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The best Tampa Bay concerts of 2013, Part 5: Kanye West, Bruno Mars, Bob Dylan and more



(All week on Soundcheck, our contributors are looking back at the best local concerts of 2013. Today: Tampa Bay Times pop music critic Sean Daly.)

When handsome Soundcheck rogue Jay Cridlin asked me for my top show picks of 2013, I went with the ones that immediately came to mind for standing out among the pack. Each had flaws but stayed with me. Herewith, six gigs and an excerpt of whatever I managed to scribble at the time:

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell (May 23, Mahaffey Theater): “Yes, there was nimble bluegrass and pretty lights and perfect sound and Martin’s deft clawhammer banjo picking, a hobby that’s given the funnyman a second career. But there was also comedy, belly-laugh heaps of it: dry chuckles, goofy snorts, a silly sight gag involving a stand-up bass as a refrigerator. From the second the white-haired icon came out to wild applause, he was locked in and riffing: 'Now I wished I’d practiced!’”

Americanarama Festival (Bob Dylan, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, Bob Weir; June 27, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre): “A Dylan show isn’t pretty, but it’s not without beauty. The old-timey ballroom ballad Soon After Midnight was delivered like a lover’s whisper. His reading of Tangled Up in Blue, the highlight of the fest, was devastating. Bob’s whole career has been about reinvention, the thread that binds these Americanarama acts. Though some things have indeed changed, Bob Dylan is wise enough to know that some things should stay blissfully the same.”

Bruno Mars (Aug. 28, Tampa Bay Times Forum): “The 27-year-old Grammy winner born Peter Gene Hernandez understands that showmanship is key — and maybe missing in many respects today — and although his 90-minute show was a bit slight, it was packed with an organic, holy-moly sexy energy. In case you didn’t know, Mars sings about girls — all of them.”

Loretta Lynn (Sept. 14, Mahaffey Theater): “It’s safe to say no one’s ever been tougher in tulle and taffeta than Loretta Lynn. Floating into our orbit like Glinda the Good Witch with a grudge, the 81-year-old country queen twanged out sass and sage advice Saturday all while dressed in a cotton-candy explosion.”

Sitting onstage with the Florida Orchestra (Nov. 23, Mahaffey Theater): “There was something inherently fascinating, downright voyeuristic, in peering over the shoulder of a regal French horn player, clad in a crisp tuxedo, as he emptied his spit valve over and over again. Thwapp!”

Kanye West (Nov. 30, Tampa Bay Times Forum): “Oy ’Ye, where to start with this one, a 2-hour-plus melange of well-choreographed ego, as controlled as the chaos in the Chicagoan’s solipsistic brain can get. It ended with a prayer but started with a tantrum.”

-- Sean Daly, tbt*

[Last modified: Thursday, December 19, 2013 11:14am]


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