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Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.

Luis Santana

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.

Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

"I didn't give up," he clarified afterward. "I've just been married for 21 years. How many of y'all are married? So you know what I'm talking about: She's the boss."

Hill smiled and rolled her eyes the way spouses often do.

"That's okay," she assured him. "It takes two."

That it does on Hill and McGraw's 2017 Soul2Soul Tour, which played to 13,500 lovestruck fans at Tampa's Amalie Arena Friday night. The Nashville power couple's third-ever tour together, and first in a decade, arrived a month before they drop The Rest of Our Life, their first duets album in 21 years of marriage.

Both Hill and McGraw turned 50 on their tour, but you would never know it from their sculpted-from-stone physiques -- McGraw's taut and sturdy, veins popping from his biceps; Hill's airy and athletic, and always in motion. Between them and their 10-piece band, the Hill-McGraws owned the arena-sized stage, with elaborate, futuristic lights and lasers transforming what could’ve been a by-the-book hit parade into a spectacle befitting their A-list reputations. …

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Paul Rodgers replacing ZZ Top on Ribfest 2017 lineup

Paul Rodgers

Paul Rodgers

In looking to replace the ailing ZZ Top, Ribfest found some good company in Bad Company.

Singer Paul Rodgers will headline the opening night of Ribfest 2017, Nov. 10 at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. One of the great classic rock voices, he'll deliver hits from his bands Bad Company (Bad Company, Feel Like Makin' Love, Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy) and Free (All Right Now).

Rodgers joins a lineup that also includes Dennis DeYoung, Ambrosia, the Charlie Daniels Band, Rodney Atkins and more. Tickets start at $30 per day, or $25 at Circle K stores.

Click here for all the details on Ribfest 2017.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Photos: Maroon 5's PJ Morton slides into Tampa for an electric set at Crowbar

PJ Morton performed at Crowbar in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2017.

Octavio Jones

PJ Morton performed at Crowbar in Tampa on Oct. 19, 2017.

While the rest of Tampa was off partying with Bruno Mars at Amalie Arena, a much smaller group of fans were getting down with Maroon 5 at Crowbar.

Well, not the full band, of course. Just keyboardist PJ Morton, an electric pop/soul/R&B singer in his own right. Morton joined Maroon 5 in 2012, but has been recording for years with artists like Stevie Wonder, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes.

The crowd in attendance got a taste of songs old and new. Morton said he doesn't make it to Florida often, but he'd like to change that. Sounds like a plan, with or without Maroon 5.

Octavio Jones was in the crowd; click the headline of this post for a few of his photos.

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Review: Bruno Mars' charisma glitters like gold at Tampa's Amalie Arena

Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.

Jay Cridlin

Bruno Mars performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Oct. 19, 2017.

Nothing in this world should be as easy as Bruno Mars makes it look. Not singing, not dancing, and certainly not playfully seducing more than 17,500 starry-eyed Tampa fans with one of pop music’s best bands at your back.

But that’s Mars for you, barely 32 and perhaps unparalleled as pop’s do-it-all man of the millennium.

Mars’ concert Thursday at Amalie Arena was about the 95th stop on his seemingly infinite 24K Magic World tour, and you better believe all that polish gleamed. On blazingly bright display at the center of his crisp, clean stage, Mars gave a wily, winking but never less than incandescent performance, earning those 24 karats in spades.

It’s all a welcome antidote to pop’s serious-boy revolution, led by the likes of Justin Bieber and Sam Smith and the Weeknd – talents, all, but also guys who couldn’t lighten up a darkened dancehall if their haircuts depended on it. Not Mars. Mars is a Vegas residency in human form, a joyous prophet of New Jack Swing who understands that pop music shouldn’t just make you move, it should also make you smile. …

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ZZ Top cancels 2017 tour, including Ribfest date in November

Bad news, ZZ Top fans. Once again, the Eliminator is heading into the garage for repairs.

For the fourth time in four years, the legendary Texas rock trio has postponed a Tampa Bay tour date due to illness on the part of bassist Dusty Hill. This time, it'll impact their Nov. 10 date headlining the opening night of Ribfest.

Hill "is addressing a tummy ailment and is following a directive to lay low for the next few weeks," the band said in a statement. They do expect to resume heavy touring in 2018, leading up to a 50th anniversary celebration in 2019.

The band twice postponed a 2014 tour stop at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, as well as a 2016 date at Ruth Eckerd Hall, all due to various injuries on Hill's part. But when they finally showed, it was worth it -- check out our review here.

We'll keep you posted on Ribfest's lineup whenever a new Friday headliner is picked. Until then, there's still Dennis DeYoung, the Charlie Daniels Band and more in store that weekend.

Our friends at Stuck in the '80s have more on ZZ Top's news.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Kenny Chesney coming to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa

Used to be you could set your watch to a Kenny Chesney concert at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium.

The tight-jeaned country superstar has played there plenty of times over the years, including a three-year stretch in 2011, 2012 and 2013. But he hasn't been back since, and five years is way too long a wait.

So Chesney has announced he'll kick off his 2018 Trip Around the Sun Tour at Raymond James Stadium on April 21. It's his only announced Florida stop. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 27. Click here for details.

One of the highlights of Chesney's semi-annual stops in Tampa are his opening acts. Over the years he's brought artists like Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church and Tim McGraw to town with him. This time around he'll be joined by one of the hottest young country singers around, Thomas Rhett, along with Old Dominion and Brandon Lay.

The news comes the same morning Billy Joel announced a Tampa tour stop on Feb. 9. So almost overnight, Tampa's spring concert landscape is getting stacked.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Billy Joel coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Billy Joel last performed in Tampa in 2016.

Jay Cridlin

Billy Joel last performed in Tampa in 2016.

Do we Floridians even realize how good we have it when it comes to Billy Joel?

There are cities and countries on the map that go years, even decades, without a tour stop from Joel. Meanwhile, he's good for a concert in Tampa (and Orlando, and South Florida) at least once every couple of years. The man has sold out Amalie Arena seven times, most recently in January 2016.

Get ready to make it eight. The 68-year-old Piano Man will return to Amalie Arena on Feb. 9 for yet another concert of huge piano-pop hits. Tickets are $49.50 and up. Click here for details.

Every Billy Joel concert is a fun time, but last year's was particularly invigorating. From our review: …

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Michael McDonald talks writing with Kenny Loggins, retiring from the road and more

Michael McDonald

Timothy White

Michael McDonald

The highlight of this year's Clearwater Jazz Holiday might be the Avett Brothers, or it might be Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox, or it might be the one-two Motown combo of the Four Tops and the Temptations.

But let's be honest: The biggest highlight will probably be the rare opportunity to see Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins perform together.

Though the yacht rock superstars have collaborated on probably fewer than 10 songs over 40 years, their hit rate was so high — What a Fool Believes, This Is It, I Gotta Try, No Lookin' Back — that the idea of McDonald and Loggins as a duo remains alluring, so much so that it's a miracle they've never collaborated on a full album or tour.

"We talk about it," McDonald said by phone from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. "It just seems like our individual plans tend to get in the way of getting around to it in any real timely fashion. There's a good chance we could still do it."

For now, the Jazz Holiday is as close as we're going to get. They'll perform Saturday at Coachman Park, with McDonald going on at 7:45 and Loggins closing at 9:30. Click here for details on the festival.

For more of our chat with Michael McDonald, click here. …

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Neil deGrasse Tyson talks Moon Pies, David Bowie, 'Asteroids' and more

When you get Neil deGrasse Tyson on the phone, you could ask him about the wonders of the cosmos. You could ask him about the changing nature of our planet, or the tininess we feel when we look at the sky.

Or you could ask him to pick between Star Wars and Star Trek. Or Space Invaders and Asteroids. Or Milky Ways and Moon Pies.

"Milky Way," he said by phone, answering that last one. "I remember Moon Pies being good as a kid, but as an adult you realize they're kinda dry."

Tyson probably won't delve into all these hot topics when he speaks at the Straz Center in Tampa on Thursday. His multimedia lecture An Astrophysicist Reads the Newspaper touches on current events, using "pop culture, or what's in the news in this instance -- things that people are already familiar with -- as scaffolding to build on. From there I can take you wherever I want to take you."

Click here for more on the show. For more with Neil deGrasse Tyson, click here for Christopher Spata's interview.

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Conor Oberst, Johnnyswim concerts moved out of State Theatre over construction issues


Darren Lau


Two more concerts -- including one this weekend -- have been moved out of the State Theatre in St. Petersburg as the venue continues to experience scaled-down crowd capacity following recent construction.

Saturday's concert by Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and Cursive's Tim Kasher has been moved to the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Tickets purchased for the old venue will be honored at the new; otherwise they're $30.50. Click here for details.

And a Nov. 2 concert by Johnnyswim, above, has been moved from the State to Jannus Live. That show was sold out; now, in the new venue, tickets are once again on sale for $23. Click here.

The decades-old venue recently underwent some repairs and renovations, the city inspections for which resulted in a diminished official crowd capacity, which sent bands on its packed October slate scrambling. Concerts such as Nothing More, Hollywood Undead, Judah and the Lion and Zakk Sabbath moved to Jannus Live, as will a concert on Wednesday by Between the Buried and Me. Three concerts scheduled for this week -- Insane Clown Posse, Superjoint and Lords of Acid -- briefly moved to the Cuban Club before getting the go-ahead to return to the State. …

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SoundBytes: Kevin Hart, Anthrax, Darlene Love, Yandel and more

-- Happy early New Year's Eve, everyone: Kevin Hart is bringing his "Irresponsible Tour" to Orlando's CFE Arena on Dec. 31. Tickets go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- Speaking of Orlando: An enormous Puerto Rico hurricane relief benefit concert is happening there on Thursday, organized by reggaeton star Yandel. "Puerto Rico: Somos Uno" will take place at the Amway Center; artists tapped to appear include Alexis y Fido, Wisin, Zion y Lennox, Jerry Rivera, Nacho, Jencarlos Canela, Jowell y Randy and many more. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Killer heavy show coming to Jannus Live on Jan. 30: Killswitch Engage, Anthrax and Havok. Tickets go on sale Friday. Click here.

-- 20 Feet From Stardom singer Darlene Love is coming to the Tampa Theatre for a performance on Jan. 18. Tickets are $48.50 and up. Click here.

-- Also coming to the Tampa Theatre: Comic Iliza Shlesinger on Feb. 17. Tickets are $36.50. Click here.

-- The Alan Parsons Live Project is coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall with a live symphony orchestra on April 27. They'll be joined by Carl Palmer. Tickets are $45 and up. Click here.

-- Robin Trower is coming to the Capitol Theatre on March 8. Tickets are $39.50 and up. Click here. …

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Review: Florida Georgia Line, Nelly cast off headlines, party all night at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

Florida Georgia Line performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 13, 2017.

Jay Cridlin

Florida Georgia Line performed at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on Oct. 13, 2017.

The encore was really the point of it all. This was the part of Florida Georgia Line's sold-out concert Friday at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Amphitheatre where the duo was joined on stage by their unlikely tourmate Nelly, who performed his 2002 chart-topper Hot In Herre, followed by their collaborative pop-country behemoth Cruise to close the night.

Naturally, 19,000 fans in cutoffs and snapbacks leaned in and howled along, emboldened by countless Bud and Corona tallboys. Which means that if anyone had any objection to the party up on the stage, it went totally unnoticed.

And if you've been following the headlines about Nelly this week, you might have some questions about that.Full Story

SoundBytes: Black Label Society, Megadeth, Miranda Sings, the Green and more

-- Zakk Wylde is bringing his Zakk Sabbath project to Jannus Live tonight, but he's already planning a return trip soon. His main band, Black Label Society, will perform at Jannus on Jan. 26 along with Corrosion of Conformity and Red Fang. Tickets are $33. Click here.

-- Megadeth had to cancel their concert with the Scorpions on Sunday in Tampa, but guitarist Kiko Loureiro and bassist David Ellefson will swing through town for a performance, Q&A and signing at Replay Guitar Exchange in Tampa. It takes place from noon to 2 p.m. Click here for details.

-- Miranda Sings (a.k.a. viral comic Colleen Ballinger) will perform at the Straz Center on Jan. 27. Tickets are $40.50 and up. Click here.

-- The Green is performing at the State Theatre on Feb. 3, alongside Sammy J and Leilani Wolfgramm. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Martin Sexton is coming to the State Theatre on Feb. 2. Tickets are $25 and up. Click here.

-- Wintertime's performance at Crowbar on Nov. 18 has been canceled. Refunds are available at point of purchase. Click here.

-- Jay Cridlin

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Fozzy's Chris Jericho talks about living in Tampa, hanging with rock stars, having a hit in 'Judas' and more

Having a hit single changes everything.

For years, Fozzy was a fun, occasionally goofy hard rock band best known for its lead singer, pro wrestler/author/raconteur Chris Jericho. But the band's new album Judas, released today, spawned a radio hit in the title track. And that, said Jericho, is a big deal on tour.

"We're doing more walkups than ticket sales, and ticket sales are great," said Jericho, who lives in Lutz. "The good thing with the album is, there's a lot of songs that are locked and loaded in the chamber. Judas wasn't the unanimous pick for the single. There's Painless and there's Elevator and there's Burn Me Out. We wanted to make this record like Hysteria or Appetite for Destruction or Kick by INXS, where there's five or six or seven singles on the radio, and when the single has reached its peak, the next single is ready to go, and it's just as good, if not better than the last." …

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Between the Buried and Me concert moving from the State Theatre to Jannus Live

Between the Buried and Me

Big Picture Media

Between the Buried and Me

Yet another concert is moving out of the State Theatre due to construction and capacity issues.

Between the Buried and Me will move their Oct. 18 concert at the State Theatre to Jannus Live. Tickets to the show, honoring the 10th anniversary of their album Colors, will be honored at the new venue. Click here.

The State has seen its crowd capacity diminished as construction and inspection delays have plagued the venue over the past three weeks. A handful of concerts (Nothing More, Judah and the Lion, Hollywood Undead) have already moved. Three moved away but have since moved back.

MORE: State Theatre update: Insane Clown Posse, more concerts moving back from Tampa to St. Petersburg

To help you keep track of it all, here's where some upcoming shows originally slated for the State now stand:

Friday: Zakk Sabbath: Moved to Jannus Live.

Saturday: Betty Fox Band: Still on at the State.

Tuesday: Insane Clown Posse: Back at the State after briefly moving to the Cuban Club.

Wednesday: Between the Buried and Me: Moving to Jannus Live.

Oct. 19: Superjoint: Back at the State after briefly moving to the Cuban Club.

Oct. 20: Lords of Acid: Back at the State after briefly moving to the Cuban Club. …

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