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BofA Stadium just announced a huge concert. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - Less than 24 hours after Bank of America Stadium scooped itself by tweeting out a photo of a giant white “E” adorning the video board hanging over the field in uptown Charlotte, a press release from Tepper Sports & Entertainment made it official on Wednesday morning: Sir Elton John is coming to play.

What we couldn’t guess from the teaser was, When?

And the answer is ... Not till next year.

The living music legend — whose oeuvre includes dozens of iconic songs, from “Crocodile Rock” and “Candle in the Wind” to “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” — will perform a concert at the city’s largest venue on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. It will be among the final dates for his award-winning “Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road: The Final Tour” in North America.

Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 30 at http://EltonJohn.com. A presale for American Express card members will begin at noon Wednesday and will continue until 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 29.

A few things worth noting here.

1. This might be your last chance to see John perform live in Charlotte. But then again, it might not be.

He was last here in November 2019, when he stopped at Spectrum Center more than midway through the “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour to make what some thought could be his final appearance in Charlotte. With this in mind, some concertgoers paid asking prices of $500 to $1,500 apiece for prime secondhand tickets to secure a place in the building for the potentially historic event.

As a result of COVID-19 and a string of cancellations, however, John’s farewell tour has been extended into 2023, and while it wasn’t originally thought he’d be returning — well, he is.

John will be 75 when he walks onto the stage at Bank of America Stadium. His North American stadium run will kick off at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on July 15, 2022, before concluding with back-to-back performances at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Nov. 19 and 20, 2022 — commemorating his iconic performance at the historic venue in October 1975.

2. Wednesday’s announcement capped two days of teasing via Bank of America Stadium’s Twitter account. A tweet on Monday was cryptic and exciting, simply stating, “Big concert announcement coming this week,” without any hints.

My money was on either Foo Fighters, who are near the height of their popularity and were just hours removed from playing the first show at Madison Square Garden since the pandemic, or The Rolling Stones, who seemed to have been due to re-book the summer 2020 BofA show that was quashed by COVID.

But then came a follow-up tweet on Tuesday that made things fairly obvious to anyone willing to put some thought into it (or willing to do some basic Google searching).

Although there are other acts that start with an “E” who could conceivably book a stadium show — the Eagles, Eric Clapton, Ed Sheeran and even Eminem come to mind — there’s only one who uses a logo that incorporates a star shape in place of the central arm of that letter.

The run-up to the official reveal was in the vein of a February 2020 stunt by Bank of America Stadium, which put a gigantic pair of red lips on its video board next to the words “Miss You.” It was all but a dead giveaway. Three days later, the (since-shelved) Rolling Stones concert was officially announced.

It’s pretty clear, by the way, that promoter AEG Presents (not Tepper Sports & Entertainment, which owns the stadium, the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte FC) is orchestrating these teases, as they were handled the same way in other cities as well...

3. “We’ve waited a long, long time for this,” said Wilson Howard, chief operating officer for Live Nation in the Carolinas and the Baltimore/D.C./Virginia markets, at a press conference announcing that Bank of America Stadium would be getting back into the business of hosting concerts. He said that coming up on two years ago, in September 2019, on the day a Billy Joel concert was booked for the stadium in April 2020.

Six months later, COVID struck. Since then, there hasn’t been a single show at the stadium, while over the same time period:

  • A sold-out Garth Brooks concert at the stadium has been rescheduled four times, which has to be some kind of record for a Charlotte show. As of now, chances are good that it will finally be held on its currently scheduled date of Sept. 25.
  • Joel’s concert has been postponed twice; it’s now scheduled for April 23, 2022.
  • And the BofA hair-metal extravaganza featuring headliners Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard, and support acts Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, also has been postponed twice, first from summer 2020 to summer 2021, then to June 28, 2022.

Anyway, for those keeping score at home, the addition of Elton John means there are now a total of four upcoming concerts on Bank of America’s schedule.

That’s two more shows than have been hosted there in total in the entirety of the venue’s 25-year history. (The very, very short list includes the Rolling Stones, which played to a sold-out crowd in October of 1997, back when it was Ericsson Stadium; and country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw, who brought their “Brothers of the Sun Tour” to the stadium in June of 2012.) So yeah, four promised shows at the stadium over the next year is a big deal.

And smart money is on more announcements to come. Because, as one promoter summed up in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer story about the post-COVID concert business: “Every band that ever existed wants to tour.”

4. Like all events coming soon to the stadium, the Elton John show will be sold at full capacity as is now permitted by North Carolina guidelines.

Tepper Sports & Entertainment announced that last month, along with other plans to normalize the major-event-going experience.

Among them: Masks will be optional, there will not be separate sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated concertgoers, and event staff at the gates will not verify vaccination status or do temperature checks. At the same time, mobile ticketing will be the standard for entry, hand sanitizer will be available throughout the stadium, and enhanced cleaning methods will be used.

The decisions, Tepper Sport & Entertainment president Tom Glick said last month, are “consistent and in keeping with the changes to the guidelines that (the state) announced on the 14th of May. We will continue to stay in touch with them, as well as Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte going forward in case there are any nuances or any changes we should be aware of.”

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