Story and Photos By Jackie Sheckler Finch
GALVESTON, Texas – With the massive Magic cruise ship as a backdrop, the band Maroon 5 rocked Galveston on Sunday to welcome Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and biggest ship to its Texas home port.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the Carnival Magic’s arrival with a Texas-sized performance by Maroon 5, one of the country’s most popular bands,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Line’s president and CEO.
Thousands of fans moved like Jagger as the three-time Grammy award-winning band performed a free, invitation-only outdoor concert to introduce the Magic to its new home. Arriving early Sunday after completing its 16-day transatlantic voyage from Barcelona, the 3,690-passenger Magic will depart Monday on its inaugural U.S. cruise to the Caribbean.
Choosing a homeport for the Magic was a huge decision, Cahill said, and placing it outside of Florida is a rare move. “We love Texas and the people of Galveston have been very friendly and good to work with,” he said.
The benefits to Galveston will be tremendous, said Leah Cast, public relations manager for the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Already the response has been overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “Passengers are looking forward to coming to Galveston for a few days before their cruise or after their cruise to see what our city has to offer.”
Waiting for Maroon 5 to take the stage for the pier side show, 8-year-old Lacey Mitchell of Houston said she has never seen a ship as large as the Magic. “I wanted to see what it looked like and I wanted to see Adam Levine,” she said, holding her cell phone ready to take photos. “I watch him on ‘The Voice’ on TV.”
Carnival’s Senior Cruise Director John Heald kicked off the show by introducing “Justin from Tennessee” who had won Carnival’s Facebook contest with a video of his wild dance moves that had the audience whooping with delight.
There are more people in this audience than there are in Justin’s hometown, Heald joked, adding that the teen was under no pressure to dance his best. Justin strutted his stuff from one side of the stage to the other as the audience roared.
Shrieks and screams erupted when Maroon 5 took the stage. The chart-topping group is known for hits like “Moves Like Jagger,” “This Love,” “She Will Be Loved,” “Wake Up Call,” and “Makes Me Wonder.”
Catching a guitar pick thrown to the audience by Levine, Mark Wilson of Fort Worth said the souvenir was the perfect ending to a fantastic concert and a chance to see the Magic.
“I never thought I would get this close to the stage and I sure never thought I would catch a guitar pick,” he said, clutching it in his hand. “Great day. Great concert.”