Throughout his entire career, he’s always kept fans guessing at what was coming next, from the surprise Mr. Misunderstood album in 2015 to the Double Down Tour in 2019 which featured two nights in each city with no openers, to his Heart & Soul triple album in 2021.
You never really know what you’re going to get from Chief.
Although he’s warning fans who are coming to see him on his current tour: Don’t expect all of the hits.
Just a few weeks ago, Church left some fans disappointed after his performance at Nissan Stadium in Nashville during CMA Fest when his setlist didn’t include hits like “Springsteen” or “Record Year,” and instead featured deep cuts like “Bad Mother Trucker,” “Hangin’ Around,” and a cover of Little Feat’s “Sailin’ Shoes.”
The superstar admitted in an interview with Rolling Stonethat he was surprised by the criticism, but he didn’t want to reveal everything he had in store – and that’s why he didn’t play one of his biggest hits:
“I didn’t play ‘Springsteen,’ because I have a new version of ‘Springsteen.’ You’ve got to come to a show and see it.”
And it’s not just “Springsteen” that will sound a little different if you catch a show on the Outsiders Revival Tour. Church has debuted new versions of many of his songs, showcasing the 12-piece band and horn section that he’s bringing along with him on the tour.
Oh, and if you’re expecting to hear only the hits? Well, you might be disappointed.
Church says that new setlist (which in true Church fashion, is never the same from one night to the other) leans heavily into his last two projects, Heart & Soul and his 2018 album Desperate Man – because he didn’t get to explore them during his last tour:
“The last tour was maybe my least favorite, because of Covid weirdness every night. I never got to lean into the ‘Desperate Man’ album and ‘Heart & Soul.’ This time, we changed that. Most of [the set] is those two albums.”
Of course he still dips back into his catalog for songs like “Drink In My Hand” and “Smoke a Little Smoke.” And “Springsteen” is still a staple of the nightly setlist. But some of his other major hits didn’t make the cut this time around:
“If you’re coming to hear ‘Talladega’ and ‘Record Year,’ you ain’t gonna hear them. There are a ton of songs people are leaving going, ‘He didn’t play his hits.’ And, no, we didn’t.”
If you’re an Eric Church fan like me, it doesn’t really matter what he plays because I love pretty much every song he’s released (except for one, and I’ll let you guess which one that is).
But if you’re just a casual fan showing up to hear “These Boots” or “Talladega,” you may leave disappointed – although if you’ve ever seen Church in concert, I have a hard time believing anybody is too disappointed after the show he puts on.