Music & Nightlife

Rare treats: 10 upcoming shows featuring stars who haven’t played Charlotte in 10+ years

Celine Dion’s “Courage World Tour” will come to Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in 2020.
Celine Dion’s “Courage World Tour” will come to Charlotte’s Spectrum Center in 2020. Invision/AP

There are performers who so reliably come to Charlotte every year — Dave Matthews Band, Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown Band, to name a few — that if a show date doesn’t work out this time around, their fans know that they can always catch the next one.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, meanwhile, are the big-name acts that haven’t found their way here in a long, long time.

Here are 10 major upcoming shows worth taking special note of, if for no other reason than it’s hard to say if and when they’ll ever be back in town.

1. Alan Jackson

Last time in Charlotte: August 2009 at the former Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

This time in Charlotte: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at Spectrum Center.

Worth noting: The 60-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer’s “Honky Tonk Highway Tour” (which launched in 2017) was originally supposed to stop in Charlotte last Sept. 15, but got called off due to Hurricane Florence. According to the press release announcing the show, “Fans will hear the songs they love from the man who wrote them and made them famous, including his debut hit ‘Here in The Real World’…signature songs such as ‘Chattahoochee,’ ‘Drive’ and ‘Gone Country’…party anthems ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Good Time’…and many, many more.” By the way, this Saturday Jackson is headlining a concert at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Indianapolis.

Tickets: $39.99 and up at or 800-745-3000.

Alan Jackson performs at Loretta Lynn’s 87th Birthday Tribute at Bridgestone Arena on April 1 in Nashville. Al Wagner Invision/AP

2. Nas

Last time in Charlotte: August 2008 at Amos’ Southend.

This time in Charlotte: 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, at PNC Music Pavilion (co-headlining with Mary J. Blige).

Worth noting: This is easily the most hotly anticipated hip-hop and R&B show of the summer. Blige (who co-headlined at PNC with Maxwell in November 2016) is a huge draw on her own — thanks to eight multi-platinum albums, nine Grammy Awards and two Academy Award nominations, among many prestigious accolades — but Nas is a living legend among rap aficionados. Believe it or not, his now-classic debut album “Illmatic” recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. His most recent album, 2018’s “Nasir,” was produced by Kanye West and recorded at West’s ranch in Wyoming.

Tickets: $30.99 and up at or 704-549-5555.

Nas has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, but has never won. Scott Gries AP

3. Dane Cook

Last time in Charlotte: November 2007 at the former Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

This time in Charlotte: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at Ovens Auditorium.

Worth noting: Last time he was here, Cook was riding a career high that included headlining gigs at Madison Square Garden and starring roles in movies alongside Steve Carell, Alec Baldwin and Ryan Reynolds. Now 47, he’s not nearly as sought-after and finds himself playing a more-modest venue here as part of his “Tell It Like It Is Tour.” The Hollywood Reporter put it best in a profile on Cook earlier this year: “Yes, that’s correct: The most mocked and loathed comic of the past 20 years, a guy who’s been accused of joke-stealing by Louis C.K. ... and publicly taunted by the likes of Seth MacFarlane ... and Ike Barinholtz ... and whose name on internet comedy message boards was once all but synonymous with ‘douchebag’ — that guy is about to attempt a comeback.”

Tickets: $39.50 and up at or 800-745-3000.

4. Santana

Last time in Charlotte: June 2005 at the former Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

This time in Charlotte: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13, at PNC Music Pavilion.

Worth noting: For this particular concert, titled “Supernatural Now,” 71-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist Carlos Santana has two things on his mind — the 50th anniversary of his band’s breakthrough performance at Woodstock and the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking, Grammy-winning album “Supernatural.” The current tour launches June 22 and will feature The Doobie Brothers as openers. Hopefully, there won’t be any surprises this time around: Santana was supposed to play here in 2010, but canceled it a couple months out and booked Raleigh instead, for reasons not entirely clear.

Tickets: $47 and up at or 704-549-5555.

Carlos Santana is also scheduled to play with his band at the Woodstock anniversary festival at New York’s Bethel Woods in August. Taylor Jewell Invision/AP

5. Hootie & The Blowfish

Last time in Charlotte: May 2004 at the old Cityfest Live outdoor music festival in uptown.

This time in Charlotte: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at PNC Music Pavilion.

Worth noting: Hootie frontman Darius Rucker has made semi-regular appearances in Charlotte over the years, but mostly as a country singer — last October, he co-headlined PNC Music Pavilion with Lady Antebellum. And so the opportunity to hear mid-‘90s frat-house staples like “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You” performed by the four South Carolina guys who founded the band is an extremely rare treat. For the record, the “Group Therapy Tour” (launching May 30) will be its first formal road trip together in more than a decade.

Tickets: $50 and up at or 704-549-5555.

6. Alabama with The Charlie Daniels Band

Last time in Charlotte: July 2003 at the former Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

This time in Charlotte: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Spectrum Center.

Worth noting: 2019 marks 50 years since Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry left cotton-picking jobs in Fort Payne, Ala., to spend the summer playing music in a Myrtle Beach bar called The Bowery. Despite humble beginnings, they’d go on to record dozens of No. 1 hits, many of which will be on display during this “50th Anniversary Tour.” Cook, who announced in 2017 that he is living with Parkinson’s disease, may or may not be here for this particular show (he’s performing selectively, when he feels good enough). That said, fans can definitely count on hearing from another Southern-rock legend: The Charlie Daniels Band — led by the now-82-year-old Daniels, an N.C. native — will open; it hasn’t played Charlotte since May 2010.

Tickets: $59.50 and up at or 800-745-3000.

This short video chronicles the end of Celine Dion's iconic Las Vegas residency, and announces the news of the Courage World Tour, her first US tour in over ten years. She’ll play a concert at the Tacoma Dome in April 2020.

7. Celine Dion

Last time in Charlotte: September 1998 at the old Charlotte Coliseum.

This time in Charlotte: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, at Spectrum Center.

Worth noting: In June, the 51-year-old ballad queen will put the wraps on a run of residencies in Las Vegas that have spanned 16 years, then in September, she’ll hit the road for her first North American tour since 2009 (she’ll spend the first month in her native Canada). Dion announced the “Courage World Tour” at an L.A. event broadcast on Facebook Live earlier this month, with the tour being named for a new album she said would arrive in “November, roughly.” Asked during the event what fans could expect from the new show, Dion said: “It’s not gonna be the Las Vegas show. It’s gonna be the songs that I hope that you want to hear. The songs that you used to hear me sing.” (Cue “Because You Loved Me,” “The Power of Love” and — of course — “My Heart Will Go On.”)

Tickets: $85 and up at or 800-745-3000.

8. Carol Burnett

Last time in Charlotte: May 1997 at North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

This time in Charlotte: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at Ovens Auditorium.

Worth noting: The Grammy-winning, Emmy-winning, Tony-nominated comedian/actress/writer was 64 years old when she came here 22 years ago, so ... you can do the math. That appearance was titled “Laughter & Reflection with Carol Burnett” and was billed as “a conversation . . . where the audience asks the questions,” while the current show is called: “An Evening of Laughter and Reflection Where the Audience Asks Questions.” Expect her to show and reminisce about some of her most memorable comedic performances, and a format that recalls “The Carol Burnett Show” — meaning, as suggested in the title of the show, fans should come prepared to engage.

Tickets: $108 and up at or 800-745-3000. Quantities are limited.

Carol Burnett turns 85 years old on Friday. Tyler Golden Netflix

9. Phil Collins

Last time in Charlotte: June 1994 at the former Blockbuster Pavilion.

This time in Charlotte: 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Spectrum Center.

Worth noting: Yup, it’s been 25 years since the singer has performed here, and not many folks have gotten to see him play in the past eight or nine. He basically retreated into retirement in 2010, years later emerging for a one-off show here or there, then unretiring for a run of shows he called the “Not Dead Yet Tour.” The current tour is called “Still Not Dead Yet, Live!,” and we’re lucky to have it — the Charlotte show is just one of 15 Collins has scheduled for the fall. Most fans also will probably be glad to know that the setlist will focus on hits from his four-decade career (“Against All Odds,” “In the Air Tonight,” “Invisible Touch,” “Easy Lover,” etc.), with no attempts to promote new music.

Tickets: $93 and up at or 800-745-3000.

Though the multiple Grammy Award-winner made his name as a drummer, he’ll reportedly just sing on this tour. His son Nicolas will play drums. Drew Gurian Invision/AP

10. Queen + Adam Lambert

Last time in Charlotte: August 1980 at the old Charlotte Coliseum.

This time in Charlotte: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23, at Spectrum Center.

Worth noting: Lambert hadn’t even been born yet when Freddie Mercury and Queen shook the foundation of the old coliseum with a set that started with a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock” and ended with the British anthem “God Save the Queen.” For their “Rhapsody Tour,” original Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor are continuing their now-years-long partnership with Lambert as the 21st-century version of the band enjoys a gigantic career resurgence in the wake of the Academy Award-winning Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” According to a press release, the show will be “as experimental and rule-defying as the hit-packed Queen back catalogue.” Translation: They will, they will rock you.

Tickets: Sold out, although check periodically to see if any verified resale tickets have become available.

Here are some things that get's under our reporter's skin at concerts.