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Preview/Review: Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Cruise

Posted by January 1st, 2020 No Comments »

A Preview of the Artist’s Cruise scheduled to sail October 16-20, 2020 from Miami, Florida to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas… and

A Recap of the 2019 Cruise from Tampa, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas that took place February 17-21, 2019

By Kym Buzdygon

What better way to spend October than on a motherfucking boat in the middle of the motherfucking ocean with pop icon Kesha? Add in appearances by K. Flay, Big Freedia and pop duo Aly and AJ with more artists to be announced, not to mention a tropical island destination, and the answer is…”nothing.” There is nothing better than being on a motherfucking boat with Kesha.

I can vouch for this because I went on the inaugural Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Cruise this past February with one of my besties, Raina. I don’t even remember how we heard about it in the first place but we had been joking for months about winning the lottery so we could go. And then in a shower of glitter, rainbows and joyful screaming, our dreams became reality. (So many thanks to my wife Ema, and Raina’s boyfriend Kevin, for surprising us with tickets. Best Christmas present ever!)

I had never been on a cruise before. I definitely did not know that these musical cruises were a thing. But we had so much goddamn fun that we are already signed up for the October 2020 trip.

Raina (in sunglasses) and I on the first night. All glittered up and ready to go!

During the four days of cruise, Kesha gave two full live shows, and we were close enough to the stage both times to feel the droplets when she sprayed her beer into the crowd. This was my second time seeing her live (the first was a low budget and utterly delightful set at San Diego Pride a few years ago) and Kesha live is just pure shine. There are assless chaps, there is rainbow fringe and glitter, there are people dancing in penis costumes (including Kesha’s mother one night), there are adorably dorky backup dancers, and there is fake blood. Favorites “We R Who We R,” “Die Young,” “Blow” and the timeless party anthem “Tik Tok” kept the crowd dancing and screaming along. There were also surprisingly touching moments, including a sea of fans waving homemade paper hearts during Kesha’s now anthemic “Praying.”

Kesha slaying her second performance of the trip.

And even if it had just been Kesha, and a cruise, it would have been worth it. But there was so. Much. More.

In addition to a killer fucking line-up of shows (more on that below), there were theme nights (Animal, Warrior and Rainbow, in a nod to Kesha’s albums), bingo with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, twerking lessons from the queen of bounce herself, Big Freedia, drag queens galore, a belly flop contest judged by SuperFruit, a lip synch competition judged by Kesha herself and many frozen cocktails.

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness recording a live episode of his podcast “Getting Curious” on the cruise with special guest Bob the Drag Queen.

I assume there was food, although we never got our shit together to get to anything other than the brunch buffet and the late-night snack bar. There was even a day in the Bahamas, which almost felt unnecessary given how much fun we were having on the boat.

The line-up for the first cruise included the artists mentioned above (Big Freedia, Superfruit) as well as indie duo Matt and Kim (whose first set featured inflatable sex dolls with their faces on them thrown into the crowd on a very windy evening, which was both hilarious and slightly terrifying), pop darling Betty Who whom I’ve covered before, Girl Talk, Wrabel, drag queens Bob the Drag Queen, Thorgy Thor and Detox, and multiple DJs. While there wasn’t enough time to see everyone, we sure tried our darndest. The last day was particularly magical as we went from sunny deck sets from Betty Who and Matt and Kim, to Fireball shots and an impromptu photo op with Kesha in the casino (!!!!!), to dancing the night away on stage with Girl Talk.

On stage with Girl Talk.

By the time we left the boat everything was covered in glitter. I was washing it out of my hair (and other places) for days. In fact, I’m still finding bits of glitter in my luggage over a year later. Our only regret was not getting the unlimited drinks package, a rookie mistake that will certainly be addressed this time around.

Just hanging out with my besties, Raina and Kesha.

The 2020 cruise is scheduled Oct 16-20, meaning we’ll have plenty of time to bask in her new album (dropping Jan 31, although it’s already been delayed once) before we head back to the Bahamas. She’s already released several singles that indicate we’re in for a return to her dance party roots. “Raising Hell,” performed with Big Freedia is a Southern gospel-inflected ode to living life to the fullest and features the infectious chorus and life motto, “Bitch, I’m blessed.” And “My Own Dance” has echoes of 2010’s “Take It Off,” with a video featuring Kesha wandering through a motel filled with some very freaky people and magic cereal.

As of Dec. 12, the other artists joining the cruise include some returning acts (Big Freedia and Wrabel), and some new additions like K. Flay (of “High Enough” and “Blood in the Cut” fame), and pop-duo Aly + AJ. More artists are expected to be announced soon.

Ticket sales have already started and cabins are booking at a fast pace. While the cost might seem $$$, it. Is. Worth it. And there are payment plans, which makes it a lot more accessible.

Get some friends (rooms are cheaper the more people you stuff in them), get your rainbow-iest and glitteriest outfits ready and start saving now for the drinks package. It’ll be time to get on the motherfucking boat before you know it.

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