Going to Church on a wild Saturday night
Whoever said outlaw country means unsuccessful has not seen Eric Church perform.
Playing on his Blood Sweat and Beers tour for an exceptionally enthusiastic crowd at the Interior Savings Centre on Saturday, Feb. 2, Church’s brand of Grand Ole Opry-certified country-rock had the old-time feel of a jamboree with the pyrotechnics of a Metallica concert.
Church materialized on stage in a cloud of smoke like a phantom, sporting a pair of aviator sunglasses and an old baseball hat, opening with Country Music Jesus, a lively tune from his new album, Chief, that set the tone for the night.
Among the hubris of rock riffs and flatpicking was the stomping of boots and the cheers from the crowd, a couple of scuffles and the spilling of gallons of beer, the title of the tour living up to its name.
“You guys feel like getting stoned?” Church asked the crowd to an spirited response before performing his song I’m Getting’ Stoned.
An altered Canadian flag (with the maple leaf replaced with a cannabis leaf) was a recurrent motif.
Songs like that and Jack Daniels presented Church’s humorous side.
Perhaps most memorable was Church’s hit Creepin’, as green lights and smoke created a spooky atmosphere that built up the crowd’s suspense, which was only diminished by the sea of cellphones now synonymous with coliseum concerts.
He also performed his latest single, the solemn Like Jesus Does.
Church and his band put on a great party, not just through his performance but also via the crowd’s.
Folks were able to get up and dance, which is refreshing to see considering some concerts resemble going to the movies.
It was a true country show with a rock-and-roll atmosphere, a combination difficult to resist.