Eric Church Brings His Rock and Roll Country LIVE to London – Show Review.
If you are a country music fan living in the UK, or know any, it will have been hard to escape the buzz that has been building leading up the Eric Church live show for months. But it was no ordinary country gig buzz; this is the first time he has ever played in the UK, following the fast increasing line-up of acts who have suddenly visited this side of the Atlantic in the past twelve months. Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, and the inaugural Country to Country festival; yet for many Church was the first less commercial (but still mainstream) country artist to visit, and that was important.
There was no support act, so excited fans filled the theater, waiting (perhaps impatiently), until 8:45pm when Eric graced the stage, although they enjoyed screaming at the various sound guys who milled about beforehand.
Eric began with ‘Creepin’’, which really got the crowd going, singing along enthusiastically and holding their hands and drinks in the air.
About half of the songs played were from his award-winning 2011 album Chief, but he made sure to include older tracks from his previous two albums, like ‘Pledge Allegiance To The Hag’, ‘Lotta Boot Left To Fill’ (which was a huge crowd pleaser in particular), ‘How ‘Bout You’ and ‘These Boots’. During this song half the standing section of the audience took off one boot and held it in the air, two people even throwing theirs on stage.
Continuing in the revelry, Eric held the boots in the air during the remainder of the song, and then signed them before throwing them back, no doubt really making someone’s day!
Eager and fully enjoying themselves, the crowd were really behind Eric during the show, getting 100% involved in tracks like ‘Keep On’, ‘Sinners Like Me’ and ‘Drink In My Hand’. In response, Eric barely stopped grinning, and seemed genuinely surprised and ecstatic when the audience were screaming every word, a sea of movement as they danced.
Although deciphering his Southern drawl was difficult at times when he spoke to the crowd (the microphone blurred his words) he was very interactive, riling everyone up into a huge party, although he kept simply talking to the crowd a minimum, focusing on the music and getting as many songs in as possible.
The band disappeared for the acoustic set, that included the 2013 ACMs version of ‘Like Jesus Does’, which was beautiful, and ‘Two Pink Lines’. It really showed Eric’s prowess as a genuine country musician behind all of the crashing guitars and drums, that sometimes gets lost. The atmosphere throughout was incredible, and was brought to an absolute peak when he performed the final song of the night, ‘Springsteen’.
I have known nothing like it at any gig I have been to, and many I spoke to afterwards said it was the best show they’d ever seen. Every member of the crowd was hoarse for screaming in admiration of this man clearly at the top of his game, and was clearly a great advert for Eric’s live album ‘Caught In The Act’, released April 9th. It has been reported he is returning to the UK in the Autumn, and I for one am extremely excited to see him again.