Summer concert preview: Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, Zac Brown Band, Nine Inch Nails, more coming to Tampa

MAY 1: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
MAY 1: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Published April 17, 2014

The best of the best

These 30 concerts are great, but which ones made tbt* entertainment editor Jay Cridlin's top 10? Scan this page with your Layar app to find out. Need help? See Page 26.

98 Rockfest

Headliners Avenged Sevenfold will put on a wild, pyro-filled show, but if you metalheads can't spring for a ticket, there's a free, eardrum-rattling preshow outside the Forum featuring Trivium, Fozzy, Lacuna Coil and more. April 25 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum;

M. Ward

He may be best known as a collaborator — he's the Him in Zooey Deschanel's She & Him — but the man born Matthew Ward is a talented indie-pop singer-songwriter in his own right. An enthusiastic group of fans eager to celebrate this rare Florida show will be on hand to greet him. May 1 at the State Theatre;

R. Kelly

Forget, for a moment, his messy legal and sexual history. The R&B king is still a master of kinky, unforgettable anthems, from Bump & Grind to I Believe I Can Fly to Trapped In The Closet to Ignition (Remix). Your mind may be telling you no, but your body ... your body's telling you yes. May 1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum;

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Twenty-four hours before the Big Guava Festival, one of the most legendary live acts of all time will put the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre through one heck of an intense warm-up. May 1 at the Amphitheatre;

Big Guava Festival

The reunited Outkast is the biggest name at this reimagined festival, followed by fellow headliners Vampire Weekend and Foster the People. But there are plenty of notable names up and down the bill, from rappers Chance the Rapper and Earl Sweatshirt to indie-rockers Tegan and Sara, Haim, Sleigh Bells and Grouplove. May 2-4 at the Florida State Fairgrounds;

Taste of Pinellas

After a year off, Taste of Pinellas returns to a new location across from the Dali Museum with a lineup full of classic pop and rock: Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Bruce Hornsby, Loverboy, KC and the Sunshine Band and the Blues Brothers. Yes, Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi themselves. May 10-11 at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg;

Tropical Heatwave

Community radio station WMNF-88.5's eclectic gathering has a strong lineup, led by singer-songwriters Hayes Carll and Joseph Arthur, plus an energetic indie-rock outfit that's no stranger to Ybor City: The Hold Steady. May 10-11 at venues in and around the Cuban Club;

Slick Rick and Rakim

A pair of bona fide old-school legends — Slick Rick may be rap's cleverest storyteller, and Rakim is in the discussion for greatest flow of all time — unite for what may be one of the best hip-hop shows of the year. May 11 at Jannus Live;

97X Backyard BBQ

A handful of the hottest names in modern rock — including British buzz bands Bastille (Pompeii) and The 1975 (Chocolate), and South African group Kongos (Come With Me Now) — lead a lineup of up-and-coming acts who have yet to receive a proper local spotlight. Tickets are free at various giveaway locations (see for details), or you can just pick one up for $20 via Ticketmaster. May 17 at Vinoy Park.

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Old Crow Medicine Show

Americana favorites Old Crow Medicine Show predate the Avetts and the Mumfords of the world, and it's been a long time since they've played Tampa Bay. That'll change when the group — whose reimagining of Bob Dylan's Wagon Wheel became a huge country hit for Darius Rucker — comes to Jannus Live on May 23. See

Sunset Music Festival

Nearly 50 electronic artists — including at least a dozen of DJ Mag's top 100 DJs in the world — will play Tampa's biggest EDM festival. Among the biggest names: pop-crossover hitmaker Zedd (Clarity, Stay the Night), Krewella (Alive), Benny Benassi (Cinema) and Dutch house DJ Hardwell, who in 2013 was crowned the world's best DJ. Get tickets at

Neon Trees

Neon Trees made news recently when singer Tyler Glenn came out of the closet in an interview with Rolling Stone. But the Utah band's roster of energetic pop-rock hits (Animal, Everybody Talks) are worthy of attention in their own right. May 28 at the Ritz Ybor;

Zac Brown Band

It's always a party when Brown and his Georgia barnburners come to town, but this two-night stand is extra special because it features opening act Kacey Musgraves, winner of this year's Grammy for Best Country Album. May 29-30 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;


Back in 1986, the Smiths played their final U.S. show at the old Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg. Frontman Morrissey will return to that general area for this solo show — assuming it takes place; he hasn't exactly been the most reliable touring artist in recent years. May 30 at the Mahaffey Theater; see

Drive-By Truckers

Garden and Gun magazine recently called frontman Patterson Hood "The Southern Springsteen," and they've become one of the South's top alt-country-rock groups. Their 10th studio album, English Oceans, is only the latest chapter in their soulful, raucous history. June 3 at the Tampa Theatre;


The Tampa Bay Rays are always good for a surprise or two in their annual Summer Concert Series. Nothing would be stranger than hearing El Scorcho, Tired of Sex or any other song from Pinkerton following a Rays-Mariners game. June 7 at Tropicana Field;

Counting Crows

Adam Duritz is one of alt-rock's great paramours (Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Mary-Louise Parker, Emmy Rossum, the list goes on ...), but he's also one of its best pure songwriters. Throw in an opening set by Toad the Wet Sprocket, and this is a killer '90s bill. June 11 at the Straz Center;

Summerland Tour

Speaking of killer '90s bills, how does a free festival featuring Everclear (Santa Monica), Soul Asylum (Runaway Train), Eve 6 (Inside Out) and Spacehog (In the Meantime) strike you? June 14 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg;

Cut Copy

This Australian electronic-rock outfit is playing both Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza this summer. Not too shabby for them! In between, they'll squeeze in a club gig at Tampa's Ritz Ybor. Not too shabby for us! June 17 at the Ritz;

Katy Perry

Oh, you know, only one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. No biggie. June 30 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum;

Ray LaMontagne

The rust-voiced LaMontagne is a soulful acolyte of The Band and Nick Drake perhaps best known for his 2005 single Trouble, which found eternal life in a commercial for Travelers Insurance. But opener Jenny Lewis is an exciting addition in her own right. The former child actress (Troop Beverly Hills) became an indie-rock heroine through her group Rilo Kiley. July 10 at Ruth Eckerd Hall;

Lionel Richie

Fans will be dancing on the ceiling — or at least the amphitheatre lawn — when the legendary singer-songwriter returns to Tampa for his first public show in years. Joining him is freaky teddy bear CeeLo Green, ensuring the party will go on all night long. July 14, MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Dave Matthews Band

Dave and his jammy troupe have played Tampa's outdoor shed just about every year it's been open. They'll mix things up this year by incorporating an acoustic set. It'll still be funky, just not quite as fun-kay, you dig? July 16 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Kiss and Def Leppard

So what if they don't have Ace Frehley or Peter Criss? Kiss still has Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons' tongue. And Def Leppard has a huge catalog of hair-metal hits. If you like big, meaty rock 'n' roll, this is the summer show for you. July 23 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Fall Out Boy and Paramore

It's a throwback to the days when formerly Tampa pop-punk label Fueled By Ramen ruled the world, as the longtime labelmates team up for a night of emo hits, from Dance Dance to Misery Business. But it's not simply a nostalgia tour — the group's 2013 albums, Fall Out Boy's Save Rock and Roll and Paramore's eponymous release, received some of the best reviews of their careers. July 26 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars

Fresh off an Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto and his band are embarking on their biggest tour to date, a summer jaunt with modern metal heroes Linkin Park. Aug. 9 at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa; see

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden

Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral and Soundgarden's Superunknown were released on the same day in 1994. Twenty years later, the goth and grunge gods will unite for one of the summer's heaviest and most intense tours. Aug. 11 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;


First came Apologize and Secrets, then came the smash single Counting Stars. Now rumor has it singer and songwriter Ryan Tedder has been recruited to work on U2's new album. Yes, it's not a bad time to be in OneRepublic. Aug. 16 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Motley Crue

The hair-metal legends swear they're calling it quits after this one final tour. And they're going out with a bang, bringing Alice Cooper out as an opening act. Hey, Tommy Lee is known for going big. Aug. 17 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre;

Tori Amos

It's been far too long since '90s alt-rock chanteuse Tori Amos has fluttered into Tampa Bay like an elfin, flame-haired butterfly. This tour comes in support of her forthcoming album Unrepentant Geraldines, due May 13. Aug. 22 at Ruth Eckerd Hall;