All Photo Credits: Brandie Story
There were a lot of things I noticed about the Eric Church concert last Sunday evening. For starters, the overall concert was great. Any excuse to throw back a few cold beers on a Sunday always feeling like one final stand against a long forthcoming work week, and being able to do so with Eric Church was icing on the cake.
I'm going to go ahead and say that even though I recognized more of Church's tunes than Justin Moore's, I thought Moore put on more of an energetic performance. I understand how most people might point their pitch forks at me for saying so right about now, but there's a lot of variables to consider when critiquing an evening of music from point A. to point B.
The first fact I noticed was Justin Moore and his crew were only given about 1/3 the stage space as Church and expected to do the same job. Of course, its custom for opening acts to get screwed in stage production, but this was insane! I mean, there's pros and cons to every situation. One could say Moore puts more into his stage presence to make up for not having lazer lights and pyrotechnicians, but I can say, in his case, having less was more. It just makes me think back to catching the Mumford and Sons show with Doze and Apache Relay. Yeah, Mumford and Sons had more lights and stage props, but the show's transitions from act to act was fair and unnoticed.
Moore put on a hell of a show. Despite the lack of production flare, his fans ate it up. Playing some of his popular tunes like "Bate a Hook" and "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away", Justin Moore made for a perfect supporting act to the infamous, Eric Church.
20 minutes later, after crew members and stage hands transfigured the once 5' by 5' stage "those measurements are exaggerated", into something of a platform the Soviet Union would have used, Eric Church magically appeared out of the fog on stage like a little ball cap wearing angel.
I've never seen so many girls in white dresses and cowboy boots loose their grip. It was awesome. You couldn't help but to admire the guy. He went back and forth on stage, cracking jokes to the crowd in between songs, and talked to everyone on a personal level as he sipped his Jack Daniels.
Referring back to what I said earlier about Church's show tricks, they were really awesome. Green lazers shooting throughout the arena, fireworks and flames spouting from the stage, it was like being at a country KISS concert.
I have to say the only little commodity that rubbed me the wrong way, and I promise to keep this brief, was the stage presence of Church's bassist and backing guitar player. They were great musicians and that's about 99% of all that matters, BUT they were a little cheesy. I couldn't overlook the metal guitar shedding stances. Everyone knows what I'm talking about. The leg out, knee bent Zakk Wylde stance. It works great for Zakk Wylde, but not so much for an Eric Church show. And the only reason I even felt the urge to bring it up was the fact that they put so much extravagance into the lights and fire and lazers. It just left me thinking, Church's production crew or marketing director clearly puts a lot of thought into staging... they can't get Church's band some flannels...?
To end on a positive note, I recommend catching both Justin Moore and Eric Church at the next given opportunity. Even if your not a die hard country fan their music and performances make for a rambunctious soiree, not matter what night of the week it may be.