As PNC Arena was booking performers for the concert calendar, officials no doubt realized this particular week would be a big one, but perhaps they didn’t realize just how huge it is for Triangle music fans.
The action begins Sunday, Jan. 27, when singer/actress Cher takes the stage, followed by heavy metal powerhouses Metallica on Monday, Jan. 28, with barely enough time between the two to clear out the parking lot.
While it’s easy to joke about how the two acts aren’t likely to generate many repeat audience members to the arena’s turnstiles over both nights, the two actually share a few similarities, perhaps none moreso than being involved in two of the most legendary splits in music history.
Metallica has ruled the heavy metal scene for nearly four decades, but to a segment of rock fans, they are also held up as having the greatest firing story of a band member as well.
Metallica’s original lead guitarist Dave Mustaine had the talent to steal the spotlight on any given night, but the other members of the band were more concerned about what would happen after the show. While each member was known for excessive drinking, the other three members were able to relax after a few cocktails, whereas Mustaine became more volatile.
It finally came to a head the morning of April 11, 1983, when Mustaine’s band members woke him at 9 a.m. to tell him he was fired. As they were in New York at the time, Mustaine — who later founded metal group Megadeath — groggily asked what time his plane back home to California was leaving, only to find that his former friends had booked the musician a four-day bus ride home that would be leaving within the hour.
As for Cher, it once was a pastime to keep track of her ex-boyfriends, but her relationship with ex-husband Sonny Bono has always stuck in fans’ eyes.
After the success of their debut 1965 album, “Look at Us,” which included the hit single “I Got You Babe,” the duo of Sonny & Cher faced career struggles by the time 1968 arrived, thanks to unsuccessful album sales and failed attempts at film stardom. But in 1971, with the successful first season of “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour” on TV, the pair remained on the pop culture radar.
Still, the marriage was falling apart on TV screens by the time the show’s third season was filming, and the couple had separated by the final episode. Despite ending up within the Top 10 in ratings for that year, tensions and hostility ended the show’s run of success.
But both acts have came back from the brink of irrelevance several times over the past few decades. Cher has seen a resurgence, yet again, thanks to her role in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.” Last month, she was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors, and her Twitter account continues to entertain.
Metallica, for its part, clearly rebounded from that moment in 1983. The band released its 10th album in 2016, “Hardwired ... to Self-Destruct,” which debuted in the top slot on the Billboard 200 album charts. The Worldwired Tour, which included an appearance at the 2017 Grammys, has been ongoing since 2016 and continually tops Pollstar’s Top 20 Global Concert Tours list.
Cher and Metallica aren’t the only ones who have reinvented themselves in music. It’s a similar characteristic found in upcoming acts coming to PNC Arena in the coming months.
Elton John: Elton John brings his “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” retirement tour to Raleigh Tuesday, March 12. While acknowledged as a global icon today, the musician’s career faced a slump in the late ‘70s after a cocaine overdose and a stunned public’s reaction to news about John’s sexuality.
But he was one of the first artists to embrace the music video craze that came with MTV’s debut, adding another platinum release to his name with 1983’s “Too Low for Zero,” which included the hits “I’m Still Standing” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.” This week, there are still a handful of tickets available, the cheapest of which is $730.
Mumford & Sons: The British band has seen sales numbers dwindle with each of its four albums, likely a result of the downward turn of folk rock’s popularity. Coming to PNC Arena on Sunday, March 17, the band has done what they can to remain one step ahead of trends within the indie rock world, abandoning the banjo — an instrument synonymous with their music since the beginning — for electric guitar in recent years. There are plenty of tickets available in the upper decks of the arena for this show.
Millennium Tour: The Millennium Tour, on Friday, March 29, features a veritable Who’s Who of hip-hop and R&B acts from recent years who all have experienced better periods in their career. Remember the Ying Yang Twins? Chingy? But the reunion of B2K is the headliner here. Despite the former boy band’s career lasting for just two studio albums (2002’s self-titled debut and “Pandemonium!”) news of this tour was met with an avalanche of online excitement, as many who grew up either listening to the group or watching them act as the stars of the film “You Got Served” are ready to escape for a few moments to a time when dance battles were their biggest concerns. Seats are still available at all levels for this one.
KISS: If there is one act that immediately comes to many folks’ minds when the concept of a comeback is mentioned, it has to be KISS. The rock band comes to PNC Arena on Saturday, April 6, for what they promise is “The Final Tour Ever.” But if ever there was a showman who knew how to milk another dollar, it would be bass guitarist Gene Simmons. The only tickets still available begin at $275, but leave room in the budget for merchandise as well, as it’s a safe bet there will be plenty items to choose from for the hardcore fan.
▪ Cher’s Here We Go Again Tour plays Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $25.95.
▪ Metallica Worldwired Tour is Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $131.
PNC Arena is at 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh. thepncarena.com