13 Mar 2023
The largest performance, sports and entertainment arena in the Lowcountry is celebrating a major milestone.
The North Charleston Coliseum is a landmark in these parts, drawing talent of all kinds - along with the spectators who appreciate it - for three whole decades now. It’s a multipurpose facility able to morph like a Transformer, and it can seat 13,000 people.
The biggest acts in the world love to come to Charleston, and the Coliseum is usually who hosts them. It’s also been the home of the South Carolina Stingrays professional hockey team, pretty much from the git-go.
The Coliseum officially opened to the public on January 29, 1993, after a two-year build. In the years since, it has seen almost 11 million folks come through its doors to be entertained, wowed, moved, and dazzled. More about that in a minute.
The Coliseum Gets Even More Colossal
Then in 1999, it experienced two major additions, creating a whole powerhouse complex to handle shows of all sizes and types. The first was the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, a proscenium theater that seats 2,300. The PAC is perfect for the arts - theatrical productions, concerts, ballets, symphonies, family shows and festivals. It has become home to the very popular Best of Broadway series (with shows like Hamilton, Aladdin, Annie and Dear Evan Hansen) along with the North Charleston POPS! series of concerts.
Also added in 1999 was the Charleston Area Convention Center - complete with its Grand Ballroom and 77,000 square foot Exhibit Hall, which can be flex-divided into three different exhibition spaces. It’s ideal for trade shows, conventions and expos (like the Cooper River Bridge Run Expo) and is a huge draw for the region.
All three elements come together to form the North Charleston Coliseum, Performing Arts Center and Charleston Convention Center Campus, officially called the Bourne-Summey City Center Complex. Incredibly, it now hosts a total of about 800 different events each year.
Birthdays, a Time to Take Stock
Birthdays tend to be a time to get a bit self-reflective, to take a look at where you’ve been, and to look forward to what lies ahead.
This is not just limited to people, but it applies to landmarks, too - especially when they house thousands of people at a time, hundreds of times a year.
It’s pretty impressive to look back on some of what’s gone on under the roof over the last three decades.
Looking Back at Fun Stats
First Ever Event Held at the Coliseum: The World Figure Skating Champions (January 29, 1993).
First Ever Concert Held at the Coliseum: Alan Jackson and Lorrie Morgan (January 30, 1993).
First Home Game of the South Carolina Stingrays: October 23, 1993.
Top selling concerts, in order of tickets sold: #1 Billy Joel (in 1994); #2 Phish (in 2010); #3 Elton John (in 1997); #4 The Eagles (in 2005); and #5 “The Boss” Bruce Springsteen (in 2008).
Most concerts played at the Coliseum by a performer or band: #1 Widespread Panic (with 19 shows!); #2 Phish (with nine shows); #3 Garth Brooks (seven shows); #4 Alan Jackson (six shows); and #5 a tie between Reba and Jeff Dunham (each with five shows).
Most total tickets sold by a performer or band: #1 Widespread Panic (101,921 total tickets); #2 Phish (96,060 total tickets); #3 Garth Brooks (80,434 total tickets); #4 Jimmy Buffett (41,256 total tickets); and #5 Alan Jackson (39,609 total tickets).
And in no particular order, here’s a list of some of those who have performed or played at the Coliseum (in addition to those mentioned above):
Prince, Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam, The Beach Boys, Metallica, KISS, Dave Matthews Band, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, Widespread Panic, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Jay Z, Neil Diamond, Luke Bryan, Darius Rucker, WWE, Disney on Ice, Cirque du Soleil, AC-DC, Harlem Globetrotters, Kenny Chesney, Cher, Ed Sheeran, George Strait, Tom Petty, Bob Seger, Ray Charles, Chris Stapleton, Mumford and Sons, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, blink-182, John Mayer, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line, Rod Stewart, Rascal Flatts, James Taylor, Vince Gill, Shania Twain, The Highwaymen (Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson), Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Bob Dylan, Martina McBride, Kings of Leon, Kid Rock, Eric Church, Daryl Hall & John Oates.
A Spotify Birthday Playlist!
The Coliseum’s even put together a special 30th birthday Spotify playlist with a lot of the artists who have played there over the years. It’s got some great music on there, and is very eclectic.
You can find the Coliseum Birthday Playlist on Spotify here.
Looking Ahead: What's Coming Up at the Charleston Coliseum
Thank goodness the pandemic is fully behind us. And the roster of what’s ahead in 2023 certainly proves it!
Here’s just a sample of some what’s coming up at the Coliseum: plenty of South Carolina Stingrays games; the Miss South Carolina USA and Teen USA Pageant; concerts by hot prodigy Billy Strings, Cheap Trick, Aaron Lewis, Third Eye Blind, Los Tigres del Norte, Boyz II Men, Alice Cooper, Tom Jones, Zach Bryan and REO Speedwagon; theatrical/Broadway shows Jesus Christ Superstar (50th Anniversary Tour), Book of Mormon, The Thorn, and New Jack City; the evr-popular Monster Jam; the Harlem Globetrotters; Jeff Foxworthy; Steve Martin and Martin Short; and kids’ shows like Super Heroes and Bluey’s Big Play.
The Coliseum has a great, user-friendly website with full schedule of what’s coming up, along with online ticket sales. Check out their website for the full event schedule.
So check out the North Charleston Coliseum while you’re here. They have something for every taste and age.
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger