The best yacht-rock concerts coming to Tampa Bay in 2021

Also, is Clearwater the yacht-rock capital of Florida?

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click to enlarge Hall & Oates, which plays MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida on Sept. 20, 2021. - Ticketmaster
Hall & Oates, which plays MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Florida on Sept. 20, 2021.

As Creative Loafing Tampa Bay’s self-proclaimed yacht-rock aficionado, here’s a list of all the upcoming shows that’ll make you want to grab a piña colada and sail away during a sunset with a one-night-only lover.

I’ll surrender that some of the bands listed here may be more in the “soft rock” category—and its your right to have an opinion on what is yacht or nacht.

But staying true to the format that my fellow Sunset Sundays DJs play, anything of the ‘70s and ‘80s AM Gold flavor fits the bill. So have a look, and let me know what I missed or how I totally nailed it.

And since most of these shows are at either Ruth Eckerd Hall of the Bilheimer Cap, can we just call Clearwater the yacht-rock capitol of Florida?

Click through each show to get tickets.

REO Speedwagon Kevin Cronin and the boys come to Tampa Bay often—and you could argued that the Illinois band is more nacht-rock—but “Take it on the Run” has all the usual themes: someone cheating, someone running, and someone sitting at home thinking about the person cheating. Wednesday, July 21, 8 p.m., $53.25-$108.25.Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater

Firefall w/Orleans/Pure Prairie On this triple threat lineup, the flute-filled jams of Firefall (“You are the Woman”, “Just Remember I Love You”) set sail with Wooodstock’s harmonious Orleans (“Still the One'', “Dance with Me”). And while Pure Prairie League’s “Amie” was the bigger hit, “Let Me Love You Tonight” really nails the noncommittal attitude that yacht-rock is all about. Love you tonight, not tomorrow. Friday, July 23, 7:30 p.m. $38.75-$83.75. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.

Alan Parsons Live Project w/Carl Palmer OK, The Alan Parsons Project is technically prog-rock, but, goddamn—if “Eye in the Sky” doesn’t make you want to get hazy at sunset, then I don’t know what will. Plus, Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer is opening. Friday, Sept. 10, 7:30 p.m. $52.25-$128.25 Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.

Christopher Cross The Godfather of Yacht, Christopher Cross is playing at the Capitol Theatre. I saw him a few years back, and I’m going to warn you that he plays a lot of the good stuff first because he hates people who walk into shows late. So, if you don’t want to miss “Sailing,” ride like the wind to get there on time. It’s just across the bridge, not the border of Mexico. Sunday, Sept. 19, 8 p.m. $49.50-$89.50. Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater.

Hall and Oates w/ Squeeze/KT Tunstall Darryl Hall and John Oates started in the same “Blue-Eyed Soul” school as the great Michael McDonald. The Philly duo’s early stuff is their most yachty material (I mean, I’m pretty sure the subject of “She’s Gone” is the same lady who is taking it on the run from REO Speedwagon). No matter the genre, Hall and Oates always make my dreams come true. Monday, Sept. 20, $22 and up. MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa.

Fourth annual ‘70s Fest: Little River Band w/Lords of 52nd Street Little River Band, baby. The group is inarguably one of the best examples of yacht-rock. If you’re a LRB novice, start with “Lady” and finish with “Cool Change.” Pretty sure none of the original members are still in the band, but any LRB is good LRB. A Billy Joel Tribute band is opening (definitely, nacht yacht) but before the concert, there’s a '70s market and car show. Saturday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. $35-$79. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.

Pablo Cruise If you don’t know Pablo, you probably remember Will Ferrell’s shirt from “Step Brothers.” So listen to two of Cruise’s best songs “Love Will Find a Way” and “Whatcha Gonna Do?” to get the reference. Listening to Pablo Cruise is basically the first step to start winning in life. Saturday, Oct. 9, 8 p.m., $29-$55. Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, Clearwater.

Air Supply One night stands seem to be a hallmark of yacht-rock, but this Australian duo demands more of a commitment than its counterparts. Take note of the plural “nights” in the single “Even the Nights are Better.” Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock are not talking about a fling, they want to see you again, and they might even want to meet the parents. And don’t get me started on the 1980 hit “Lost In Love”—that’s some romance right there. Sunday, Nov. 14, 8 p.m. $50-$100. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.

America London band America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of a band that’s released some of the best sail-worthy songs around. The lyrics on “Sister Golden Hair” encompass everything the genre is about: “I ain't ready for the altar but I do agree there's times when a woman sure can be a friend of mine.” “Ventura Highway” is another single that gets my motor running—but on land. Thursday, Nov. 18, 8 p.m. $39-$100. Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater.

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About The Author

Stephanie Powers

Freelance contributor Stephanie Powers started her media career as an Editorial Assistant long ago when the Tampa Bay Times was still called the St. Petersburg Times. After stints in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she studied improvisation at Second City Hollywood, she came back to Tampa and stayed put.She soon...
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