May 19, 2024


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Stagecoach festival goers leave Eric's Church acoustic gospel set

Stagecoach festival goers leave Eric's Church acoustic gospel set

He plays

Eric Church has a reputation as one of country music's true rebels, with songs like his blue-collar shake-up anthem “How 'Bout You,” which asks “I love my shake, how about you?” But this isn't the same man who appeared on Stagecoach as one of Friday's headliners.

For his seventh time playing the festival – and fifth time headlining – Church opted for something different.

After a long church organ play as an introduction, Church is shown sitting in a chair in front of a stunning array of red stained glass windows on the production screen.

He began playing Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” before being joined by backing singers for “Mistress Named Music”, then a chorus for “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, “This Little Light Of Mine”, and “When The Saints Go Marching In”. , “When the Saints Go In”, “I'll Fly Away”, “I Saw the Light” and more.

An unplugged jam session prompted festival-goers to exit the Empire Polo Club after about 15 minutes, a scene that can best be described as Moses parting the Red Sea. It was a surprising move by Church, considering that his recent setlists seemed in line with the type of show many were expecting him to perform.

There was a memorable moment when Church started singing a country and gospel version of Snoop Dogg's “Gin & Juice” and the line “I've got a pocket full of rubber and my house boys too” has never sounded more outlandish in the same set of gospel songs. He continued with the most surprising selection, 2Pac's “California Love.”

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An hour and six minutes into filming, Church said nothing more than, “How are you going to do?” But he finally played his hit song “Springsteen,” one of the true highlights of the bewildering set. The highlight was the talented choir that joined him for the entire set, along with long-time collaborator Joanna Cotten, and the various solos provided by several talented singers at the end.

So why did he choose to do a gospel set with the occasional country song (and even some hip-hop songs)? I think we're all still curious about the meaning behind the collection, but it's clear he was trying something different.

It wasn't bad, it just wasn't what people wanted.