The build-up to the announcement had Columbia guessing as to which huge act would visit the Capital City next.
Big names such as the Rolling Stones, U2 and The Who were being thrown around, but official word was kept quiet up until Gov. Nikki Haley took the stage on the Colonial Life Arena floor Tuesday in a news conference flanked with British flags.
“It is my pleasure to announce that ... ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ that we got him ... but we did get him ” Haley said to build suspense. “Sir Paul McCartney will be coming as part of his ‘Out There’ Tour on June 25th of this year to Colonial Life Arena.”
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Though it will be McCartney’s first visit to Colonial Life Arena, it won’t be his first visit to Columbia. McCartney played in Williams-Brice Stadium on May 7, 1993, as part of his “The New World Tour 1993.”
So what did it take to get the legendary McCartney to come back to South Carolina?
“He’s playing a festival in Dover, Delaware, and somewhere along the line someone decided to add some more shows,” Allen Corbett, vice president of AEG Live said. “The building was available and you have to be a certain proximity from city A and city B.”
Corbett, whose father was also a promoter, said drawing such a big star to Columbia was special.”
“To have someone of this caliber coming to what I consider my hometown, I got a few goosebumps. It’s always great to walk around a sold-out show and see people just having a great night all night long.”
The capacity for Colonial Life Arena is about 18,000, but Corbett estimates that when taking into account seating and sight-lines, around 12,000 tickets will be sold for the McCartney concert.
Some of the biggest concerts in terms of capacity that have been played in Columbia have been played at Williams-Brice Stadium, but Lexie Boone, general manager of Colonial Life Arena, said that talks never really included the outdoor venue.
“I think the plan all along was to have it here at Colonial Life Arena. This will be great for the city.”
Previous popular concerts include FarmAid, which drew 30,000 fans to see Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp and the Beach Boys at Williams-Brice. Kenny Chesney drew more than 40,000 attendees on his stop in 2008. Country legend George Strait had close to that during his 2001 performance.
It is currently McCartney’s only planned stop in the Southeast; with other Columbia summer concerts such as James Taylor and Earth, Wind and Fire, this will be a must-see concert.
Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. May 4 at the arena’s box office and through LMCtix.com, though American Express Card Members will be able to purchase tickets before the general public starting at 10 a.m. April 30 through 10 p.m. May 3.