Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω
The ground was sticky, the air reeked heavily of beer, it was hot and sweaty on the floor and there is no other way his fans would have it. On the third night of the Canadian leg of his tour, Grammy nominee and country bad-boy Eric Church brought an uncontrollable energy to a sold out show at the Interior Savings Centre.
A short 20-song set, Church opened with “Country Music Jesus,” a title that he embodied. The audience was immediately engaged, regardless of how many beers they’d consumed before arriving at the show.
Church’s concerts have a reputation for attracting a young, rowdy crowd and this one was no exception. There were, however, some more mature fans that balanced the unruly mob out. The older couples brought the country vibe to life as they showed up the youngsters when it came to two-steppin’.
Though the real show was watching an animated Church, the lights and pyrotechnics added to his energetic performance.
“Creepin’” especially benefited from all the bells and whistles when the green lights lit up the stage, eerily hitting the smoke and creating that Louisiana swamp feel. Every cell phone in the venue was out trying to snap a picture.
“I just want to say I’m havin’ a damn good time,” he said as he stood in the spotlight alone with his guitar and shifted gears to play the romantic “Like Jesus Does.” There was still an edgy vibe lingering in the air and he seemed to tear through the three slower numbers.
Church got right back up on the horse when he encouraged the already tipsy crowd to grab another drink and sang one of several songs about alcohol, “Drink in my Hand.” The audience obliged, to say the least.
As the audience roared, Church said, “If I have anything to do with it, we will burn this son of a bitch to the ground.”
Church saved the best for last. “Springsteen” evoked a sense of community among the crowd as they rose, almost as one. They were unable to control themselves as they belted out the American Country Award-winning song. One fan in particular was so enthused she tossed what appeared to be her bra on stage.
The single shortcoming of the evening was that he didn’t play “Hell on the Heart” off his 2009 album Carolina, which made the top-10 on the Billboard charts for U.S. country songs in 2009.
The party spilled into the streets following the show, and it’s safe to say that many had to forgo church Sunday morning to see Church on Saturday night.