The juggernaut known as a Faith Hill and Tim McGraw tour is rolling through the Triangle.
The pair have made a point of playing the PNC Arena on every major tour that the two share billing on, no matter what the name of the building may be at that time. In 2006, they sold the joint out under the old RBC Center banner. Before that, it was 2000 and the Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena.
In fact, when the duo announced a Greensboro date on the 2017 edition of the Soul2Soul tour, it appeared that the Triangle was being skipped this time around. But when that 2017 run produced enough sellouts to warrant a 2018 extension, Raleigh was added to the lineup.
But what will we get with the new run of shows? Here’s a crash course for those traveling to Edwards Mill Road Friday night.
Did we mention sellouts?
Holy moly! In an uncertain world, artists large and small are never sure when their audience will decide to skip the upcoming new album release or concert date. It’s safe to say that Hill and McGraw’s fans had their neighborhood Soul2Soul stops circled on their calendars. The initial 80-date North American run of sold-out shows resulted in nearly 1 million tickets sold, altogether.
The supporting acts have changed
Whereas the 2017 run of shows featured a revolving lineup of performers personally selected by Hill and/or McGraw, the 2018 series is a little more stable. Singer-songwriter Caitlyn Smith was responsible for warming up the crowd throughout the first half of the current tour, with the Raleigh stop being her penultimate performance of the tour (The following night’s show in Duluth, Ga., will be her final appearance on the tour.)
Soul2Soul is truly a co-headlining tour. Unlike most productions that share the claim, the setlists the married couple have been using on the tour are split evenly between the pair’s catalog, with some duets thrown in for good measure. While that means you may miss some of McGraw’s No. 1 hits, if you are a fan of deep cuts from Hill’s albums, this show is for you.
The production values are cutting edge
Here’s hoping you aren’t expecting to see the same show you may have gotten if this was at one of the outdoor amphitheaters around town. This is a massive production, with laser lights throughout the show, and musicians just as capable of backing up a rock band as performing “This Kiss.” In other words, this ain’t your grandpa’s country concert.
Where has Hill been?
This is Faith Hill’s first major tour in several years, though she has been busy with other projects. That includes a Las Vegas residency, releasing a compilation album (“Deep Tracks”) and recording with McGraw. Now she’s on a new label, and a joint album with McGraw, “The Rest of Our Life,” is their first together and her first in over a decade. That fact alone should be enough to spotlight the issues female performers are currently grappling with in country music today. Hill still possesses incredible vocal power and has the charisma and performance chops to make an arena stage her own. That can be tough in some markets, though.
Tim McGraw & Faith Hill with Caitlyn Smith
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday June 22
Where: PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh
Cost: $65.50, $85.50, $115.50
Info: 919-861-2300 or ThePNCArena.com