One of my favorite listening spots is the Grand Plaza, the prime meeting spot that soars on decks 3, 4 and 5. Plenty of seats to enjoy a cocktail, creative coffee or just relax in the beautiful ambiance.
As for those two trivia questions, it was Jimi Hendrix’s father Al who gave the youngster the first musical instrument he learned how to play. It was a one-string ukulele which his father gave him after watching young Jimi jam out with a broom. Jimi died Sept. 18, 1970, at age 27 of a drug overdose.
The famously regal logo for Queen was designed by Freddie Mercury himself. He had a degree in art and graphic design. One of the most recognizable band logos of all time, the “Queen crest” was created by Freddie shortly before release of the band’s first album in 1973.
The logo combines the zodiac signs of all four members – two lions for Leos John Deacon and Roger Taylor, a Cancer crab for Brian May and two Virgo fairies for Freddie. The lions can be seen embracing a letter Q while the crab rests on top the letter with flames rising directly above it. The fairies are situated below the lions.
There is also a crown inside the Q and the whole logo is contained by a huge phoenix. The symbol resembles the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, particularly with the lions. Freddie died Nov. 24, 1991, at age 45 due to complications from AIDS.
Never know what you might learn on an ocean cruise.
Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch
- The Theatre offers in-the-round entertainment. (cover photo)
- Jimi Hendrix and his father Al
- The Queen logo
- The ‘Tree of Life’ show offers beautiful backgrounds.
- A violinist is featured in the ‘Crystallize’ show.
- Two strong men perform in ‘Circus’ in The Club.
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