Times staff writers
We've got the final lineup of the artists on this year's Hooters Country Megaticket, a slate of big-name concerts coming this summer to the Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds (formerly the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre). Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley are the headlining acts on this year's shows, which run from May through October. The onsale dates for each individual show vary by concert, but starting Saturday, you can take advantage of the Megaticket, which gives you access to all eight concerts for as little as $199 for lawn seats. Reserved seats run from $499 to $998 per person. They go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday. Go to promo.livenation.com/megaticket for all the details on the Country Megaticket.
Beyonce, fun. launch tours, but not here
If you're still buzzing about Beyonce's Superdome-exploding Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night, good news: The singer has just announced an expansive world tour. The bad news: You'll have to drive a few hours to see it. Beyonce is skipping Tampa and Orlando on her upcoming "Mrs. Carter Show" tour; instead, she'll play two shows in South Florida: At the BB&T Center in Fort Lauderdale on July 9, and at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami on July 10. Tickets to the first show start at $45 and go onsale Friday; tickets to the second are $48 and go on sale Feb. 11. Likewise Grammy nominated fun. announced their upcoming "Most Nights" summer headline tour with Tegan and Sara but so far it's only Florida dates are Boca Raton on Sept. 18 and Orlando's UCF Arena on Sept. 19.
Jay Cridlin, Times staff writer
Review: More than bleeps and bloops
Rarely has the Florida Orchestra had such a young audience as it did Friday night at the Mahaffey Theater for Video Games Live, where it was tough to find anyone over 30 in the crowd.
Making its first appearance in the Tampa Bay area (and I so hope not the last), the concert series created by video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall shows how far video games have come from the days of Pong and Pac Man, with elaborate plots and themes and yes, composers. From the roars of recognition in the crowd you could tell this is the soundtrack to their lives.
Tallarico bounded on the stage in jeans, red tennis shoes and a blazer with an electric guitar slung over his shoulder, looking every inch the rock star. With the Florida Orchestra and the USF Chamber Singers providing the music, three large screens showed images from the games or shots of the musicians as the audience was invited to sing and shout out as they rolled out the famously creepy theme music for Castlevania, one of Nintendo's classic games.
Then the choir hilariously boomed "Sega!" and the lights of golden rings swirled over the rapt crowd as Sonic the Hedgehog images danced on screen.
The audience got into the act too, as four were picked to come on stage and play Super Smash Bros. Later a teenager named Brandon had to get at least 200,000 on Guitar Hero as the Foo Fighters' Pretender played. The audience started stirring as he reached the half way point, then grew more raucous and finally erupted when he passed 200,000, turning the young man into a real guitar hero that night.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer