Tampa Bay's top concerts of 2017: Bruno Mars, Tom Petty, Van Morrison, the Weeknd and more
Truth be told, you could compile a list of Tampa Bay’s most anticipated concerts of 2017 entirely from the calendar of Amalie Arena.
Tampa’s biggest venue has an utterly dynamite slate already lined up for 2017, including shows by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Church, Neil Diamond, Bon Jovi, Roger Waters, Soundgarden and Shawn Mendes — and those are the shows we DIDN’T pick for this list.
Out of fairness, we’ve expanded this list from 10 to 12 just to give other venues their fair shake, too. (If you're wondering, the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre has not yet announced any concerts for 2017, but they'll be coming after the new year.) There are many other great shows elsewhere (Don Henley, Kurt Vile, the Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson), but right now, though, the year is Amalie’s to lose.
College Football's Playoff Playlist Live! (Jan. 6-8, Curtis Hixon Park): Three free days of music is great and all, and yeah, it'll be fun to see artists like Flo Rida, Eric Paslay, Cold War Kids, Rachel Platten and Gavin DeGraw take the stage. But the night we've all got our eye on is Jan. 8, when the headliner is Usher. Mr. Raymond performing for free on the eve of college football's national championship? Say it with us now: YEAH!
Van Morrison (Jan. 17-19, Ruth Eckerd Hall): He hasn't played Tampa Bay in some 20 years, and in fact doesn't play many gigs anywhere these days. But the iconic singer-songwriter has a sold-out three-night stand at Ruth Eckerd that fans have been looking forward to for months.
Run the Jewels (Jan. 24, Jannus Live): Killer Mike and El-P just sneaked up and dropped their much-anticipatd Run the Jewels 3 on Christmas day, a few weeks ahead of schedule, giving you extra time to memorize every last forceful lyric.
Rick Astley (Feb. 6, Capitol Theatre): Just kidding! Or are we? C'mon, we wouldn't rickroll you like that. The British pop singer's first big tour in 20 years is going to be a ton of fun.
Tony Bennett (March 2, Mahaffey Theater): At 90 -- 90! -- the legendary crooner is still out there on the road, steppin' out to please his fans like the ageless wonder he is. We'd say this might be the last time Bennett comes through Tampa Bay, but the way he's going nowadays, who's to say?
Twenty One Pilots (Feb. 28, Amalie Arena): The incredible rise of alternative pop's hottest duo comes to a head with a show at Tampa's biggest venue that sold out months in advance. How do they do it? Their theatrical live shows are one big reason. Which is why so many tickets were snapped up so quickly.
Chris Rock (April 14-15, Straz Center): Rock's first big tour in years will bring him to Tampa for a two-night stand, during which he'll probably be prepping for his upcoming Netflix specials. Something tells us he'll have a lot on his mind.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (May 6, Amalie Arena): The king of Florida swamp rock has said this might be the Hearbreakers' last big tour. We doubt that, but still, a 40th anniversary celebration of one of the best catalogs in rock 'n' roll is a huge reason to celebrate.
The Weeknd (May 12, Amalie Arena): His last Tampa stop, in 2015, was a sold-out, blockbuster affair. When the pop/R&B whiz returns in support of new album Starboy, expect more of the same party vibe.
Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey (May 27, Amalie Arena): One of pop's greatest songwriters pairing up with one of its greatest voices? Our love for this show is ... what's the word ... endless. A headlining show by either of these top-notch talents would merit inclusion on this list, but to get them both on the same night is incredible.
Bruno Mars (Oct. 19, Amalie Arena): While women still rule the world when it comes to pop music, there is one man who can match the Beyonces and Adeles and Taylors of the world for sheer star sizzle, and that's Bruno. Mr. 24K Magic is going to knock 'em dead at this one. Good thing we have 10 months to prepare.
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw (Oct. 20, Amalie Arena): The husband-and-wife duo's revived Soul2Soul Tour may just break box office records like its predecessors in 2000 and 2006-07. Hill doesn't hit the road very often, and McGraw keeps banging out huge hits like Humble and Kind. So far, this looks to be the country show of the year.
What about you? What's your most anticipated concert of 2017?
-- Jay Cridlin