Spring starts Saturday, but plans for the summer concert season are already under way. In the past several weeks, the announcements have come fast and furious:
Earth, Wind & Fire, which last June co-headlined at Time Warner Cable Arena with Chicago, returns June 24 - only this time it'll play outdoors. Tickets are already on sale. Speaking of Chicago, the band will co-headline a show with the Doobie Brothers just days later, on June 29. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at www.livenation.com.
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
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Rascal Flatts (with opener Kellie Pickler of Albemarle) makes its annual summer stop on June 26, leading off for a lineup of country-music megastars: Toby Keith on July 11; Tim McGraw July 23; and Brad Paisley Aug. 27. On-sale dates will be announced soon.
Another annual visitor, the Dave Matthews Band, is scheduled to perform July 21. Tickets are on sale now. Then acoustic rocker Jack Johnson makes his first visit to Charlotte as a headliner on Aug. 22, and rockers Kings of Leon drop in Sept. 10. Tickets for Johnson will be available beginning April 10. KOL goes on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday at www.livenation.com.
Time Warner Cable Arena
Michael Buble returns on July 10. Tickets are already on sale. Then on Aug. 8, 16-year-old pop star Justin Bieber arrives. Tickets go on sale March 27.
But perhaps the biggest news of all came Monday: Glam-pop queen Lady Gaga is bringing her tour to uptown Sept. 18. (On-sale date will be announced soon.) People either love her or hate her, but there are enough who love her - and who won't want to miss the 16 or so costume changes she goes through during her live shows - that this one's almost guaranteed to sell out.
It's a coup for Charlotte, which sometimes has had trouble luring the tours that generate the biggest buzz. Hopefully, one or two more surprises like this are on the way.