The first of two nights in Denver of the Eric Church Double Down Tour was not your typical country concert. Church played almost two completely different sets of music each night. However, he played his major hits each performance to appease the fans that couldn’t attend both shows. Classic rock songs were covered and the stage transformed into something that looked like a spaceship. Church engaged the audience by drinking their whiskey, signing autographs, and draping himself with home-made banners. It was a completely different experience than his stripped down low-key Red Rocks Amphitheater performance in 2016. Read about that show by clicking here.
Dressed in his signature black leather jacket and sunglasses, Church didn’t look like the typical country mainstream act. He started with the song That’s Damn Rock & Roll making him sound like a rock star. Country music was represented as well with songs like How ‘Bout You and Talladega.
Vocalist Joanna Cotten stole the spotlight a few times throughout the night. She took over lead vocals on Joe Walsh’s Rocky Mountain Way. At the end of the song, the crowd was chanting her name.
During Church’s ode to Merle Haggard named appropriately Pledge Allegiance to the Hag, guitarists Driver Williams and Jeff Cease took center stage exchanging blazing guitar riffs that got the crowd in a frenzy.
The audience had props to go with Church’s music. During Drink in My Hand the audience illuminated their beers by turning on their cell phone’s flashlight and putting their beer on top their device. During Theses Boots the crowd took off their cowboy boots and pleaded for Church to sign them. It was amazing how he took a number of the boots from the crowd, ran around the arena, signed the footwear, and gave them back to their rightful owners. While Church was singing Record Year, fans held up albums by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and his own to sign. In the middle of Smoke a Little Smoke, Church held up an audience members banner that read, “Drink a little drink/Smoke a little smoke/We’re in Denver/Let’s Do Both!” Pot leafs were floating in the background while Church draped himself in the banner making it a very Denver moment.
Near the end, Church sang Springsteen (the song he started his Red Rocks concert with in 2016). The lyrics made him setlemental about the numerous times Church played at the nearby infamous Grizzly Rose. After drinking multiple shots of whiskey from the little bottles the crowd supplied him, it was amazing Church got through the night still standing. The energy from the audience and possibly the contact high made him get through the three hour set.
See you at the next show. I’ll be the one draped in banners and holding up my Joe Walsh album.