Tuesday, April 24, 2018
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Hank Jr. to Jimmy B: Top 10 concert picks for March in Tampa Bay

Deepest apologies to Demi Lovato, Tony Bennett, Dropkick Murphys, Gretchen Wilson, Phineas and Ferb, Lyle Lovett, Snow Patrol, Diana Krall and Kevin Costner — all of whom have gigs in the Tampa Bay area this March but DID NOT make our top concerts throwdown. When Lovato, Bennett and Ferb can't crack the list, you know it's a hot one. Herewith, 10 choices for your listening pleasure:

• Hank Williams Jr. (Florida Strawberry Festival, Sunday) We can all agree that Bocephus is an unhinged cowboy. Even his rah-rah right-wing fanbase wanted no part of his jingoistic Obama-as-Hitler nonsense, a boneheaded move that got him booted from Monday Night Football. That said, Jr. is a legendary showman, and hearing Family Tradition live in this rural setting is what country music is all about. (flstrawberryfestival.com)

• Trey Songz (Straz Center for the Performing Arts, March 6) As per her contract with the devil, Nicki Minaj must guest on every song on the radio. It's not always magic, but her loopy flow on Trey "Mr. Steal Yo Girl" Songz's Bottoms Up is one of her possessed best. Which is not to say she'll be joining the R&B hunk at his Tampa gig, but hey, it's still a slamming song. (strazcenter.org)

• Fun. (State Theatre, March 7) The darlings of iTunes, this NYC indie-pop band is setting 16-year-old hearts aflutter with Clearasil-age anthems such as We Are Young. Think of them as a GQ-pretty take on Panic at the Disco. (statetheatreconcerts.com)

• Elton John (Amway Center, March 10) I normally don't send you guys to Orlando for shows, such is the usual starpower on our shores. But I was raised on Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, and strongly advise a one-hour pilgrimage to see the Rocket Man. (amwaycenter.com)

• Mary J. Blige (Straz Center for the Performing Arts, March 19) Fair warning: The Queen of Hip Hop Soul is known for turning live shows into Oprah-esque self-help seminars. You'll get No More Drama; you'll also get "10 Ways to Leave Your No-Good Man." (strazcenter.org)

• Glen Campbell (Capitol Theatre, March 21 & 22) These shows are sold-out, but such is the emotional oomph of this visit — the Alzheimer's-stricken Rhinestone Cowboy is on a "goodbye" tour — it'd be plain wrong to leave them off. (rutheckerdhall.com)

• Wilson Phillips (Capitol Theatre, March 23) Thanks to Bridesmaids' chummy finale, Carnie, Wendy and Chynna are guilt-free girls-night-out fun again. So hold on for one more day, soccer moms, your '90s pop princesses will be here soon enough. (rutheckerdhall.com)

Bruce Springsteen (Tampa Bay Times Forum, March 23) Backstreeters will have just enough time to memorize every single word on new record Wrecking Ball, which drops March 6, before the Boss comes to town. In related news: First single We Take Care of Our Own is going to STOMP in concert. (tampabaytimesforum.com)

• Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santigold (Tampa Bay Times Forum, March 29) Not the world's biggest RHCP fan, but Flea (admittedly a ferocious bassist) and the excitable SoCal pop punks get inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame in April, so we should pay our respects. (tampabaytimesforum.com)

• Jimmy Buffett (1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre, March 30) Not the world's biggest Buffett fan, but on hungover Sundays, I'll put my vinyl copy of A1A on the player and breathe deep to Trying to Reason With the Hurricane Season. (livenation.com)

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected]

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