Following the travesty known as the 53rd Annual CMA Awards, Eric Church had himself quite a weekend.
His Double Down Tour stopped in Washington D.C. on Friday and Saturday night, and then last night, he headlined the sold out ATLive Concert Series at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne and Caylee Hammack were also on hand to offer their support on what turned out to be one helluva night.
However, perhaps the highlight of the entire weekend was when Eric Church called out Garth Brooks during a cover performance of Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” changing the lyric to “I know Garth didn’t do it this way.
As always, we broke the news first, the video went viral and now the Garth Brooks stans are in full force calling Eric “jealous,” “bitter,” “petty,” and every other name you could think of. But if you actually watched any of his performances from the weekend, you saw that Eric is the furthest thing from bitter.
During his nightly “Springsteen” performance, Eric laid out in detail what music is truly about, and the reason that he even picked up a guitar in the first place. As he told his Washington D.C. crowd both nights, it sure as shit isn’t about winning CMA Awards…
“I believe that music is the most powerful thing in the world. It transcends language, it transcends politics, it transcends stupid-ass trophies that I don’t care about. Because the most important thing that music does is it saves a moment in time forever. And there’s nothing you could ever give me that I would trade that for. So tonight is about what music is meant to be and it’s not number one songs, it’s not about how many albums you sell. It’s does this moment matter to you? And this moment fucking matters to me.”
The following night, Eric phrased it a little differently:
“So this song, I’ve mentioned every night, it’s about the power of what music can do, and here’s the thing about music, everybody’s got to understand this… Music is not awards, it’s not number ones, it’s not albums sold… music is the power of freezing a moment in time that we will remember forever. No matter how old we are, 30 years from now, when we hear that song, we’re 17 again, we’re 30 again, we’re 40 again, that’s what music does. The rest of it ain’t worth shit guys, it ain’t worth shit. The reason I ever played guitar for the first time was for the power of music, for what tonight is as I look around this room. You can have everything else, I’ll fucking take this right here.”
When he threw in that line about Garth into his Waylon cover, he wasn’t doing it just to talk shit, he wasn’t doing it because he’s pissed off about the CMA Awards, and he wasn’t doing it because he hates Garth Brooks (although he did call him out in 2017 for lip-syncing at the CMA Awards). I think we can all assume that Eric probably doesn’t care for Garth, but the truth is, he threw that jab at Garth for one reason…
To fire up the fans. With Eric, it’s always all for the fans.
Eric has some off the most loyal fans in the world, the kind of ride-or-die fans that many artists, even many with multiple number ones, can only dream about. He built that fanbase by getting out on the road, touring his ass off, always putting the fans first, and doing it the right way. Eric knows they’re pissed, and they have every right to be. By calling out Garth, Eric was acknowledging their frustration, and applauding their dedication to him and everything he’s accomplished this last year. He even laughed right after he said it, along with the rest of the band.
Does Eric want to win awards? Sure, who doesn’t? It’s nice to be formally recognized for your accomplishments, but at the end of the day, Eric wouldn’t trade a single one of these shows, a single one of these fans, or a single one of these moments for a fucking CMA Award.