10 most anticipated Tampa Bay concerts of 2016: Rihanna, Ellie Goulding, the Dixie Chicks and more
As 2015 winds to a close, let’s look ahead to the year ahead, which according to our calendars is 2016.
Our experts have already offered up a slew of big-ticket events for the year to come, from movies like Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to rides like Busch Gardens' new Cobra's Curse to Richard Gonzmart's upcoming Goody Goody restaurant revival in Hyde Park. Click here for the full story.
But on the music front, we've already got a ton of major musical happenings on the books. Picking our 10 most anticipated concerts of the year is a tough task indeed. And that’s not even including festivals like the Gasparilla Music Festival (March 12-13), Tropical Heatwave (April 30) and the Sunset Music Festival (May 28-29), which have yet to unveil their lineups. And while Adele's only coming as close as Miami, we can always hold out hope for a comeback show by Guns N' Roses or Phil Collins, can't we?
For now, here are the 10 shows we have circled in red in our datebooks.
Billy Joel (Jan. 22, Amalie Arena): Even though it’s been just two years since his last local show, it always feels like a historic event when the Piano Man comes to town. At times he’s receded from the spotlight so much that he’s seemed half retired, so you never know when a tour might be his last. But he’s been busy the last couple of years, including a headlining performance at last year’s Bonnaroo, and that means his shows are as lively as ever.
Florida Metal Fest (Jan. 30, Cuban Club): It’s about time that Tampa, long regarded as a cradle of death metal, held a big ol’ festival honoring the genre. Local legends Obituary and Deicide lead the lineup alongside Corrosion of Conformity, Madball, Generichrist, Malevolent Creation and more. Should be fun (and loud).
U.S. 103.5 Throwdown by the Bay (Jan. 30, Amalie Arena): Grammy-winning headliners Little Big Town are overdue for a big-time show in Tampa Bay, and their fans will be out in force to sing Day Drinking. But the real draw might be Chris Stapleton, the CMA-sweeping, Grammy Album of the Year-nominated singer-songwriter who’s taken Nashville by storm over the past few months. Throw in Maddie and Tae (Girl in a Country Song) and more, and you’re looking at an early contender for country concert of the year.
Carly Rae Jepsen (Feb. 17, Ritz Ybor): If you love Jepsen’s acclaimed new album Emotion, you probably bought tickets to this one as soon as they went on sale. The Canadian singer-songwriter behind Call Me Maybe showed remarkable growth and depth on her sophomore album, sort of a more polished and experimental version of Taylor Swift’s 1989.
Gary Clark, Jr. (Feb. 18, Jannus Live): The Austin, Texas gunslinger is another one of those performers long overdue for a Tampa Bay show, after numerous acclaimed festival appearances and headlining tours around the world. He brings a fiery rock ‘n’ blues sensibility that honors the legacy of idols like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Rihanna (March 13, Amalie Arena): Look, Rihanna has to drop Anti sometime, doesn’t she? Hopefully it’ll happen before her much-anticipated return to Tampa, with rumored boyfriend Travis Scott in tow. If not, we’ll still probably get a taste of newer tracks like B--- Better Have My Money, American Oxygen and FourFive Seconds.
Underoath (March 16, Jannus Live): After three years on the sidelines, Christian metalcore heroes Underoath are back in action, and not a moment too soon. Fans scooped up tickets to this hometown show, which kicks off their reunion tour, in under an hour. They’ll be performing two of their albums, 2004’s They’re Only Chasing Safety and 2006’s Define the Great Line, in their entireties.
Duran Duran and Chic (April 2, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): Anytime Duran Duran comes to town, you can expect a night of good vibes powered by ‘80s nostalgia. And as hungry as we’ll be to hear hits like Notorious and The Wild Boys, the most thrilling part of the night might be a rare opening set by influential guitarist and producer Nile Rodgers and his reformed band Chic (Good Times, Le Freak).
Ellie Goulding (June 2, Amalie Arena): In a world dominated by Taylor Swift and Adele, it’s getting tougher and tougher for a pop star to stand out these days, but Goulding seems up to the task. Her ever-expanding roster of hits (Love Me Like You Do, Lights, On My Mind, Burn) powers this arena tour, which brings her to Tampa for the very first time.
Dixie Chicks (Aug. 19, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison canceled their last gig in Tampa when it conflicted with promotion for their documentary Shut Up and Sing. So this show has basically been more than a decade in the making. Considering the crossover success Nashville women have enjoyed over the past decade — everyone from Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert to Kelsea Ballerini and Cam — it seems the world is more than ready to make nice with the Dixie Chicks.
— Jay Cridlin