Eric Church and his fans know how to have a good time when comes to a live show, but it sounds like Chris Stapleton’s are a little more tame…
Kenny Vaughan, a longtime guitarist for Marty and a guitarist in his band The Fabulous Superlatives, first met Chris almost 20 years ago or so, before he was even part of his former band the The SteelDrivers, working with him on demo sessions in Nashville when Chris was starting out as a songwriter.
Eventually, Marty and his band went on the road with Chris, opening most of the shows on tour a few years back and getting to know his fans pretty well.
He noted that they were a great crowd to play for, and Chris’ team knew how to set everything up to get good sound in big venues that are usually pretty sub-par. The fans were truly there to hear Chris’ incredible vocals and fabulous music, which Kenny appreciated as a musician:
“But, you know, the way the stage set it, it sounds pretty good for a big venue. Normally big venues don’t sound very good, and his audience is more of a listening crowd, too.
Nothing like the music row acts, who, you know… are generally extremely inebriated.”
He recalled opening for Eric Church one time, saying that he’s never seen so many people so drunk in his life, either before or since that show.
And seeing as he’s been a touring musician for decades now, that’s saying a helluva lot:
“I mean, we opened for Eric Church once, and I’ve never seen, ever in my entire career, people that drunk, and that many people that drunk.
I’ve never, before or since, we were shocked. We were just like, ‘Woah, those people aren’t even home.’ I mean, they’re just walking digestive tracts by the time you’re up there playing.
They can’t even focus, they won’t remember this show.”
To be fair, it is a concert, and most people in the crowd are gonna have a couple drinks and unwind after a long work week.
And I’ve been to many Eric shows in my day, and of course you’re always gonna have people who are absolutely obliterated no natter what show you’re at, but I’ve always found that most people are there for the music and pay attention the whole time, too.
Eric puts on one of the best lives shows in the business, but I could definitely see how the people at a Chris Stapleton concert might be a little more low-key, just because of his more mellow sound alone.
And fun fact… Kenny played guitar on Eric’s most recent Heart & Soul albums.
“Well, the Stapleton gig, you go out and play and they’re all looking at you and watching you play, you know? They even clap sometimes at your first solo or something.
But they were focused, and I was making eye contact with people, and they were listening. They’re a listening crowd, not really a drinking crowd at all, really.”
I don’t know about all that, because I’ve seen some pretty intoxicated people at a Chris show before, too but it’s pretty funny to think about all the fans Kenny saw at Eric’s show and didn’t know what hit him.
He also talks about what he thinks makes Chris so special as an artist, and also the first time he heard Chris’ extremely talented wife, Morgane, on a demo back in the day: