Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Music News, Concert Reviews

Summer concert preview: 52 of Tampa Bay's best shows, Ed Sheeran to Chance the Rapper to U2

When it comes to spring and summer music in Tampa Bay, it doesn't matter what kind of tunes you dig — Amalie Arena has you covered. Starting this weekend with the Chainsmokers and Chris Brown, Amalie's slate is loaded with some 20 gigantic concerts between now and Labor Day, with even more coming this fall, including Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Can anyone match Amalie's stacked slate? Let's work through this summer's most anticipated concerts to find out.

POP/HIP-HOP

Amalie Arena: You can begin and end with Ed Sheeran (Aug. 29), possibly the world's biggest male pop star (sorry, Drake), and Amalie's summer would be set. That the arena also booked Ed Sheeran Beta (John Mayer, Aug. 8) and Ed Sheeran 2.0 (Shawn Mendes, July 7) is just a bonus. Throw in the Weeknd (May 12), Chance the Rapper (June 14) and Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull (June 22), and their summer looks unbeatable.

Elsewhere: The rest of this year's best pop and hip-hop concerts are spread far and wide. One biggie is soul crooner John Legend on May 13 at Coachman Park — a show booked by Ruth Eckerd Hall, which hosts Sheryl Crow on April 30 and Idina Menzel on May 25. The Sunset Music Festival will bring neon-clad masses to Raymond James Stadium on May 27-28. Beyond that, the best pop and hip-hop shows are all over the place — Train at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater (May 25), T.I. at Jannus Live (June 10), Kehlani at the Orpheum (July 20) and Fiesta Maxima with Daddy Yankee at the USF Sun Dome (May 13).

ROCK

Amalie Arena: Things'll get loud and proud when the Red Hot Chili Peppers (April 27) and 98 Rockfest with Soundgarden and A Day to Remember (April 28) on back-to-back nights. And who can resist the call of legendary shredders Iron Maiden (June 11)

Elsewhere: The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater has a few big package tours coming, including Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars (May 21), Rise Against and Deftones (June 22), Incubus and Jimmy Eat World (July 7), Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows (Aug. 15) and Nickelback and Daughtry (Aug. 1). There are some cool shows coming to small venues, including Spoon (May 1, Ritz Ybor), the Naked and Famous (May 5, State Theatre), the Shins (May 13, Jannus Live), the Head and the Heart (May 16, Jannus Live) and punk legends the Damned and X (May 13 and 14, respectively, at the State Theatre). And then there's the Vans Warped Tour, July 1 at Vinoy Park in St. Pete. But no question, Central Florida's two biggest summer shows are stadium affairs: U2's Joshua Tree anniversary tour on June 14 at Raymond James Stadium, and Metallica on July 5 at Orlando's Camping World Stadium. Hard to get bigger and louder than that.

RETRO ACTIVITY

Amalie Arena: Amalie hits classic rock and pop pretty hard this summer, with Neil Diamond (April 23), Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper (July 8), Roger Waters (July 11) and Lionel Richie with Mariah Carey. Then there's New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men (July 15). Middle School You is weeping right now.

Elsewhere: The MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater brings Jimmy Buffett (June 3), Chicago and the Doobie Brothers (June 29), Styx and REO Speedwagon (July 18) and Foreigner and Cheap Trick (Aug. 2). And there are some fun theater shows, too, like Todd Rundgren (May 27, Mahaffey Theater) and Diana Ross (June 21, Ruth Eckerd Hall). But the real retro fun comes in the form of several late-'80s/early-'90s pop, R&B and freestyle shows popping up all over. There's Spring Jam with Guy, Dru Hill, Tony Toni Tone and more on April 21 at the USF Sun Dome. There's Bell Biv DeVoe with SWV and En Vogue on May 14 at the Mahaffey Theater. And there's Stevie B, Expose, Ace of Base's Jenny Berggren and more on May 20 at Jannus Live. Dust off your Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper and write those dates down.

COUNTRY

Amalie Arena: A few rebellious country icons are coming this spring — Eric Church (May 4) and Alabama with the Charlie Daniels Band (May 28).

Elsewhere: But Amalie always has to go up against the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, whose stacked lineup includes Brantley Gilbert (June 2), Dierks Bentley (June 16), Sam Hunt (July 14), Lady Antebellum (July 28) and Jason Aldean (Aug. 18), with openers like Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Chris Young and Kane Brown sprinkled throughout. Summer's made for tailgatin', and you can only do that outdoors.

 
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