After delaying the show open to allow the new record-setting concert crowd of 56,521 fans into Nissan Stadium, multi-Platinum superstar Eric Church appeared at the end of his 50-yard-line catwalk beneath a single spotlight to set the tone for the marathon Saturday night ahead. Adorned in his trademark aviators, t-shirt and a Gibson guitar, Church opened his first headlining stadium show with “Drowning Man” before meeting powerhouse backup singer Joanna Cotten center stage for “Country Music Jesus” and what could have been the official mantra of the evening: “That’s Damn Rock & Roll.”
Church, praised by Esquire as “one of the most singular working artists in any genre,” has long done things his own way – perhaps never more evident than on his current Double Down Tour. Continuing the trend of the tour thus far, the country music renegade performed nearly four hours of music and just under 40 songs spanning the catalog of all six of his studio albums. With no opening act – making him the first artist to play Nissan Stadium alone in the venue’s 20+ year history – Church had the record-setting crowd in the palm of his chest-pounding hand the entire evening (the previous attendance record of 56,112 was set in 2018).
Church heard friends were camping out beginning Friday afternoon to be first in line for pit access, so early Saturday morning around 12:30 a.m. he surprised them in line outside the gates of Nissan Stadium. | Courtesy of the Double Down Tour
“I came here 15 years ago and I had dreams,” he explained of Nashville to his loyal Church Choir, “but I’m not sure I could dream this big. Tonight is a special night for me and you know this if you’ve been to any of our shows on the Double Down Tour… I’m gonna give you everything I’ve got all night long, and tonight is going to be a revival. I promise you.”
As the night went on, Church indulged the crowd with everything from hits like current single “Some Of It” –the music video directed by award-winning Reid Long having debuted on stadium screens prior to the show – and No. 1 hits “Drink In My Hand” and “Record Year” to deep album cuts including fan-favorites “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” and “Knives of New Orleans.” His extensive catalog was evident throughout both halves of the marathon set punctuated only by a 25-minute intermission, making it no surprise that Church has earned 30 million RIAA certifications, a feat he was recognized for with a plaque presentation prior to the show.
He also paid homage to Nashville as he’s done in each tour city thus far – putting the ‘music’ in Music City with stadium-worthy covers of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Night Moves,” “It’s A Great Day to be Alive,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Piano Man,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” during his signature “Mistress Named Music” medley. As the epic show drew to a close after midnight, Church sent the satisfied Nashville crowd into Sunday morning with an encore including his classic hit “Springsteen” – the melody sounding like a memory that is sure to remain a soundtrack to this May Saturday night for years to come.
Upcoming Double Down Tour Dates
June 28 & 29 George, Wash. || The Gorge Amphitheatre
Sept. 13 & 14 Green Bay, Wis. || Resch Center
Sept. 20 & 21 Calgary, Alberta || Scotiabank Saddledome
Sept. 28 San Francisco, Calif. || Chase Center
Oct. 4 & 5 Grand Rapids, Mich. || Van Andel Arena
Oct. 11 & 12 Philadelphia, Pa. || Wells Fargo Center
Oct. 25 Little Rock, Ark. || Verizon Arena
Oct. 26 Birmingham, Ala. || BJCC Arena
Nov. 1 Manchester, N.H. || SNHU Arena
Nov. 2 Hartford, Conn. || XL Center
Nov. 15 & 16 Washington, D.C. || The Anthem
Nov. 22 & 23 Sacramento, Calif. || Golden 1 Center
About Eric Church
The three-time Country Music Association and six-time Academy of Country Music Award winner released his highly-anticipated album Desperate Man atop the Billboard Country Albums chart on October 5. The album also debuted at No. 5 on the all-genre Billboard 200. Rolling Stone Magazine describes the album in their July 2018 cover story as “classic Church: expertly crafted and country-radio-friendly, while also pushing boundaries in a way that sounds natural and unforced” and American Songwriter notes that it “sublimates the pain of a tumultuous year into his most adventuresome album yet.” Church has returned to the road for his 2019 Double Down Tour, visiting nearly 30 markets for back-to-back nights of two unique shows sans-opening act to give fans 6+ hours of his iconic music in each city. The tour also included a massive stop at Nissan Stadium in Nashville where Church nearly tripled the attendance record he set at Bridgestone Arena in 2017.
Eric Church (fans in crowd) OC: …carried it up the hill. :51
“I recognize them in the crowd. A lot of times I know they’re names and talk to ‘em, We come from, different people have different paths, but we directly came from being up close and personal with our fans because of the places we’ve played. I know a lot of ‘em and recognize even more of ‘em when they’re in the crowd, and it’s always neat to see ‘em out there. It’s just fun for me. I wonder what they feel like when they think about the places that were about empty and they were standing there giving me all they had to turn around now and see all these other people there. I think that would just have to be a neat thing for them too, because they were the ones that discovered it and they were the ones that told other people about it. And I think there’s nothing cooler for a recording artist to have somebody that loves what you do and believes in what you do so much that they really make it their cause and champion to go out there and push it on other people that maybe don’t know about it. They’re the reason I’m here, and they’re the ones that picked up the flag and carried it up the hill.”