2022 concerts, live music Charlotte NC and how to get tickets

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The spring concert lineup includes (clockwise from top left) Morgan Wallen, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, J. Balvin, Snoop Dogg and Maren Morris.

Photos by The Associated Press and McClatchy Newspapers

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Back in the Groove

The Observer’s spring 2022 concert preview has everything you need to enjoy live music again. From 22 cant-miss concerts to some tips to make the most out of your experience, check out our guide for the return of live performances.


This time last year, though it was starting to appear as if there might finally be some light at the end of the pandemic, there were a grand total of zero significant concerts to look forward to in the spring of 2021.

What a difference a year ma —

Actually, I probably need to be a little bit careful throwing that cliche around these days. I’ll just say this, and wIll knock on wood while saying it: Barring any curveballs, Charlotte music fans can expect a slew of live-music choices over the next three months, as things seem to have returned mostly to normal for concert promoters and touring artists.

Whether you’re into hip-hop or heavy metal, new artists or (in some cases very) old, intimate venues or ginormous ones, this roundup of the spring 2022 concerts I’m most excited about should have at least one that appeals to you. And if it doesn’t, feel free to shoot me an email to share what’s on your must list.

And here we go, in chronological-ish order…

1. Bad Bunny’s ‘El Último Tour del Mundo’

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Bad Bunny led the nominations for the 2022 Latin American Music Awards. Marta Lavandier AP

The Puerto Rican rapper/reggaeton star will be staging his first Charlotte concert ever — and it comes as he’s peaking: In December, Bunny was crowned the most-streamed artist in the world on Spotify for 2021, his second straight year claiming that title. And earlier this month, when the nominees for this year’s Latin American Music Awards were announced, he led the pack with 10 nods.

When: Saturday, March 26.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Yonaguni,” a chilled-out Latin pop single he released last summer. Most of it is in Spanish; but Bunny sings the end of it in Japanese.

2. Bob Dylan’s ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways Tour’

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Bob Dylan, pictured performing in 2012, is preparing a new book — a collection of more than 60 essays about songs and songwriters he admires, from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello. Titled “The Philosophy of Modern Song,” it’s scheduled for a Nov. 8 release. Chris Pizzello AP

The Nobel Prize-winning lyricist and singer may be getting old (he’ll be 81 in May), but he has continued to put out new music that he demands his audiences pay attention to. If you’re expecting “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” you will almost surely go home disappointed. Expect the setlist to be heavy on the 2020 album that shares the tour’s name.

When: Wednesday, March 30.

Where: Ovens Auditorium, 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Gotta Serve Somebody,” a 1979 gospel hit that’s one of the handful of classics he’s been including in his setlist.

3. Lil Tecca’s ‘Tecca Loves You Tour’

If you’re not a Gen-Zer, it’s possible you’ve never even heard of this teenage hip-hopper, who made a name for himself while rapping over trap beats on Soundcloud while sporting glasses and braces. If you are of that generation, though, you likely know: The kid is a huge deal, and once he finds his footing as an artist, should quickly outgrow smaller venues like the one he’s coming to here.

When: Thursday, March 31.

Where: The Underground, 820 Hamilton St. (at the AvidXchange Music Factory).

Song to listen to on repeat: “Ransom,” the breakout mega-hit from his debut 2019 mixtape “We Love You Tecca.”

4. Bon Jovi’s ‘2022 Tour’

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Bon Jovi performs at Raleigh’s PNC Arena in April 2018. Scott Sharpe [email protected]

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers will return just over a month removed from a milestone birthday for their frontman. Smart money says he can still make “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “It’s My Life” shine at 60.

When: Friday, April 8.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Livin’ On a Prayer,” with the hope that Jon will close the show the same exquisite way he did the last time the band was here, in 2018 — by starting it solo, with him on an acoustic guitar, then bringing in the rest of the crew and restarting it, to present it in its full rock glory.

5. John Mayer’s ‘Sob Rock Tour’

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John Mayer performs at Madison Square Garden in New York City last month as part of his “Sob Rock Tour.” Evan Agostini Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The singer-songwriter’s show is named for the album he put out last July, and that album was an homage to ’80s-style soft rock. Some critics have said it’s his best music in years, although plenty of fans will be coming to hear his yesteryear hits, like 2001’s “Your Body Is a Wonderland” and 2006’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” Oh, and his marathon-length guitar solos.

When: Monday, April 11.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “New Light,” which came out in 2018 as the first single off of “Sob Rock” (yes, three years ahead of it) and nailed the ’80s.

6. ‘Billy Joel in Concert’

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Billy Joel, photographed at a concert in Charlotte in December 2015. Joshua Komer Joshua Komer

It was 2019 when it was announced that the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer would lead the Carolina Panthers’ home stadium back into the concert business with an April 2020 show. But COVID pushed the show to April 2021, and then in 2021, COVID pushed it again, to … next month. Third time should be a guaranteed charmer: At 72, Joel is still cranking out 2-1/2-hour greatest-hits-style shows with as robust a voice, with as nimble-fingered piano-playing, and with as engaging a personality as ever.

When: Saturday, April 23.

Where: Bank of America Stadium, 800 S. Mint St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Piano Man.” Obviously.

7. Journey’s ‘Freedom Tour’

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Arnel Pineda, lead vocalist for Journey, photographed at a concert in Kansas City in May 2016. SUSAN PFANNMULLER Special to the Star

Yes, Filipino import Arnel Pineda is still standing in for former lead singer Steve Perry; and yes — somehow — the experiment still works better than anyone could have imagined, with the current evolution of the band still filling arenas with the sounds of “Anyway You Want It,” “Faithfully” and more. Opening are Toto (!) and Billy Idol (!!).

When: Thursday, April 28.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” because more than four decades after being released, it stands as the greatest hair-band-rock anthem of all time.

8. Kenny Chesney’s ‘Here and Now Tour’

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“I never thought it would be three years until I would see my most favorite people in the world,” Kenny Chesney said in a press release announcing the tour. CHRIS OBERHOLTZ THE KANSAS CITY STAR

Expect a sweat-soaked, beer-fueled good time with a massive crowd at a concert marking the country singer’s first visit in four years (and the first time BofA will have ever hosted live music on back-to-back weekends). Chesney arrives on the heels of his 53rd birthday, and a sweet No. 1 country-radio hit: “Half of My Hometown,” a Kelsea Ballerini slow jam he guest-sang on.

When: Saturday, April 30.

Where: Bank of America Stadium, 800 S. Mint St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “American Kids,” which will leave even the most hardened souls stomping their feet and longing for their teenage years.

9. Mount Westmore (with Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too Short and E-40)

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Snoop Dogg performs with Mount Westmore at Rupp Arena on Saturday in Lexington. The hiphop supergroup also includes Ice Cube, E-40 and Too Short. Snoop Dogg has been recording music since the 1990s. Ryan C. Hermens Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader

This newly formed hip-hop supergroup is the stuff of dreams for Gen-Xers raised on West Coast rap. Each member will do their own classics, but with the quartet’s debut album due later this year, it’ll be interesting to hear the new music it unveils. Snoop, of course, is riding a fresh wave of popularity thanks to a buzzy Super Bowl halftime show performance.

When: Sunday, May 8.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Big Subwoofer,” a sumptuous buffet of iconic rap-delivery styles and a teeth-rattling display of bass meant to be blasted with the windows rolled down.

10. AJR’s ‘OK Orchestra Tour’

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Jack Met of AJR jumps into the crowd during a show in Louisville in 2018. Silas Walker [email protected]

The alternative-rock trio (named for brothers Adam, Jack and Ryan Met) has come a long way since 2018, when it played for a crowd of less than 800 people who packed themselves into Live Nation’s The Underground music club. Catchy, quirky hits like “Bang!” and “Way Less Sad” caught fire during the pandemic, and now the fellas find themselves trying to fill a venue built for 20,000.

When: Sunday, May 8.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Weak,” one of the most unabashedly honest and vulnerable pop songs of the past five years.

11. J. Balvin’s ‘José Tour’

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2022 will see J. Balvin perform in more than 25 cities across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico beginning in April. Fresno Bee

Like his friend and collaborator Bad Bunny, the Colombian reggaeton singer will be staging his first Charlotte concert ever — and like Bunny, he will arrive on a hot streak: Balvin was recently spotted in Miami with pop megastar Ed Sheeran on the set of a shoot for a music video they’re making together, and Miller Lite just dropped flashy new limited-edition “J. Balvin Edition” pint-sized cans.

When: Wednesday, May 18.

Where: Spectrum Center, 333 E. Trade St.

Song to listen to on repeat: The sparkling reggaeton ballad “La Canción,” from the 2019 album he did with — yep — Bad Bunny.

12. Foo Fighters’ ‘Live in North America Tour’

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Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters performs in Tempe, Ariz., last month. Amy Harris Amy Harris/Invision/AP

They’re the only guys in the world that are currently both on a major concert tour (currently charting a course through Latin America) and starring as themselves in a comedy-horror movie (“Studio 666,” in theaters now). As it turns out, Dave Grohl & Co.’s film is in the midst of flopping, but the tour — which promises a long, loud, energetic set — is proving rock is alive and very, very well.

When: Tuesday, May 24.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Everlong,” in your choice of flavors — hard-charging rock anthem or elegant acoustic version.

13. Halsey’s ‘Love and Power Tour’

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Halsey, photographed at the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest in Los Angeles last month. Chris Pizzello Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

In 2017, the openly bisexual pop star gave Charlotte one of the LGBTQ-friendliest major concerts in recent memory. Since then, they’ve charted eight top-40 hits — including “Him & I” with now-ex G-Eazy and “Life’s a Mess” with the late rapper Juice Wrld — and last July she became a mom. So, as fans, we’ve got a lot to catch up on with them.

When: Friday, May 27.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Closer.” For 90 seconds, there’s no indication she’s even a part of the song; but once it welcomes her gorgeous, yearning vocal, the synth-pop track comes fully alive.

14. Morgan Wallen’s ‘Dangerous Tour’

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Morgan Wallen, photographed at a concert in Lexington, Ky., this past December. Ryan C. Hermens [email protected]

Whether you felt like the mulleted country singer with the bad-boy image deserved to be canceled last year when he was caught on video using a racial slur, it’s now clear: He didn’t get canceled. In fact, Wallen finished 2021 with the year’s top-selling album across all genres and last month launched his 2022 tour with two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden.

When: Thursday, June 2.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Whiskey Glasses,” the 2018 drinking-to-get-through-a-breakup anthem that he closes every concert with.

15. Tears for Fears’s ‘The Tipping Point World Tour’

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Curt Smith, left, and Roland Orzabal of the band Tears for Fears, photographed in January. Chris Pizzello Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

It’s been more than 26 years since the British band that peaked when it implored ’80s kids to “Shout, Shout,” and to “Let It All Out” has made music that’s put a dent in the pop charts, but against most odds Tears for Fears is still together, still putting out new albums, and still headlining gigantic venues. Garbage, notably, will open.

When: Monday, June 13.

Where: PNC Music Pavilion, 707 Pavilion Blvd.

Song to listen to on repeat: “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” because — if you’re in the core audience — you probably haven’t played it over and over since you owned your first record player.

16. Tove Lo’s ‘Sunshine Kitty Tour’

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Tove Lo has a new song out, “How Long,” which was featured in the second season of the HBO original series “Euphoria.” Courtesy of High Rise PR

This show should raise some eyebrows, as the Swedish pop star has a reputation for emphasizing her sexuality, and then emphasizing it some more. Lo is no stranger to twerking; she also isn’t afraid to flash her fans if she’s in the right mood. As for her music? Despite the title of the tour (also the title of her most recent album), her lyrics can get pretty dark …

When: Wednesday, June 15.

Where: The Fillmore Charlotte, 820 Hamilton St. (at the AvidXchange Music Factory).

Song to listen to on repeat: “Habits (Stay High),” which became her breakout hit in 2014 and is a prime example of both her sunny sound and her bleak outlook.

17. Maren Morris’s ‘Humble Quest Tour’

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Maren Morris performs at the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards earliest this month in Las Vegas. Eric Jamison AP

Last time the Nashville star visited, she opened PNC Music Pavilion for pop singer Niall Horan. This will be Morris’s debut here as a big-venue headliner, and by the time she arrives, her new country-focused album will have been out for nearly two months — so fans will have had ample opportunity to learn all the words to the “Humble Quest” tracks she’ll be performing for the first time in Charlotte.

When: Thursday, June 16.

Where: Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, 1000 NC Music Factory Boulevard (at the AvidXchange Music Factory).

Song to listen to on repeat: “The Middle,” a 2018 collaboration with DJ/producer Zedd that stands as her most-danceable hit.

And five acts worth the drive

18. Slipknot’s “Knotfest” at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Friday, April 1: The masked rockers from Iowa will perform heavy-metal hits like “Duality” and “Psychosocial” with support from In This Moment and Wage War.

19. Elton John’s “Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour” at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Tuesday, April 19, and at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, on Wednesday, April 20: Sir Elton has already done this show in Charlotte (in November 2019) and it will return here on Sept. 18 (at BofA Stadium). That is one long farewell tour. But he really might never come back after this year, so…

20. DaBaby at “Spring Fling” at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Thursday, March 31, and at “Spring Jam” at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday, April 22: The Charlotte-based rapper is getting back out there after a 2021 in which he was effectively “canceled” in the wake of a homophobic rant at a summer music festival in Miami.

21. Justin Bieber’s “Justice World Tour” at Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Tuesday, April 25: Expect a ton of ear-splitting screams as the reigning king of pop sings chart-busting hits like “Love Yourself” and “Peaches.”

22. Paul McCartney’s “Got Back Tour” at Truist Field at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Saturday, May 2: Uh, he’s a Beatle. ’Nuff said.

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The “Got Back Tour” marks Paul McCartney’s first live shows since July 2019. The former Beatle is shown here at a show in Lexington, Ky., in June 2019. Alex Slitz [email protected]

Where to buy tickets

Tickets for every concert on this list are available at www.ticketmaster.com, or via the Ticketmaster app. There is currently no way to purchase tickets over the phone.

This story was originally published March 25, 2022 6:00 AM.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect location for the John Mayer concert, which is at Spectrum Center.

Corrected Mar 26, 2022

Théoden Janes has spent 14 years covering entertainment and pop culture for the Observer. He also thrives on telling emotive long-form stories about extraordinary Charlotteans and — as a veteran of 20-plus marathons and two Ironman triathlons — occasionally writes about endurance and other sports.
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