[ General ]

Big-Name Performers Coming to Orlando

Musical tastes of all kinds can be satisfied in the coming months. Big-name performers of country, alternative, top 40, smooth jazz, Latin music and other genres are coming to Central Florida. Many are performing in both Tampa and Orlando, so the chances to see a favorite entertainer are at least doubled.

Allen Johnson, executive director of the Orlando Venues, the department that oversees the Amway Arena, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre and other venues, said tickets are almost sold out for the British band Coldplay, which will be performing at the Amway Arena on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

“The Coldplay show is within about a thousand tickets of being sold out,” Johnson said. “Tina Turner and Neil Diamond are both getting close to being sold out as well.”
In addition Diamond, Enrique Iglesias is one of the artists who will be on stage at least twice in Central Florida. Also performing at the Amway Arena, Iglesias will be melting hearts with his Latin voice and looks on Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. The Iglesias show is about halfway to being sold out, with about 3,000 sold of the 6,000 seats still up for grabs, Johnson said.
If there weren’t enough hearts melted with Iglesias, maybe the performance of Luis Miguel will do the trick on Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. The Grammy award winner will be performing only one night only in Orlando as part of his “Complices” tour.
Johnson said the booking of these major shows sometimes is done a year in advance, and sometimes they are added to the lineup only six weeks in advance of the show date.
“But I’d say the average is probably six months out,” Johnson said.
That’s enough time to build excitement about the coming big name. Johnson said he and the Orlando Venues staff is excited about a few of the big acts coming to town. He said Coldplay, one of today’s hottest bands, puts on a good show.
“Tina Turner coming out of retirement to do a tour is also exciting,” Johnson said. “She always does a high-energy show for someone who’s 60 years old plus.”
He said tickets for certain shows will be going on sale in January and February, but he cannot release the performers’ names.
“There are pretty big names that are coming around,” Johnson said.
Tickets to the shows at Amway Arena or the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre can be purchased online at http://www.orlandovenues.net/.
The House of Blues in Orlando will play host to some big alternative names such as Pepper, Reverend Horton Heat, The Black Crowes and Anberlin. The wildly popular boy band of the ’90s, Hanson, will bring “The Walk Around the World” tour to Orlando for a show on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. Hanson is best known for the 1997 hit song “MMMBop.”
Located in Downtown Disney, the House of Blues has one or more performers nearly every night. Many local bands get to stretch their wings there. Oftentimes, the lesser-known bands can be heard at no charge. Tickets to any House of Blues event can be purchased online at http://www.hob.com/.
The Hard Rock Café Orlando, located at Universal Studios Orlando in the CityWalk entertainment complex, will set the stage for Alanis Morissette, who will perform Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. Hard Rock also will ready its 3,000-person concert venue for Classic Albums Live, a tribute band that will perform the tunes of Boston on Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m. and then the tunes of Led Zeppelin on Nov. 22 at 8:30 p.m. For details or to save a seat to any of the shows, visit the Web site http://www.hardrock.com/.
Crowds will gather at the new UCF (University of Central Florida) Arena in Orlando, built near The Venue at UCF, to see Tony Bennett on Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Dolly Parton will bring her southern charm to the arena on Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m., and Nine Inch Nails will bring its “Lights in the Sky over North America 2008” tour on Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Sarah Brightman and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra also will perform at the UCF Arena. Complete information can be found at http://www.ucfarena.com/.
The Venue at UCF, located at Gemini Boulevard North in Orlando, will play host to Blue Oyster Cult, on Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m., and George Jones a few days later, on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Those tickets can be purchased on Ticketmaster.com.
Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, which will be celebrating its 25th-anniversary season, will host Enrique Iglesias, Lyle Lovett, Alanis Morissette and John Tesh.
In addition to musical acts, a few big-name comedians, such as Cedric the Entertainer and Gallagher, will be on stage.
Tickets to most shows go on sale an average of two months in advance of each show. However, sometimes the lead time is very slim, such as was the case with the Enrique Iglesias tour, which will be performing on Sept. 24 at 8 p.m. The tour gave only six weeks’ advance notice to sell tickets.
Other acts coming to Ruth Eckerd Hall through December include Meat Loaf, Dolly Parton, Peter Frampton, Vince Gill and The Black Crowes. For more details on the 2008-09 performance season or to purchase tickets for any show, visit http://www.rutheckerdhall.com/.
The Ford Amphitheatre, a Live Nation venue, is located at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. On Sept. 19, Brad Paisley and Jewel will perform at 7:30. In October alone, the sounds of Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Martina McBride and Mary J. Blige will be heard in the amphitheater. Tickets for these events can be purchased on the Web site http://www.livenation.com/.
Live audiences in St. Petersburg will be treated to the legendary Neil Diamond in concert on Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum. A blast from the past, New Kids on the Block, will be back together for the first time in nearly a decade and a half. Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood will perform on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The Trans-Siberian Orchestra will perform on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. Polk County resident Paul O’Neill is a composer, lyricist and producer with The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Known for his rock operas, O’Neill has produced albums for the likes of Aerosmith and promoted the tours of Madonna and Sting.
Former “Phantom of the Opera” stage star Sarah Brightman will delight audiences with her soprano melodies on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m., and the 2005 winner of American Idol, Carrie Underwood, will bring her country crooning tunes to the St. Pete Forum on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for any of the shows at the St. Pete Times Forum can be purchased at http://www.sptimesforum.com/.
Those who go for the alternative sounds will flock to Jannus Landing Courtyard, located at 16 Second St. N. in St. Petersburg. Touted as Florida’s oldest and largest outdoor concert venue, the likes of Blues Traveler, Everlast, The Misfits and Presidents of the United States of America, among others, will be performing through December. Dates, times and prices can be found on the venue’s Web site at http://www.jannuslandingconcerts.com/.
The Tampa and Orlando venues don’t get to have all the fun. At least two big acts will come to Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, located at 1875 Silver Spur Lane. Sugarland, a country duo and winner of the CMT Music Awards’ Duo Video of the Year Award in 2007 and 2008, will be at the Silver Spurs Arena on Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Taking the same stage on Nov. 13 at 8 p.m. will be a Beatles tribute band called 1964…The Tribute “The #1 Beatles Show in the World.” Tickets for those and other events at the Osceola Heritage Park can be purchased at http://www.ohpark.com/.
Closer to home, audiences at The Lakeland Center, located at 701 W. Lime St. in Lakeland, will be treated to Classic Albums Live’s tributes to not only Boston, but also to AC/DC and Pink Floyd.
Two of the hottest comedians will come to make Lakeland audiences laugh. Larry the Cable Guy will perform his “Eat, Drink and Be Larry” show on Nov. 14 at 7 and 9:30 p.m. in the Youkey Theatre at The Lakeland Center. Carlos Mencia will bring his raunchy humor to the same stage with his “At Close Range” show on Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Also in the Youkey Theatre at The Lakeland Center, Sally Struthers will star in the stage performance of “Nunsense” on Nov. 25, beginning at 7:30 p.m., and the Broadway musical “Oliver” will be performed on Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Favorite Christmas tunes will be sung, country-style, by Mel and Pam Tillis on Dec. 3, at 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. For details or to purchase tickets, call 863-834-8100 or visit

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