Tampa shows you May have missed
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012 00:05
The lull between end-of-semester exams and the start of summer classes provided USF students an opportunity to catch a few great musical performances in the Tampa Bay area.
From pop to country and rock, there was something for everyone in these concerts, where the bands performed flawlessly and relieved some of the pressures felt after a tough semester. The Oracle reviews the various acts that lit up Tampa stages.
All American Rejects
The All-American Rejects’ performance in St. Petersburg was highlighted by contrast, but it held a special kind of intimacy, as the audience was captivated by the personal changes that have marked the lives of the band members.
The band began their show with “Dirty Little Secret” and continued to play older hits, as well as songs from their most recent album, “Kids in the Street.” The difference between the pop-infused older material and the scaled-back sounds of the new album was like night and day.
The band has matured musically and psychologically since first coming to the public’s attention around 2005. But their childishness showed through in more juvenile moments, such as singer-songwriter Tyson Ritter’s profanity-laced monologue about the process of writing “Someday’s Gone,” off the band’s new album.
The highlights of the event were the songs that made the band famous — hyperactive and frenzied performances of “Move Along,” “Swing Swing” and “Paper Heart.” Things got a little less manic with songs from “Kids in the Street,” with the standout being the album’s first single, “Beekeeper’s Daughter.”
Overall, the performance showcased Ritter’s songwriting talent and hinted at a potential that all rejects, American or othewise, crave — the possibility to grow up once and for all.
Lady Antebellum took the stage in her Tampa performance, accompanied by a caravan of country singers on the Own the Night Tour.
Husband-and-wife duo Thompson Square kicked off the festivities, followed by former Hootie and the Blowfish member Darius Rucker, who delivered an energetic set, which included a few songs from his Hootie days. The performance was met with rapturous applause from a nostalgic audience.
After what seemed like an eternity, Lady Antebellum took the stage, and a hushed audience watched in silent appreciation. She played a mix of old and new hits, including “We Owned the Night,” “Just a Kiss” and “Dancin’ Away With My Heart.”
During the song “American Honey,” three young girls were helped onto the stage and invited to sing along with the band.
When the lights dimmed on Lady Antebellum’s stage and people moved to leave, the band bestowed upon its fans one final gift: a breathtakingly austere performance of “Need You Now.” The standing ovation and applause went on for a full three minutes, and each of those minutes was more than deserved.
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
With almost 18 years worth of songs in the band’s repertoire, Wilco is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. One look at the diverse audience showed the versatile power of Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting abilities.
A couple who looked to be somewhere in their 50s sat beside a group of teeagers, dressed in their ironically oversized Oliver Peoples glasses.
The stage, decorated flawlessly for the performance, featured a plethora of white, ghostlike streamers floating from every inch of the rafters. The streamers changed colors with the lighting, from glowing eerie green to flashes of bright red and orange. Coupled with occasional bursts of white light directed into the audience, the effect was spectacular.
While Tweedy has often been described as a “tormented” artist, he showed no hint of that on stage. During the two-hour set, he chatted pleasantly between songs and kept his set diverse in order to please everyone in attendance.
Highlights included performances from Wilco’s 2012 album, “The Whole Love,” which displayed Tweedy’s talent for reinvention and adaptability to any genre. However, the biggest applause came when the band played songs from their 2001 breakout album “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” Wilco performed a riling rendition of “Heavy Metal Drummer” along with other fan favorites “Jesus, Etc.” and “War on War.”
Wilco also displayed a softer side with “Impossible Germany,” and encouraged audience participation for a spirited rendition of an older song, “A Shot in the Arm.”
Never did the band have an awkward transition between songs — quite a feat when the music covers most genres, from folk to hard rock. That’s the beauty of Wilco: the ability to shape shift as if fueled by something supernatural, and try to make every song played the best song ever heard.
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