Summer concert preview: 10 don’t-miss concerts

The mercury will reach into the 90s for the umpteenth day in a row here in Charlotte on Friday. Then on Saturday, spring becomes summer, and the summer concert season begins in earnest with Tim McGraw’s show at PNC Music Pavilion.

But McGraw stops here every summer, as do a number of other artists: Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews. They’re all coming. Again. And while we love those guys, we’re most excited about the musicians we haven’t seen in awhile.

So today, we present 10 summer shows you can’t afford to miss, since you never know when these headliners will be back.

Beck: July 11. Uptown Amphitheatre. The last time the very-alternative rocker was in Charlotte, he played the Grady Cole Center as a fun, goofy 24-year-old – in 1996, on the heels of his “Odelay” album. Now 43 and seven studio albums later, he’s back for a much-anticipated encore (and, hopefully, is still fun and goofy). $29.50-$49.50.

Justin Timberlake: July 12. Time Warner Cable Arena. Raleigh saw his “20/20 Experience” tour in November, as did Atlanta a month later. But the suave pop/R&B singer hasn’t performed here since 2000, when he was with ’N Sync. Expect some 30 songs, from early hit “Cry Me a River” to 2013 summer anthem “Holy Grail.” $47-$177.

Lionel Richie: July 17. PNC Music Pavilion. Hello! If it’s him you’ve been looking for, you’ve probably been waiting a very long time – he was last in Charlotte at the old Coliseum in 1986, when hits like “Say You, Say Me” and “Dancing on the Ceiling” dominated the airwaves. Richie is touring with soul man CeeLo Green. $31-$131.

Sara Bareilles: July 28. Uptown Amphitheatre. The singer-songwriter behind radio-friendly hits like “Love Song” and “Brave” stands out from cookie-cutter pop thanks to piano, guitar, ukelele and harmonium skills. She was here in May 2013, but trades up from 434-seat Booth Playhouse to the 5,000-capacity NC Music Factory venue. $45-$55.

James Taylor: Aug. 3. PNC Music Pavilion. Last seen here performing during the Democratic National Convention in 2012 (and before that, with longtime friend Carole King in 2010), the Chapel Hill native and writer of unofficial state anthem “Carolina in My Mind” returns. He won’t have an opener because he won’t need one. $30-$99.50.

Miley Cyrus: Aug. 6. TWC Arena. Her April 7 concert was famously canceled at the last minute because she reportedly had the flu, so this makeup date marks the pop star’s first performance in Charlotte since she came as Hannah Montana in 2009. In case you haven’t been paying attention, she’s not that little girl anymore. $19.50-$91.50.

Nine Inch Nails: Aug. 7. PNC Music Pavilion. Trent Reznor’s brand of industrial rock is the stuff of legend thanks to his refusal to conform – and sinister cuts like “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like a Hole,” which the band closed its set with when it was last here in 2009. Soundgarden co-headlines. $29.50-$99.50.

Linkin Park: Aug. 12. PNC Music Pavilion. Rap-rock gods since breaking out with angry hit “One Step Closer” in 2000, the band’s latest album “The Hunting Party” dropped a week ago. This co-headlining gig (with Jared Leto’s Thirty Seconds to Mars) is its first appearance here in almost six years. $35-$110.

Scotty McCreery: Aug. 16. Carowinds Paladium. The Garner native and current N.C. State University student, 20, gets his first headlining gig in Charlotte since graduating from “American Idol” in 2011 – and he’ll do it in the shadows of the theme park’s gigantic roller coasters. $44.99-$109.99.

Mötley Crüe: Aug. 19. PNC Music Pavilion. Though we’ll believe it when we see it (or when we don’t see it, in this case), the venerable heavy-metal band claims this will be the Crüe’s last tour. Reportedly, it’s a legal thing: Vince Neil & Co. still plan to make new music, but touring is not allowed by a contract they signed this year. $20-$125.

Tickets to all shows are available at Ticketmaster outlets; via ticketmaster.com or livenation.com; or by calling 800-745-3000.