If you’re looking for the really big shows, as Ed Sullivan used to say, they’re in Tampa this weekend. As in across the bay. As in Amalie Arena.
Tonight, entertainer Hugh Jackman’s world tour touches down at Amalie. This comes on the heels of The Greatest Showman, a film that starred the Australian singer-actor-dancer as a fictionalized version of circus pioneer P.T. Barnum.
The movie received lukewarm reviews – Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers called it “A shrill blast of nothing” – but was a commercial smash, owing in no small part to the songs by Benj Pasik and Justin Paul, who created the music for La La Land and Dear Evan Hansen.
Jackman, of course, played Wolverine in 172 X-Men movies, tore up Broadway in The Boy From Oz (winning a Tony in the process), and was troubled Jean Valjean in the movie adaptation of the musical Les Miserables.
He was a really good Tony and Oscar host, too.
Tickets for tonight’s 7 p.m. concert are close to sold out; check here for the latest availability.
Sunday night at Amelie, Jeff Lynne – yep, he was one of the Traveling Wilburys – will be onstage with the latest incarnation of a “band” he fronted in the 1970s and early ‘80s. In those days, the stringed aggregate was known as Electric Light Orchestra. Today, it’s Jeff Lynne’s ELO.
One of England’s most creative record producers of the latter 20th century, Lynne crafted a hatful of distinctive Electric Light Orchestra hits, records that didn’t sound remotely like anybody else. Think “Strange Magic,” “Can’t Get it Out of My Head,” “Evil Woman,” “Telephone Line.”
His production work with George Harrison (Cloud Nine), Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever) and Roy Orbison (Mystery Girl) led to the formation of the loose-limbed Wilburys.
Lynne’s opening act is none other than Dhani Harrison, George’s son.
Tickets and info here.
Rob Thomas at the Mahaffey
It’s been 20 years since “Smooth,” Orlando-bred vocalist Rob Thomas’ collaboration with guitar legend Carlos Santana. Thomas was still a member of platinum-selling Matchbox Twenty at the time, and “Smooth” – a real earwig of a pop single – came smack in the middle of a lengthy hit streak for the band. Unofficially, they’ve never broke up.
To date, Matchbox Twenty’s most recent album is 2012’s North, and Thomas, 47, has been devoting himself to the solo career he more or less started in the immediate post-“Smooth” era.
His appearance at the Mahaffey Theater tonight is part of a promotional trek for Chip Tooth Smile, his latest solo effort. In his new songs, Thomas ponders – among other things – the fact that his son is now 21 years old, the same age he was prior to signing Matchbox Twenty’s first record deal.
“There are a lot of songs about being young forever, or never wanting to grow old,” Thomas told Billboard in April. “When I was in my 20s, I simultaneously thought that I was going to live forever, and I wasn’t going to make it past 25 – somehow, both of those things made sense to me. It was this very romantic idea, not getting older. And then as you get older, you realize that the alternative to not getting older is really f–g bleak.”
Tickets and info here.
Marly and Marley
The Marly Music series continues Sunday (July 7) at the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg. Performing in the Marly Room at 2 p.m. is classical guitarist Jason Vieaux, whose 2014 album Play took the 2015 Grammy for Best Classical Instrumental Solo. Sunday’s concert includes pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Martin and Giuliani. Tickets and info here.
Reggae artist Stephen Marley, a son of Jamaican legends Bob and Rita Marley, performs an intimate solo show (part of the Miami resident’s “Acoustic Jams” tour) Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Jannus Live. Stephen, whose nickname is Ragamuffin a.k.a. Ragga, has won eight Grammys – as an artist, producer and a member of Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers (Ziggy and Stephen are the two eldest Marley siblings). Tickets here.