Eric Church set out this summer on his first ever amphitheater tour, bringing along acts ranging from stars like Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson and Ashley McBryde to outlaws like Whiskey Myers, Cody Jinks and Koe Wetzel to up-and-comers like the Red Clay Strays, Hailey Whitters and Jackson Dean and even some legends like Ray Wylie Hubbard and Travis Tritt.
It was a tour unlike anything we’ve ever gotten from Church before: Not only did the setlist leave off some of his biggest hits and feature songs that he generally doesn’t play live, but Chief also brought along a brass band and a three backup singers for funky new versions of songs like “Drink In My Hand,” “Cold One,” and even his biggest hit “Springsteen.”
But now, after 35 shows all across the country, it’s come to an end – although Church admits that unlike some of his other tours, he was sad to see this one wrap up:
“I’m sad to see this one end. And I don’t know that I’ve had that very many times.
I mean, you’re sad later, but I’m sad today, before it ends, and that’s where you know you had something pretty special. Honestly wish you could go on some more.”
In a message to his fan club, the Church Choir, he also revealed that this was one of his two favorite tours that he’s ever done:
“It’s among one of my two favorite tours. It’s between this and the ‘Holdin’ My Own’ tour…I think are my two favorite tours that we’ve ever had.
To be 20 years into a career and have that, and to be able to play stuff we haven’t played, and take some chances on some songs, is really a testament to you guys and the faith you have in us and the fun that we have when we’re on stage.”
Church also said that the tour was a much-needed “revival” for him too, after previously admitting that after his last tour, the Gather Again tour, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to get back out on the road:
“I needed this tour. For my soul, for where we’re going…
It was a revival for me. It revived me, so it was a revival.”
And although the tour is over, Church hinted that he’s already got something new in the works:
“I’m sad it’s over. But it’s not over over. There’s stuff in the future.”
But whatever comes next for Church, it sounds like it’s going to be different from the Outsiders Revival Tour, as he admits that he’s not sure when – if ever – they’ll play some of the songs that made the setlist from this tour:
“We created this tour that won’t happen again. I don’t know when you’ll hear ‘Hangin’ Around.’ I don’t know when you’ll hear ‘Bad Mother Trucker.’ I don’t know when ‘Chattanooga Lucy’ will open a show. Probably never.
This is for this spot. This is for this time. So if you came to this tour you can go ‘I saw that.’ And that’s going to, I hope, freeze a moment in time for those people.”
I’m glad I caught a show on this tour, because it sounds like nothing like it will ever happen again.