There's a somewhat intoxicating all-or-nothing air around the Tampa Bay Rays this year, isn't there? It's both awesome and apocalyptic, as if we're going to win the World Series then immediately sink into the gulf. We'll take it! If this is Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena's last tilt with the team, we're intent to go out with a big, soul-selling bang.
With that in mind, it was both incredibly thrilling and not that shocking when the Rays on Wednesday released the first five acts of their 10-show Summer Concert Series at Tropicana Field. Not only are they better names than in a past filled with 3 Doors Down and MC Hammer, but this year's talent rivals a lot of the gigs being planned for our real concert venues. Herewith, the five shows confirmed for the Rays' Apocalypse Now season:
April 24, Rays vs. Blue Jays: John Fogerty
Are you kidding me?! Mr. Born on the Bayou, the Lord of Green River, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame King of Creedence is not only going to play the Trop — he's going to play Centerfield and pick out a solo on a guitar shaped like a Louisville Slugger. I've seen it. It's awesome. We're definitely submerging into the Big Briny after this season.
May 1, Rays vs. Royals: ZZ Top
Now I ask you: Is there anything hotter than shaking your caboose post-victory to sinister Texas boogie as ripped by the bawdy Bearded Boys? How in the heck did Ruth Eckerd Hall, who books the Summer Concert shows, pull this off? The Rays reportedly set a budget for these shows, which means they're pulling out serious stops for tunes.
May 15, Rays vs. Mariners: Nelly
A few years ago, I had the chance to chat with Crawford about his favorite tunes. At the time, C.C. was rocking to rappers Young Jeezy and Juvenile. Now, Nelly is more party hip-hop (remember Country Grammar), but still.
I'm looking at this two ways: (1) It's a goodbye gift to our beloved leftfielder or (2) this is just the beginning in a series of grand gifts and gestures to get Carl to stay. What do you think?
May 29, Rays vs. White Sox: Hall & Oates
I have a fun little prediction. When Mssrs. H&O, two of the greatest pure-pop craftsmen of all time, break into Kiss on My List, the mood will be so hot and chummy, the super-hot Rays Dancing Girls, especially the lanky one in the specs, will start searching the stands, desperate for doughy middle-aged men to smooch. In related news: I sit in Sec. 113.
July 10, Rays vs. Indians: The Go-Go's
Again, what's more fun than celebrating a 10-1 thumping of the Tribe by shimmying along to Our Lips Are Sealed? This also plays into my plan — formulated when I was 13 years old — to interview Belinda Carlisle and have her fall in love with me and/or kidnap her in the back of my father's 1979 beige Toyota Tercel. Yep, it's going to be a dream season at the Trop.
And to think, boys and girls, that's just the beginning. There are still five more acts to be named. If this is it, let's shoot the moon.
How about AC/DC? Heck, Brian Johnson lives in Sarasota. What about Jay-Z? Let's offer him part ownership of the team! And for that final show, Sept. 25, let's gather our strength and scream from the C-ring: Bruuuuuuuce!
Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. His Pop Life column runs every Sunday in Floridian.