Tampa Bay’s 98 RockFest returns with a fury!

Brent Smith of Shinedown

By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa

Review: Tampa Bay 98 RockFest 2021-October 2, 2021

Marc Labelle-Dirty Honey

Typically held in the Spring, Tampa Bay’s 98 Rockfest took a beating in 2020 and its Spring 2021 event was postponed until October 2, 2021. People were totally jonesing for a good rock festival and hungry for a return to normality—and the 98 Rockfest totally delivered last night.

Beginning in the afternoon in the patio area of the Amalie Arena, free concerts were offered to those willing to stand in the sweltering heat (90 degrees) and watch. A little heat did not stop the rock hungry crowd from seeing Scratch & Sniff, Jeris Johnson, Zero and Ayron Jones.

By 5 p.m., the hot and sweaty crowd with tickets could enter the chilled Amalie Arena to cool off and relax as ‘New Classic Rock’ band Dirty Honey (and also, a Rock At Night favorite), took the stage for a short but fiery 30-minute set. In  2019, one could not escape the radio without hearing “Rolling 7s” or “When I’m Gone”—much to our pleasure, we may add.

SETLIST: Gypsy, California Dreamin’, The Wire, Another Last Time, When I’m Gone, Rolling 7s

Chris Jericho-Fozzy

Next up inside the Amalie Arena the band Fozzy, led by WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, brought down the house with “Sane” and “Drinkin’ With Jesus.” The set was frantic and fun as the guitarist leapt into the air, voguing for the photographers, and Jericho, belted out wicked rock ‘n’ roll to the audience’s delight. Let’s not forget the nice addition of smoke clouds flying into the air periodically which added to the whole rock music ambience.

As an aside about Jericho, Rock At Night highly recommends viewing the documentary he made called I’m Too Old for This Sh*T about Siren, a popular band from Brandon in the 1980s. The band has a cult following in Europe and the film chronicles the band’s journey to a Germany metal festival 40 years after their career ended.


SETLIST:  Sane, Drinkin’ With Jesus, Nowhere to Run, Lights Go Out, Purifier, Judas, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

90s band Candlebox performed new songs (“All Downhill From Here” and “Riptide”) from their latest album Wolves but did not forget to perform crowd favorite “Far Behind.”  The band was very busy this summer touring the festival circuit so they were primed to perform.

SETLIST: All Downhill From Here, Arrow, We, Riptide, You, Far Behind

Dale Stewart-Seether

By now the arena was thoroughly packed and the crowd was brought to a full boil by the time Seether appeared on stage. Seether performed on stage with barely any lighting except blue illumination—a nightmare for photography.  The crowd was head bopping and mouthing the lyrics to “Gasoline” and seemed to enjoy the acoustic-driven song “Broken.” Lots of great, grungy music during this set!

SETLIST: Gasoline, Fine Again, Broken, Country Song, Nobody Praying for Me, Rise Above This, Bruised and Bloodied, Wasteland, Let You Down, Fake It, Remedy

Brent Smith of Shinedown

Finally, 98 Rockfest alumna Shinedown hit the stage with an elaborate set of smoke, lasers, and flashing lights. Brent Smith is the consummate rock/metal frontman as he pumped his fist in the air, wearing dark, almost militarist clothing, and Doc Martens.  He almost gave a Rammstein vibe with his Wagner-like movements and raw energy. A pure joy to watch, honestly!

Shinedown is one of my favorite live band’s photograph—just so much energy between Brent Smith’s fist pumping and dancing, Zach Meyers and Josh Sturm’s (filling in for Eric Bass) leaping and spinning, and Barry Kerch’s hair flying and killer drumming.  A perfect way to end 98 Rockfest with a bang!

 SETLIST: Cut the Cord, Unity, Fly From the Inside, State of My Head, If You Only Knew, 45, Save Me, Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom), I’ll Follow You, Enemies, Devil, How Did You Love, Get Up, Bully, Monsters, Second Chance, Simple Man, Sound of Madness


In order of appearance

Dirty Honey







Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.
Follow Me