With a list of past performers that includes such luminaries as U2, Garth Brooks and Frank Sinatra, a major name was needed to headline the newly renovated USF Sun Dome's grand opening.
Arena officials think their choice - Sir Elton John - more than fits that bill. The award-winning singer/songwriter will play the Sun Dome Friday, September 14th at 8 p.m.
John played four previous concerts at the USF Sun Dome, but the look and sound of the arena has changed since his last appearance in 1988.
In addition to cosmetic differences, General Manager Trent Merritt says the recent $36 million project included improvements to the sound system and the arena's sometimes maligned acoustics.
"A big part of the renovation that specifically address the acoustics included the renovation to the lower bowl, which is now an actual bowl configuration, which in and of itself will help with the sound," said Merritt. They're also adding panels that better absorb sound.
Depending on the layout of the stage, the Sun Dome will hold between 7,500 and almost 11,000 people for concerts (they expect John's performance will be closer to the latter figure). Merritt says that Sun Dome's new management company, Global Spectrum, will work closely with concert promoters like Live Nation to bring in the kind of acts that used to play the Sun Dome - acts that made it one of the area's premier musical venues.
"We want to get the Sun Dome rocking again, it was really the major facility for a number of years in Tampa, all the big acts played here. I think the renovations have been fantastic, and it really allows us to complement the other great venues in the market."
Tickets for the Elton John show ($39.50, $89.50 and $139.50 before service charge) go on sale next Friday, June 15th at 10 a.m. at Ticketmaster.com, the USF Sun Dome box office or charge-by-phone at 800-745-3000.
Other upcoming concerts at the USF Sun Dome include the Fresh Music Festival, featuring R&B artist Keith Sweat (July 7), pop band Florence + the Machine (Sept. 25), the King's Men Tour featuring gospel musician Kirk Franklin (Oct. 2), and country singer Eric Church (Dec. 13).