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From Ybor to stadium shows — today's big names started small

Now that she's one of the biggest stars in the world, it's easy to forget the humble origins of Lady Gaga. • In 2009, she performed not at the St. Pete Times Forum, but at the much smaller Ritz Ybor. And in 2008, she sang at the even tinier G.Bar, a gay club on Seventh Avenue. • It's a goal shared by almost every up-and-coming artist, isn't it? To go from playing small clubs to headlining 20,000-seat arenas? • Lady Gaga is only the most recent star who's risen from Ybor City to the St. Pete Times Forum (and its previous incarnation, the Ice Palace), where she performs Saturday night. Here are five more artists who have gone from Seventh Avenue to the biggest stage in Tampa Bay.

My Chemical Romance

Ybor City, Feb. 18, 2005: In its waning years, a handful of promising young bands played Masquerade, including the Killers, Panic at the Disco, and the ever-angsty My Chem.

St. Pete Times Forum, April 19, 2007: Some fans might be more interested in the opening act: A little British band called Muse.

Dave Matthews Band

Ybor City, March 2, 1994: No surprise here, since the road warriors played almost every club in the Southeast at some point in the early '90s. Six months before Under the Table and Dreaming, DMB played the old Ritz. How do $4 tickets sound?

Ice Palace, Aug. 25, 1998. DMB played the Ice Palace and St. Pete Times Forum five times, actually, before the arrival of the Ford Amphitheatre.

Matchbox Twenty

Ybor City, Feb. 11, 1997: Frankie's Patio! Remember that place? The Central Florida pop-rockers didn't even headline this show — they opened for Evan Dando and the Lemonheads.

Ice Palace, Oct. 2, 1998: In less than 20 months, Rob Thomas and company went from supporting club act to arena headliner.

Jonas Brothers

Ybor City, Sept. 30, 2006: Before they became international pop stars, the Jonas Brothers played Ybor's hipster haven, Orpheum, as part of a Disney promo tour. They drew only about 65 paying customers, and promoters lost about $1,000 on the night. Surreal footage of the show survives on YouTube.

St. Pete Times Forum, March 8, 2008: The JoBros opened for Miley Cyrus at the Forum in November 2007, in one of the hottest local concert tickets in recent memory. Four months later, they headlined the Forum all by themselves.

Smashing Pumpkins

Ybor City, Nov. 13, 1993: Before they became one of the biggest bands of the '90s, they were simply one of the coolest. This show at the Ritz Theatre, in support of Siamese Dream, sold out.

Ice Palace, Nov. 15, 1996: Before they became one of the most overblown bands of the '90s, they were simply one of the biggest. This show at the Ice Palace, in support of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, drew 13,523 fans.

Ybor City, July 21, 2010: What goes around, comes around. With Billy Corgan the Pumpkins' sole remaining original member, the Pumpkins bit the bullet for a short run of club shows, including the Ritz. Once again. This show sold out.

If you go

Lady Gaga, 8 p.m. Saturday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Glam-dance collective Scissor Sisters will open. Tickets start at $49.50, plus fees. (813) 301-2500.

Times (2009)

Two years ago, Lady Gaga performed at the Ritz in Ybor City; a year before that, she played the even smaller G.Bar. At 8 p.m. Saturday, she'll headline the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa.

From Ybor to stadium shows — today's big names started small 04/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 10:44pm]
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