Billy Joel will play the PNC Arena in Raleigh Feb. 9, 2014, Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane announced Thursday morning at a press conference at the sports and entertainment complex. Tickets go on sale Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m., following a special pre-sale for American Express cardholders. No ticket prices are currently available.
City officials teased the big reveal on Wednesday through a press release that said the mayor would “announce a major concert at PNC Arena.” That prompted a flurry of suggestions and preemptive excitement, especially on Twitter, where the hashtag #pncrumors became a trending topic in the area yesterday afternoon. And Joel, in fact, was an early guess by the defunct blog New Raleigh, who suggested Joel must be playing more than one concert in Raleigh, especially if the gig was enough to get the mayor’s attention. Joel will perform only one date at PNC, however, a venue he has has played before by himself and with Elton John. That concert sold the most tickets of any show ever at the arena.
Carolina Hurricanes president and general manager Jim Rutherford defended the pre-announcement hype by explaining that artists such as Billy Joel, who turns 65 next year, are limiting their touring schedules. “We think it’s a very exciting opportunity,” he said, standing between a black Steinway piano and a banner proclaiming Joel’s appearance. The piano was not played during the press conference. Rutherford expects the 18,000-capacity show to sell out quickly.
Madison Square Garden recently announced that Joel will become their debut music franchise early next year. Beginning January 27, 2014, Joel will play a show at the New York City centerpiece every month, so as long as each new announcement sells out. To date, five shows have been announced, including a May 9 concert that falls on Joel’s 65th birthday. New York and Raleigh won’t be the only cities to greet Joel in the coming year: Yesterday, the Detroit-area Palace of Auburn Hills announced that Joel will play there Feb. 15. On Sunday, Joel—as well as fellow musicians Carlos Santana, Martina Arroyo and Herbie Hancock, plus actress Shirley MacLaine—will receive the Kennedy Center Honor from President Barack Obama.