The North Carolina native promised a lot and delivered even more in concert in Big D.
“This will be the best concert you’ll ever see,” Eric Church declared on Friday night, kicking off a two-night stop at Dallas’ American Airlines Center on his Double Down Tour.
Hard boast to live up to, maybe. But start to finish, Church put in a hardworking two and a half hours, making his high-energy way through a 32-song setlist aimed at clearing the high bar he set for himself.
In the first minutes he rolled out “Chattanooga Lucy” then transitioned seamlessly into his latest album’s title track, “Desperate Man.” Just a couple of songs in, it became evident that the audience was in for a powerhouse performance.
And there was certainly more to come. The record-breaking star, with the integral help of backup singer Joanna Cotton, slayed hit after hit.
And Church only gained more traction as the night went on.
Knowing just how to satisfy his clamoring Lone Star crowd, Church delivered some stellar covers, including ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” and Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy,” then jumped back into his own “Smoke a Little Smoke.”
It wasn’t the last of his nods to Texas: Before his encore performance of “Springsteen,” Church threw in some more Southern soul with an epic mashup of “Mistress Named Music,” “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind,” I Fought the Law,” “Pancho and Lefty,” “Honky Tonk Heroes,” “The Road Goes on Forever,” and “Luckenbach, Texas.”
The thousands of devoted fans who follow him city to city, and country to country, weren’t disappointed. “This is my 16th time to see him in concert,” one guy related rapturously. “We’re in the pit tomorrow night. Those people down there [in the pit] retired early to follow Eric. They’ve been to over 100 shows.”
If fans adore Church, the North Carolina native clearly returns the sentiment. Church paused multiple times during the evening to sign posters, records — and even boots during his performance of “These Boots.” At one point he gave some lucky fans a taste of his signature Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select. (The limited edition Eric Church Edition bottle was made to commemorate the Double Down U.S. tour; each bottle comes in a collector box with a metal tag.)
With no opening act and tons of material, Church pumped the crowd up himself and stole his own show.
That bar he set at the beginning of the show? Sailed right over it.
More Dates on the Double Down Tour
April 19 & 20 — Cleveland at Quicken Loans Arena
April 26 & 27 — Greenville, South Carolina at Bon Secours Wellness Arena
May 3 & 4 — Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena
May 10 & 11 — Denver at Pepsi Center
May 17 & 18 — Los Angeles at STAPLES Center
May 25 — Nashville at Nissan Stadium
June 28 & 29 — George, Washington, at The Gorge Amphitheatre
September 13 & 14 — Green Bay, Wisconsin, at Resch Center
September 20 & 21 — Calgary, Alberta, at Scotiabank Saddledome
October 11 & 12 — Philadelphia at Wells Fargo Center
October 25 — Little Rock, Arkansas, at Verizon Arena
November 1 — Manchester, New Hampshire, at SNHU Arena
November 2 — Hartford, Connecticut, at XL Center
November 15 & 16 — Washington, D.C., at The Anthem
November 22 & 23 — Sacramento, California, at Golden 1 Center
Find out more about Eric Church on his website. Photography: Courtesy Joe Pugliese.