Entering into the historic venue of Red Rocks Amphitheatre on a beautiful summer night, I noticed the unofficial uniform of the modern country music fan. The majority of guys wore short sleeve plaid shirts and a great number of girls dressed in shorts with cowboy boots. Not just cowboy boots, but a vast array of brands, designs, and colors (my thesis: Women’s Cowboy Boots and their Place in Society will be published soon). The crowd had a laid back calm about them that you don’t normal find attending other genres of music. With that easy-going attitude in the air, it was nice not having to fight over seats in the general admission section.
From Granite Falls, North Carolina, Eric Church moved to Nashville, Tennessee after getting a Marketing degree at Appalachian State. Church started writing hits for other musicians and eventually got to perform his own songs. He built a loyal following with his extensive touring and heartfelt lyrics. Eric Church sold out his two shows at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in just minutes. This was the second night of a mostly stripped down set list.
Eric Church came out wearing sunglasses and a black leather jacket. Not only did it make him look cool, it blocks the bright lights that dry out his eyes and give him painful headaches. That explains the sunglasses at night, but I don’t have any answers about the leather jacket in August. Church started out strong with just an acoustic guitar performing Springsteen. It’s about how memories of a teenage romance come back to him when he hears a Bruce Springsteen song with clever references to The Boss’ lyrics. “It’s funny how a melody sounds like a memory.” It was not played the prior night. If you only attended the first night, you should be jealous.
|Cam and Eric Church wearing their sunglasses at night|
Opening act Cam, wearing matching Eric Church like sunglasses, came out to sing back up on Like Jesus Does. She was awe struck by performing with Church at the legendary venue. Their voices harmonized nicely and bounced off the rocks to the ecstatic crowd.
Church’s band only performed with him for a few songs. When they did perform, the musicians snuck in from the sides of the stage. A large group of fans were sitting on the sides almost hiding the band. Peyton Manning was sitting in those prime seats during the first night.
Eric Church and his band had the crowd singing and using props to the alcohol fueled songs Drink in My Hand (the crowd held up their drinks during the chorus) and These Boots (the crowd held up their boots… that’s right, their boots during the chorus).
Being close to Cripple Creek, Colorado inspired Church to cover The Band’s Up On Cripple Creek. The young crowd impressively sang along to every word of the 1969 classic. If you only attended the first night, you should be jealous because it was the only night he performed it. Another amazing cover was one of my all time favorite songs Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. With just his guitar, Church sang with such strong emotion you could tell the song was one of his favorites as well. He didn’t perform Talladega which he did the first night. If you were there that night, I am jealous.
|Cam – All photos by people in better seats than me|
Cam was the opening act. She replaced Maren Morris who opened the show on the first night. Cam was born Camaron Ochs from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. The curly blonde haired singer’s grandparents ran a nearby ranch giving her a love of country music. Like Eric Church she started out as a successful songwriter. Her charisma and talent eventually lead her to record and perform her own songs.
Cam came out wearing a colorful yellow and white ensemble. She expressed how honored she was to play Red Rocks. Cam introduced her song Fireball Whiskey by describing a morning after drinking and finding puke on her boots. She some how made the bodily fluid story charming.
Cam’s song Village described her attempt to help her friend through the pain of her brother’s death. “Cause your whole heart is a village/Everyone you love has built it/And I’ve been working there myself/And that’s where I’ll be/With a front-row seat/To watch you live your life well.” This almost made all the plaid shirt and cowboy boot wearing audience tear up. Giving her instant fans.
Cam ended her set with her Grammy Award nominated Burning House. It’s just a matter of time before she headlines the venue.
See you at the next show. I will be the one wearing a plaid shirt with a drink in one hand and a boot in the other.