A decade ago, outside of major pop or Latin-music concerts at arenas, Miami was not the ideal place for music fans. Trekking into or out of South Florida was a huge demand of artists who lacked the resources of big-name musicians. But as venues such as the Fillmore Miami Beach popped up (and survived continual threats of demolition), touring underground and independent artists began adding South Florida to their show itineraries, and they soon learned Miami and Fort Lauderdale are great places to kick off or close out a tour.
The bloated list of artists headed to South Florida in 2019 is a testament to the progress made over the past few years in drawing talent to the region. Narrowing down a list of the top tours coming to South Florida over the next 12 months was excruciating. Classic rockers Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones were cut to make space for new blood. Elton John's final South Florida show deserves an honorable mention, as does Queen's concert with Adam Lambert after the Bohemian Rhapsody biopic renewed fervor for the band. Bad Bunny's return to the American Airlines Arena is also eagerly awaited after his breakthrough year, and the divisive newcomer Greta Van Fleet earns a mention if only because both fandom and morbid curiosity will surely drive listeners to the band's Bayfront Park concert next summer.
So who made the cut? Here's a look at the most anticipated tours headed to South Florida in 2019.
1. Imogen Heap. English singer-songwriter Imogen Heap may not be a household name like Taylor Swift, but she's been highly influential to other famous singers — women in particular — throughout her 20-year career. Swift collaborated with Heap on "Clean," the closing track on Swift's most celebrated album, 1989. Ariana Grande has also collaborated with the singer and used the innovative, musical Mi
2. New Order. When New Order closed out its 2016 tour at the Fillmore Miami Beach, the show sold out quickly and wound up being one of the most talked-about performances that year. Now, with less than a month until the band's mid-January concert at the Fillmore, New Order seems poised for a repeat because tickets to that show are already gone. If you're among the lucky few who snagged one, get ready to dance Saturday night away to "Blue Monday," "Bizarre Love Triangle," and "Age of Consent." And while you're at it, grab tickets to see Duran Duran at the theater exactly one month later. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, January 12, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; fillmoremb.com. Tickets cost $78.50 to $120.50 via livenation.com.
3. Ariana Grande With Normani. Pop princess Ariana Grande has had a hellish past couple of years. She recently told an audience of her peers at a Billboard event that her latest professional successes have taken place during the most difficult personal period of her life. In May 2017, a suicide bomber targeted her concert at the Manchester Arena, injuring hundreds and killing several of her fans, including children. Then, just weeks after the release of her celebrated latest album, Sweetener, former boyfriend Mac Miller died of an overdose. And weeks after that tragedy, Grande broke off her engagement with troubled comedian Pete Davidson. But as she showed after the Manchester attack, Grande is defiantly resilient. In response to the bombing, she put on a star-studded benefit concert that raised funds for the victims and their families. She also refused to scrap her remaining tour dates, setting an example for her fans to be fearless in the face of terror.
This time around, she'll stop in Miami with former Fifth Harmony standout Normani. The Khalid collaborator and Beyoncé disciple
4. Kurt Vile & the Violators. The last time scraggly-haired indie rocker Kurt Vile played South Florida, he single-handedly revived rock 'n' roll right off its deathbed. Since then, the lovechild of Neil Young and Lou Reed released a popular joint album with Aussie musical kindred spirit Courtney Barnett and his latest album, Bottle It In. You can expect Vile to perform songs from the latter, but with seven solo studio albums under his belt, alongside his work with Barnett and former band the War on Drugs, he has plenty of material to mine. 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; jointherevolution.net. Tickets cost $23 via ticketmaster.com.
5. Jeff Lynne's ELO. Asked to name who belongs on the figurative, musical Mount Rushmore, people don't typically mention Jeff Lynne. But they should. The man behind Electric Light Orchestra is one of music history's brightest melodic minds. Compositionally speaking, he's up there with Brian Wilson, and when the Traveling Wilburys put together their supergroup in the late 1980s, Lynne joined them alongside Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and George Harrison. Though he doesn't have the same name recognition as his bandmates, Lynne has been packing arenas overseas with ELO in recent years. After being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, the band played its first North American tour in 35 years. They'll hit Florida on the tour's encore jaunt in July. 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 9, at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Pkwy., Sunrise; 954-835-7000; thebbtcenter.com. Tickets cost $45.25 to $175.25 via ticketmaster.com.
6. Vince Staples. After making his Miami debut during his hype set at III Points 2016, Vince Staples returns to South Florida for a show at Revolution Live on Valentine's Day 2019. Whether you're flying solo that night or sharing the experience with your significant other, you'll want to be inside the Fort Lauderdale venue when the California rapper headlines in support of his latest album, the inventive and critically acclaimed FM! 8 p.m. Thursday, February 14, at Revolution Live, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954-449-1025; jointherevolution.net. Tickets cost $28 via ticketmaster.com.
7. Iron Maiden. Even if you're not
8. Lucinda Williams and Drive-By Truckers. It's a match made in Americana-music heaven. Southern rockers Drive-By Truckers will team up for a
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9. Jeff Tweedy. Wilco frontman and treasured American poet Jeff Tweedy didn't seem to pay much mind to critics who unfairly pegged his band as "dad rock" about a decade ago. But he didn't exactly fight the label when he asked his son to join him as the drummer in his solo project, Tweedy. The family band released the frontman's first solo album, Sukirae, in 2014. His latest release, Warm, continues to grapple with the themes of mortality and hope he's been working through since his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Tweedy will bring those songs to Parker Playhouse in March, along with recollections from his 30 years in music, many of which he wrote about in his recently released memoir, Let's Go (so We Can Get Back). 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale; 954-462-0222; parkerplayhouse.com. Tickets cost $45 to $55 via ticketmaster.com.
10. Ella Mai. "Feelings, so deep in my feelings..." C'mon, you know the words to this catchy ode to puppy love. Odds are you're humming it while you read this. But as inevitable and inescapable as the song might seem now, it wasn't an instant hit. Ella Mai released the tune in 2017 before it built an audience online and exploded on