The Blues Cruise is definitely not the ideal concert venue. The sound isn't that great, even on deck in front of the band due to the fact that the ceiling is full of life preservers and that pretty much deadens the sound. If your not on the top deck then you only get to watch on TV. It's mostly a chance to get closer to a group than you ordinarily would get, plus the general setting of a boat at 'sea', great views of NYC and lots of expensive beer.
Yah, playing at the ranch is, at once, a treat, a challenge, and sometimes just plain scary. When I first went there I was playing guitar for barely a year, knew I didn't know anything and therefore wasn't bothered by not playing as well as the others. After 3 1/2 years pf playing now I'm starting to see more clearly the differences between 'real' musicians and 'hackers' such as myself and I'm putting more pressure on myself to raise my level of playing. Still haven't worked up the nerve to ask Jorma to play with me, but I'm working on it.
Did get a nice 'review' from both Jorma and Jack on my last performance (I See The Light), mostly on merits of originality. What that means is I couldn't figure out all the bits Jorma plays so I patched together what I could figure out and made up the rest