We’re T-minus 13 days to T-Day in Tampa: the day Taylor Swift brings her Reputation Tour to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Surely that’s the biggest local show of the fall, right?
Not so fast. Swift’s the world’s biggest pop star, but there are still good seats to be found for this one, which you can’t say about some of the other major concerts coming to Tampa Bay the rest of this year.
To help you fill out your datebook with maximum efficiency, we’re going month by month with this one, starting with an August so jam-packed we can’t fit all of this week’s best music in one place.
There will surely be more major shows announced soon (December’s 97X Next Big thing and 93.3-FLZ Jingle Ball come to mind), and we’re already looking forward to Shawn Mendes, Herbie Hancock and Pink in 2019. For even more concert listings we couldn’t fit in here, see tampabay.com/thingstodo.
Until then, chow down on these 50 killer shows — yes, including Taylor — to get you started.
Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town
Calling Lambert the Queen of Country Music doesn’t quite do her resume justice — she’s possibly the most decorated singer-songwriter in Nashville, having won nine of the last Female Vocalist of the Year trophies at the ACMs, and seven of the last eight at the CMAs. What does she have to do to win Entertainer of the Year? Joining her is hitmaking vocal machine Little Big Town, making this a strong night for country’s underserved female artists. With Turnpike Troubadours and Tenille Townes. 7 p.m. Friday. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $34.25 and up. (813) 740-2446. livenation.com.
Kesha and Macklemore
What a pleasure it is to see Kesha back headlining big venues. Two years after playing the Ritz Ybor during her tentative comeback from years of legal purgatory following allegations of assault and abuse from producer Dr. Luke, she’s a Grammy nominee whose acclaimed 2017 album Rainbow featured the devastating ballad Praying. As for Macklemore, he’s out to prove the ceiling can’t hold him even without partner in rhyme Ryan Lewis. Definitely dress up in your freakiest thrift-shop attire. 7 p.m. Sunday. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. $30.50 and up.
At 52, Janet Jackson has entered the lifetime-achievement phase of her career, receiving an Icon Award at this year’s Billboard Music Awards. But 52 isn’t really that old, is it? We should instead look at this latter-day celebration of Ms. Jackson (because we’re nasty) as a reappraisal of an artist who’s still out there among us, touring and recording with newfound intensity. She’s headlining major festivals this year, including Essence, Panorama and Outside Lands, and is now bringing her legendary catalog to Tampa at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. $20 and up.
That emphatic, theatrical squeal you just heard was your neighborhood a cappella group freaking out that this hugely popular vocal quintet is coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
Are they the biggest, most relevant American band in rock? Almost every single they release, including this year’s Whatever It Takes, screams up the charts. Scream along with them at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
A more subdued rock offering comes from this beloved early indie-emo act, which reunited in 2014 after a long hiatus and will make its local debut at the Orpheum, 1915 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. theorpheum.com.
Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin
Scream like you mean it and try not to break anything at what will be one of August’s biggest, heaviest shows at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre.
Kanye, Drake and Post Malone have all made a lot of noise this summer, but J. Cole’s loyal army will always ride or die with his older-school style and unrepentant side-eye cast to the rest of the industry. He’ll spotlight his new album KOD at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. amaliearena.com.
Can any show possibly live up to the culture-shaking experience that was Swift’s 1989 Tour? Reviews of her Reputation Tour are pretty glowing so far. Sorry, haters, but with Camila Cabello and Charli XCX on board, this Raymond James Stadium show could be fall’s most defiant pop package. raymondjamesstadium.com.
Wiz Khalifa and Rae Sremmurd
Wiz has the hits (Black and Yellow, See You Again), but it’s Rae Sremmurd who seem more intent on shaking up rap culture. They’re the real reason to hit this show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.
Journey and Def Leppard
If America eventually adopts Don’t Stop Believin’ as its national anthem, it’s only fair England does the same with Pour Some Sugar On Me. Hear them both at Amalie Arena.
It’s a best-of-the-’80s smorgasbord: Rick Springfield (Jessie’s Girl), Tommy Tutone (867-5309/Jenny), Greg Kihn (The Breakup Song) and the Fixx (One Thing Leads to Another) on one night at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater. rutheckerdhall.com.
There are lots of reasons to visit Orlando this fall, but none bigger than the first couple of pop and hip-hop bringing their On The Road II Tour to Camping World Stadium in support of excellent new album Everything Is Love. 1 Citrus Bowl Place, Orlando. campingworldstadium.com.
Even if you’re Team Mendes or Team Bieber or Team Jonas, you have to appreciate the finesse of Puth’s sleek new album Voicenotes, which he’ll bring to life at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.
G-Eazy and Lil Uzi Vert
It’s a stacked lineup of era-appropriate hip-hop and R&B, with lanky Oakland slickster G-Eazy and Philly emo-rapper Lil Uzi Vert leading the way. Ty Dolla $ign, YBN Nahmir and Murda Beats are also on the bill at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.
The perpetual curmudgeon swears this is it, he’s really retiring from the road this time. Which makes this show at Amalie Arena your last chance to hear him sing his hard-to-match American songbook.
The German metal pioneers had to cancel their show here last fall due to illness, but are coming back to Amalie Arena to rock you like a hurricane.
Always a sloshy good time on his own, Bentley secured the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater’s best country undercard of the year in whip-smart duo the Brothers Osborne and charging country-rockers Lanco.
Niall Horan and Maren Morris
You wanted a full solo concert by a member of One Direction, you got it. But get to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater early to see Maren Morris, who sings one of the year’s biggest hit in The Middle.
Ski Mask the Slump God
The death of Ski Mask’s friend XXXTentacion put a new spotlight on South Florida’s troubled lo-fi rap scene. This Ritz Ybor show is a chance for him to show what potential still exists in the Sunshine State. 1503 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. ritzybor.com.
The Aussie pop singer will make his local debut at the Mahaffey Theater shortly after releasing his sophomore album Bloom, featuring the effusive title track and My My My!, two of the year’s best singles. 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. themahaffey.com.
Dashboard Confessional and All Time Low
Dashboard Confessional just played Jannus Live in March, but this time they’ll bring All Time Low to boost the emo-pop-punk nostalgia even higher. 200 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg. jannuslive.com.
Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker
Hearty, wholesome country at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater, and a pretty good chance they’ll duet on Hold My Hand, like they did at last year’s CMAs.
The Talking Heads frontman comes to town for the first time in a decade, with an ingenious production in tow: His band members all play mobile, untethered instruments, marching band-style. Don’t be shocked to see them walking the aisles of the Mahaffey Theater.
4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince
A lavish orchestral Prince tribute, curated by Questlove and approved by the Purple One’s family and estate, at the Yuengling Center (formerly the USF Sun Dome)? Sure, why not. 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa. yuenglingcenter.com.
Kid Rock/Brantley Gilbert
While it may not be the best place to wear that handmade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tee you bought off Etsy, this country-hard rock mashup show is still worth the trip to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.
The King of Bachata returns for a rare Latin headlining show at Amalie Arena. Bring your dancing shoes.
Last seen here opening for Foo Fighters in April, the British glam-rockers get the stage all to themselves at the Orpheum, and irrepressible singer Luke Spiller will make the most of it.
Clearwater Jazz Holiday
This year’s bill has the Doobie Brothers, George Thorogood, Mindi Abair, JJ Grey and Mofro, but don’t miss the Prince-themed night on Friday, featuring Sheila E and Morris Day and the Time. Coachman Park, 301 Drew St., Clearwater. clearwaterjazz.com.
Come to Ruth Eckerd Hall and sing it with us: GONNA TAKE A LOT TO TAKE ME AWAY FROM YOUUUUUUU.
No one expected we’d see the teenybopping MMMBop trio touring with a symphony orchestra in 2018, but here we are. Release your inner tween at this Mahaffey Theater show.
Quite possibly the Latin pop crossover star of the moment, Balvin’s oeuvre includes recent singles with Beyoncé (Mi Gente), Liam Payne (Familiar) and Cardi B (I Like It). A coup for the Yuengling Center.
The only thing suspicious about these Grammy-nominated, mind-bendy alt-rockers is how they haven’t headlined Jannus Live before now.
Twenty One Pilots
Not that you needed further proof that Twenty One Pilots are the biggest alternative act in America, but this show at Amalie Arena sold out hours after going on sale. These guys are in rarefied air.
How did Ed Sheeran go from opening for Snow Patrol at Jannus Live to bringing Snow Patrol as his opening act at Raymond James Stadium? The songs, man. You can’t deny that guy’s gift with a pen.
This year’s headliners include Barenaked Ladies, Josh Turner and Los Lonely Boys, but the coolest thing is that in honor of the fest’s 30th anniversary, Friday’s admission is only $5 at the gate. Vinoy Park, 501 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg. ribfest.org.
They’ve always begged us not to forget about them, and so we won’t, not with this show at the Mahaffey Theater inked on our calendar.
If you’ve never seen the Beach Boys legend perform their iconic Pet Sounds in full, this symphony-backed gig at Ruth Eckerd Hall will be one of your final chances.
St. Pete Beach BikeFest
Sister Hazel, Travis Tritt and 38 Special lead the way, but here’s the real appeal: free general admission for cheapo beach bums outside St. Pete Beach’s TradeWinds Island Resorts, 5500 Gulf Blvd. stpetebeachbikefest.com.
Christina Aguilera and Big Boi
The onetime chart-topping pop diva returned to the spotlight this year, and she’ll do so locally with this more intimate gig at the Mahffey Theater alongside Outkast rapper Big Boi.
Iron and Wine
Any chance you get to catch a live show at the historic Tampa Theatre is worth the effort, especially when this soft-spoken indie bard is the man on stage. 711 N Franklin St. tampatheatre.org.
The strangest concert experience of the fall: a hologram show at Ruth Eckerd Hall featuring the Only the Lonely singer, who has been dead since 1988. Creepy, or a glimpse at the future of concerts? You decide!
You don’t have to love theatrical classic metal to enjoy this show by Swedish rockers Ghost at Ruth Eckerd Hall, but it helps. All hail Cardinal Copia!
Minus the Bear
It’s been 17 great years for the beloved Seattle blog-rockers, but they’re saying goodbye with a farewell stop at the Ritz Ybor.
Here’s the other hottest ticket of fall: a seat for Sir Elton’s "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour, which swiftly sold out Amalie Arena. Even if you don’t believe he’s really retiring, it’s clear he won’t be staging a tour this grand again.
Perhaps in an effort to separate himself with all the other Lils out there changing the face of young rap (Lil Pump, Lil Skies, Lil Tay, Lil Uzi Vert), Lil Xan recently got a face tattoo inspired by the late XXXTentacion. Good luck spotting it from the crowd at what’s sure to be a packed Ritz Ybor.
Brian Setzer Orchestra
December brings a sleighload of holiday tours, but few will be more fun than Setzer’s over-the-top annual tour, which returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall for the second time in as many years. Go, daddy-O.
Here’s the other great Christmas gig on this list: Emmy-winning Glee star Jane Lynch and her band (which includes Kate Flannery, a.k.a. Meredith from The Office), bringing swing and big-band-styled hits to the Straz Center’s intimate Jaeb Theater for a two-night stand. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. strazcenter.org.
This Yuengling Center show by reunited metalcore heroes Underoath will be historic: It’ll be the first time a band raised and based in Tampa Bay has headlined one of its arenas.
Halestorm/In This Moment
98 Rock’s "Not So Silent Night" show at the Mahaffey Theater features two of the toughest, shreddiest ladies in rock in Lzzy Hale and Maria Brink.
Contact Jay Cridlin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8336. Follow @JayCridlin.