I’m going to give you a little advice, something to make your life a whole lot easier. When it comes to celebrating major events (birthdays, anniversaries, festive holidays such as tonight's fiasco), you can't go wrong with a concert. Why? Because (1) it relieves that totally bogus let's-make-memories pressure; (2) painfully awkward small talk with someone you've known for years (e.g., your husband) is negated by guitar solos; and (3) there's usually a bar involved.
It's too late to save you from New Year's Eve shenanigans. (Good luck with that $100 bash at Club Desperation — trust me, you'll be dreaming of home by 10:46 p.m.) So let's shoot for Valentine's Day, which is the mother lode stressball of all major holidays. There are gobs of hot shows on or around Feb. 14, which falls on a clunky Sunday this year. So which concert is right for you and your special someone?
Allow me to help:
Black Eyed Peas
St. Pete Times Forum, Feb. 10
Your girlfriend likes to club hop and booty bounce. You, on the other hand, can't dance worth a lick and look like a Johnsonville bratwurst in leather pants. So here's the plan: Get tickets for this gig, stand behind your lady so that she can't see your clunky moves (but you can see hers — wink, wink) and then freely ogle Fergie with 20,000 other pretty people. Boom boom pow, indeed! (www.sptimesforum.com).
We the Kings
State Theatre, Feb. 12
It's not easy dating in junior high. You're still reliant on parental transpo. Plus, it's hard to make out in the family room, what with the lack of privacy and Mom's unsettling clown figurines. So take your eighth-grade squeeze to downtown St. Pete's darkest, coziest music hall, where you can grind it out to Bradenton's We the Kings and catch a quick kiss during Check Yes Juliet. Ah, the wonder years. (www.statetheatreconcerts.com).
THE RITZ YBOR, FEB. 14
You might think St. Patrick's Day when you hear the American-Celtic punk of Flogging Molly. Or maybe you think "I'd really love to kick someone's teeth in." But this hellzapoppin' feast for the ears, feet and fists is actually the ideal antidote to the mush that comes with Valentine's Day. Why? Because you like your hearts nice 'n' bloody with a side of oi! (www.ritzybor.com).
Harry Connick Jr.
Ruth Eckerd Hall, Feb. 12
Let's be clear about this: If you're a well-groomed banker between the ages of 38 and 52, and you take your newly augmented Real Housewife of Pinellas County girlfriend to this classy show … YOU ARE SO FREAKIN' IN, DUDE! Now give me an awkward high-five and go get those tickets! (www.rutheckerdhall.com).
Busch Gardens, Feb. 14
If you happen to be hopelessly engaged to a charmingly adolescent pop music critic who loves roller coasters, beer and the scraggly music of the Red Headed Stranger, you really should get tickets for this awesome event. Same goes for anyone who's been stoned since 1976. (www.buschgardens.com).
The Straz Center, Feb. 12 & Ruth Eckerd Hall, Feb. 14
The crown jewel of Tampa Bay will be performing Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, which is kind of like Ludwig's Joshua Tree. It doesn't matter who you are — a real housewife, a real stoner, a real punk — you can't go wrong with this night of music. (www.tbpac.org).
Sean Daly can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life column runs every Sunday in Floridian.