story & photos
by Vito J. Leo
Although I didn’t get to see The Boss perform live at the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 1st, catching concerts by several of the music world’s underbosses who’d converged on Tampa for the nation’s annual party more than made up for missing halftime headliner Bruce Springsteen.
And, by the way, has any entertainer in the history of the G clef, ever had two better back-to-back gigs than Bruce, first playing for the Big Boss’s Inauguration and then traveling south for the NFL extravaganza?
But while Bruce may have been the filet mignon in this veritable buffet of Super Bowl week entertainers, there were certainly a lot of other delectable choices for music fans.
The Bud Bowl was packed for both shows at Channelside, the part of downtown Tampa right next to the ports where cruise liners dock, the area was turned into a makeshift concert venue for the weekend by Budweiser which sponsored the concerts.
On Friday, the stage became a dog house for Snoop and his boys and on Saturday night, 3 Doors Down showed why they deserved to be counted among America’s top rock groups, rallying the audience around megahits such as “Kryptonite” and “Without You.”
That late night concert was the second of the day for this writer, having driven the 20 miles over to beachside in St. Petersburg Saturday afternoon for the Celebrity Flag Football Challenge played in the sand, featuring former NFL greats Warren Moon and Steve Young leading their respective teams at quarterback, throwing passes to the likes of Christian Slater, Kim Kardashian, Kevin Dillon and Jayde Nicole, Playboy’s 2008 Playmate of the Year. And though the players and actors put on a good show in the sand, suffice to say many of the people in the stands were there for the post-game show put on by LL Cool J. Come to think of it, the best run of the day came not during the game itself but immediately afterward, when the field was cleared of celebrities and the audience was allowed to dash from the grandstand and run across the sand toward the stage, the fastest, of course, getting spots closest to LL.
At the opposite end of the musical scale from the Cool Mr. J, was none other than the chic Ms.D – Celine Dion, that is - who stopped in Tampa for a day with her “Taking Chances World Tour.” By the time I’d gotten in to town, the show was sold out and I wasn’t about to pay the street price of a few hundred bucks for a ticket with a face value of $50.
But I did have an extra $20, which I spent well, buying a ticket to the VH1/Pepsi Smash Super Bowl Bash. To be perfectly honest, I’d never heard of either featured performer, but both Rihanna and Fall Out Boy were a super smash in my book, proving that in music, just like at the buffet table, it’s always good to try something new – you may just discover a delicacy that will have you coming back for more.