Since July 4th is on a Wednesday this year, it makes for an extra-long celebration starting from the weekend before to the weekend after! On the first weekend Tampa saw rock shows from 80’s hair bands to alternative and everything in between. A great weekend for live national acts coming to town! Kicking off Friday night was 80’s rockers Poison! This was the inaugural concert to kick off a series of shows at the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team’s home field, Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
The Poison summer tour also has Cheap Trick and Pop Evil on the bill. For this show, Cheap Trick was not in attendance due to a prior booking with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for those who wondered where they were. Local radio personality Mike Calta and his band Pitbull Toddler got the crowd warmed up with some classic rock cover tunes like Bon Jovi and AC/DC. Pop Evil opened with a raucous set of rock and roll! From Michigan, the band is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. An impressive lineup of musicians, Lead Vocalist Leigh Kakaty, on guitars Davey Grahs and Nick Fueling, on bass Matt DeRito and keeping the beat Hayley Cramer. A great high energy rock band! If you are a rock fan, be sure to check them out!
All the original Poison band members are still alive and well, lead singer Bret Michaels, wild-man guitarist CC DeVille, bassist Bobby Dall and behind the drum kit, Rikki Rockett. There is a long, crazy history with this band but they have managed to work out their major differences to be able to tour together. Opening the night with “Look What the Cat Dragged In”, the audience was on its feet the entire show! Poison fans came in droves and it was party time. Al Lang Stadium seats 7,500 and also had seats on the lawn as well as general admission for the blanket and picnic crowd.
Bret Michaels has been a big supporter of American veterans and the band dedicated their 1990 hit, “Something to Believe In” to them and brought some local vets on stage to sing along and shake hands with the audience. A nice touch anytime but to honor them near the 4th holiday was particularly moving. A fun cover of Loggins & Messina’s “Your Mama Don’t Dance” had everyone moving followed by “Unskinny Bop” and of course no Poison show is complete without the power ballad “Every Rose Has its Thorn”. Poison closed out the show with a cover by another American band “KISS” with “Rock and Roll All Nite”. Poison is part of the 80’s & 90’s American band landscape and they put on “Nothin’ but a Good Time”.
On Saturday night, an American band of the alternative rock genre came to the Mid-Florida Amphitheatre in Tampa. Lead by Oscar winning actor Jared Leto and his brother Shannon, “30 Seconds to Mars” is an alt rock band with many genres woven in their unique sound. Their newest album “America” addresses political, spiritual and personal issues. The Leto brothers have been playing music since they were children, influenced by such American bands as KISS and Alice Cooper. Opening with “Monolith”, Shannon on drums and Jared in a multi-colored kimono, he moves with an urgency to communicate with the audience who clearly know his lyrics and message. Using live music fused with electronic, it is not your typical rock sound but it is rock nonetheless. An interactive high positive energy show with Leto running the stage with an American flag and bringing audience members up to dance. He takes to the scaffolding high above the stage and runs out into the audience. The finale is complete with as many fans as can get on the stage closing with confetti and big rock show smoke. 30 Seconds to Mars is the newer generation of American rock and they are representing the genre with style!
Enjoy the July 4th holiday on the beautiful Florida Suncoast!
Photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography