The Tampa Bay Rays may lose flashy Carl Crawford real soon, so it makes sense that the ol' ballclub just signed on an even flashier star to jazz up the Trop's outfield. Well, at least he's trashier. Now batting his guylinered lashes … Adam Lambert!
That's right: American Idol's controversial "Glambert," the runnerup on last season's show, was one of three big-name acts added to the Rays Summer Concert Series on Wednesday. Country fave Dierks Bentley and reigning iTunes champ Train also will perform free postgame gigs at Tropicana Field this year.
John Fogerty (April 24), ZZ Top (May 1), Nelly (May 15), Hall and Oates (May 29) and the Go-Gos (July 10) were earlier announced as upcoming performers during the 2010 campaign. Two more big acts are expected to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Last season's Summer Concert Series, which included Idol's bald belter Chris Daughtry and fist-pumping '80s queen Pat Benatar, was a seat-stuffing smash, especially for a team with a notoriously shaky ability to put fannies in the stands. The average attendance in 2009 was 23,147; however, for concert nights, which were usually on Saturdays, the Rays averaged more than 30,000.
Daughtry and the Beach Boys were two of the highest draws, bringing in 36,973 people each — or 102.6 percent capacity.
This season is shaping up to be the team's best yet — at least in terms of musical talent. The fluffy roots-rockers in Train, whose incessantly (some might say annoyingly) catchy Hey, Soul Sister is one of the hottest downloads of the year, will perform Aug. 14 after the Rays' 4:10 p.m. tilt with the Baltimore Orioles. For anyone who complained about the Rays not getting topical talent, there's no band hotter right this minute than Train.
Lambert, with Michael Jackson's guitar whiz Orianthi opening for him, will put on the glitz Sept. 18 after the Rays take on the Los Angeles Angels. First pitch for that game is 6:10 p.m. The caterwauling rocker stirred up a whole mess of post-Idol controversy after indulging in some same-sex shenanigans on a televised awards show. Rest assured, the shrieker will be family-friendly at this gig. (We hope.)
And on Sept. 25, the likably mellow Bentley, loaded with an arsenal of Nashville No. 1s, will play after the Rays' 7:10 duel against the Seattle Mariners. Tampa Bay is a country music market, so don't be surprised if Bentley sells out in a hurry, too.
For ticket information, call 888-FAN-RAYS or go to www.raysbaseball.com.
Times researcher Will Short Gorham contributed to this report. Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life column runs every Sunday in Floridian.