Best 2022 Summer Outdoor Concerts in Raleigh, Cary NC

The chicks, left to right: Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire.  Their tour will come to North Carolina in support of their latest #1 album,

The chicks, left to right: Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire. Their tour will come to North Carolina in support of their latest #1 album, “Gaslighter.”


Go outside!

Check out this roundup of the best outdoor concerts, movies, festivals, terraces and rooftop bars to enjoy around the Triangle this summer.

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Summer and outdoor concerts are practically synonymous.

With the waning of the COVID-19 pandemic, concert season is in full swing. While there are dozens of shows in the Triangle – free and paid – in all sorts of genres at all sorts of venues, here are a few outdoor shows we’re looking forward to.

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Take 6, with Najee

The details: July 7, NC Museum of Art, Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in Museum Park, Raleigh. Tickets are $35 for non-members and $31.50 for members.

For 25 years, the NC Museum of Art has been the venue for outdoor concerts, attracting local, regional and national artists. That’s true this year, as a new jazz streak has been interspersed with acts like Old Crow Medicine Show and Herbie Hancock as well as North Carolina’s Watchhouse. (Mark Oct. 1 on your calendar for the latter.) The museum, in a press release, said the jazz concerts are a result of visitor requests for more live jazz. This show features Take 6, an a cappella group that has won 10 Grammy Awards. Get ready for “an evening of jazz, pop, adult R&B, doo-wop and blues,” the museum said. Najee, contemporary flautist, is the first act.

Take 6.jpg
Take 6, an a cappella group, has won 10 Grammy Awards. John Abbott

The chicks

The details: July 12, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Raleigh

The last time The Chicks came to Raleigh, it was a super sultry night, even by North Carolina standards. The trio hit every high note in their catalog, from “Goodbye Earl” to “Wide Open Spaces” and “Not Ready to Make Nice.” And they didn’t shy away from incorporating politics into their show, targeting North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which at the time required people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate. The band have since dropped Dixie from their name, but the trio and their moxie still go hand in hand. On this tour, Natalie Maines and company will perform songs from their equally fiery album, “Gaslighter,” which, when released in 2020, was their first album in nearly 14 years.

Barenaked Ladies, Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket

The details: July 16, Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh

It might seem like the Barenaked Ladies have a standing invitation to visit Raleigh every summer, and for good reason. The Canadian band’s upbeat music provides plenty of singing moments, and they’re always joined by classic (now) retro bands on the lineup. This summer, Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket will take older viewers back to the mid and late 90s.

Kehlani Press Photo
Kehlani will kick off the Blue Water Road Tour with special guests Rico Nasty and Destin Conrad on July 30 at the Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bria Alysse

Kehlani, Rico Nasty and Destiny Conrad

The details: July 30, Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh

Kehlani has been making music for over a decade, but she’s having a moment right now. On July 30, the R&B singer will kick off her tour at the Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh. The tour follows the recent success of his album “Blue Water Road,” which debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 chart and No. 3 on Billboard’s R&B album chart. She told Rolling Stone this month that she felt good about the new music she was releasing. “It was interesting to see how different this process was from the last album and previous albums,” she said. “I’m going on tour and I haven’t headlined my own tour in five years. This is where my head has been since the day it fell. How am I going to do this? It’s my favorite part.

Legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson will perform at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary on August 19. Charles Sykes Vision/AP

Smokey Robinson

The details: August 19, Koka Booth Amphitheater, Cary

Robinson’s hits and deep cuts — with the Miracles and as a solo artist — could easily pack an hour-long show. “The traces of my tears”, “The tears of a clown”, “You really have a hold on me”, we could go on. Robinson, now 82, has done it all and received some of the highest honors in the music industry: Grammy Awards, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee and a National Medal of Arts, to name a few. In other words, a Smokey Robinson concert is like helping him write a page in a history book.

Wu Tang Clan
Hip-hop legends Wu-Tang Clan, pictured, and Nas will co-lead the New York State of Mind Tour in the summer of 2022. Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan and Nas

The details: September 17, Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, Raleigh

It’s safe to say that the Wu-Tang Clan and Nas are legends in their own right. Round them up for a co-headlining tour, and you’ve got a show for all ages. The East Coast hip-hop icons will bring their New York State of Mind tour to Raleigh as part of a 25-city tour. The two have dozens of hits and platinum albums between them, but only one Grammy win. Nas finally won Best Rap Album of 2021 for “King’s Disease.” He released “King’s Disease II” last year as a follow-up, earning another nomination. Although the tour doesn’t kick off until August 30, making the setlists unknown, we wouldn’t be surprised to see onstage collaborations in the show.

black pumas
The Black Pumas, including Eric Burton, will perform in Raleigh for the first time on October 2 at the Red Amphitheatre. The concert is part of the Mighty Giveback, a benefit concert organized by Band Together and United Way of the Greater Triangle to raise funds for Triangle nonprofit organizations focused on housing affordability. Edouard Verdugo PA

Black Pumas, The Record Company and The Heavy Heavy

The details: October 2, Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh

The story of Eric Burton, lead singer of the Black Pumas, is the stuff the movies are made of. Imagine this: a young man who grew up singing in church develops his love of music on the streets of California in Texas. Within a few years, he met veteran guitarist Adrian Quesada to form the Black Pumas. Success comes fast: a critically acclaimed album, chart-topping songs (“Colors” was everywhere) and Grammy nominations. Not too bad. The band is one of the headlines at the Mighty Giveback concert organized by Band Together and United Way of the Greater Triangle. The money raised during the concert will go to the Triangle non-profit organizations which help with housing accessibility. (Band Together has a second gig on Oct. 28 with country band Turnpike Troubadours.)

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Jessica Banov is the editor-in-chief of news and features. She is the Midday Breaking News Editor for the Southeast McClatchy region. She oversees entertainment, arts, food and restaurant coverage for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. She is News & Observer’s internal program coordinator.

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