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Weekend forecast: It’s all about the musicians

Bill DeYoung



Sting co-headlines with Billy Joel Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Photo: Sting.com.

The level of musicianship in Tampa Bay is at an all-time high this weekend. Consider these concerts:

Billy Joel and Sting. Two rock ‘n’ roll superstars, who both happen to be superlative songwriters and brilliant musicians, on the same bill Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. Find tickets for the 7 p.m. event here.

Nickel Creek. To say this pioneering Americana trio took bluegrass music to amazing new heights would be like calling Bela Fleck pretty good for a banjo player. Sean Watkins (guitar), his sister Sara Watkins (fiddle) and mandolinist Chris Thile are on a tour celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band. Thile, of course, has gone to play and record with many of Americana’s greats, including Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Mike Marshall and even Yo-Yo Ma. Tickets are here.

 The Catalyst spoke with Thile this week; find that interview here.

The Return of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Keyboard wizard Keith Emerson and singer/bassist Greg Lake are long dead, but drummer Carl Palmer, who’s very much alive, has “reproduced” a 1992 live concert through professionally-filmed footage, a multi-track audio component, and himself – Palmer – playing live. Those who’ve seen it say it’s a profoundly moving experience. It’s Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall; the Catalyst spoke with Palmer earlier this week (read that interview here).

The Florida Orchestra. Spanish pianist Javier Perianes, an internationally-renowned musician, joins TFO for Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano No. 5, Op. 73 (the “Emperor Concerto”) Friday at 8 p.m. at the Straz Center (Tampa), Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Mahaffey Theater (St. Petersburg) and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater). Tickets for the performance, which will also include R. Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 (“A Hero’s Life”) can be found here.

Ana Popovic. The Serbian-born blues guitar virtuoso and her band play at the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center Friday at 8:15 p.m. It’s sold out.

The legendary funk band Lettuce returns to shake things up at Jannus Live Saturday – if the venue had a roof, these guys would tear it off. Tickets.

Spyro Gyra and the Jeff Lorber Fusion. Tonight at the Capitol Theatre (the second of two consecutive nights), two of contemporary jazz’s biggest acts of the 1970s and ‘80s share a bill (since “smooth jazz” is apparently an insult these days, we’ll steer clear of that epithet). SG’s founding saxophonist Jay Beckenstein remains out from, and Lorber, a musician we don’t get to see and hear often enough, is a keyboardist and composer who won his first Grammy Award in 2018 – nearly four decades after he and the Fusion released their first album. Find tickets for tonight’s 8:00 show here.

On theater stages

RP McLaughlin in the Stageworks production of “I Am My Own Wife,” ending with this weekend’s performances. Photo provided.

A touring production of the stage musical Annie sets down tonight (7 p.m.) at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Tickets. There’s not always “tomorrow,” either – it’s one night only.

Bob Devin Jones’ play Further On Down the Road gets a staged reading tonight at The Studio @620; it’s connected to the current exhibition of Florida Highwaymen paintings, and you can read all about it here.

The musical comedy God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater continues at freeFall Theatre. Read about it here.

Opening tonight at LAB Theatre Project in Ybor City is SYD, Craig Houk’s drama about a New Orleans family learning to accept their gay daughter in 1973. Tickets and info are here.

The drama The Chinese Lady is entering its final weekend at American Stage. Read about it here.

The drama I Am My Own Wife is entering its final weekend at Stageworks. Read about it here.


The other stuff

Cirque du Soleil is entering its first weekend under the Big Top tent on the grounds of Tropicana Field. The show, BAZZAR, will be in town for a month. Read all about it and find tickets here.

Napoleon Dynamite (2004) is screened Friday and Saturday evenings at the Capitol Theatre, followed both nights by a discussion and Q&A with actors Jon Heder, Jon Gries and Efren Ramirez. Tickets.

Creative Pinellas’ new gallery exhibition is Nature Pix, computer and technology-generated work by “new media” artist Mikhail Mansion. It opens with a reception Friday, from 6 to 8 p.m. Mansion’s boundary-busting exhibition includes 16 prints, 16 dye sublimation pieces and 12 to 16 metal artworks. Find out more here.

Clearwater’s Coachman Park (“on the green” at 300 Cleveland Street) welcomes the Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The free event, sponsored by Visit St/ Pete/Clearwater, combines a local makers market, food and beverage, and continuous live blues music.

Paragon Festivals’ St. Petersburg Seafood & Music Festival, Friday through Sunday in Vinoy Park, includes local restaurant-provided seafood and live music. Hours and ticket prices.

Your weekend arts forecast appears every Thursday in the Catalyst

Please add us to your mailing list – send all press releases and event info to bill@stpetecatalyst.com.

You can also submit your events to the Catalyst calendar, by clicking here.

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