Eric Church Brings Plenty of Jack Daniels to Rowdy LA Show: Concert Review

Eric Church Nokia Theater LA B/W - P 2012
Kyleen James

Eric Church Nokia Theater LA B/W - P 2012

The gifted showman keeps the party going as his fans drink, dance and stumble down the aisles.

"I promise to give you every ounce I have if you just give it back," the "Springsteen" singer promised his audience during Sunday's tour stop.

If there's one thing a country crowd knows how to do, it's have a good time.

And at Eric Church's Sunday night show at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE, there were quite a few fans that had too much of a good time. Read: plenty of stumbling and at least one unlucky lady who was carried from the premises (by an even unluckier boyfriend) after vomiting right in her seat.

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Church, meanwhile, sipped Jack Daniels from a red solo cup on stage, joking that the outcome of the show would change depending on how many glasses he'd had. And while the recent CMA Award-winner would be enjoying some time off for California sight-seeing with his family the following day, his song lyric would likely ring true for many in the audience: Jack Daniels kicked my ass again last night.

Following openers Kip Moore and Justin Moore, Church took the stage shortly after 9:00 p.m. with an acoustic guitar, a mic stand and a simple black curtain behind him -- a throwback to his days performing in smaller rock venues, he later said. A few bars into "Country Music Jesus," the black curtain dropped to reveal Church's full band and a giant backdrop depicting his Chief album cover.

The show marked Church's first time headlining a show in Los Angeles.

The set was simple, with song-appropriate background graphics on curtains -- not digital screens -- and changed by simply pulling one to the side to reveal another. (An American flag on "I Pledge Allegiance to the Hag," a bottle of whiskey on "Jack Daniels" and a skull with pot leaves for "I'm Getting Stoned" and "Smoke a Little Smoke.") But that's not to say there weren't bells and whistles -- make that pyrotechnics and laser lights -- to liven things up, as well.

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"It's L.A., baby! I feel like you guys are ready to give me everything you got," Church wooed the packed house. "I promise to give you every ounce I have if you just give it back."

And they obliged, raising Mason jars filled with liquor on every drinking reference, engaging in large amounts of PDA with their partners, and even holding up a sea of cowboy boots on "These Boots." For his part, Church, an undeniable showman, bounced from stage left to stage right with wild screams while beating his chest like Tarzan. His trademark move, one fan said.

The crowd remained on their feet for the duration of the two-hour show, save for three songs ("Like Jesus Does," "Sinners Like Me," and "Love Your Love the Most") when Church brought back that black curtain and acoustic guitar to remind himself of his humble career beginnings. "It's just you and me," he told the audience.

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The show closed with dreamy chants of "Oh, whoa, whoa… Oh, whoa, whoa" throughout the crowd on "Springsteen," Church's biggest hit to date. But the audience enthusiasm may have reached an all-time-high at the beginning of Church's encore when he played "Smoke a Little Smoke."

"Everyone told me I was insane to release a song of that subject matter to country radio, but I just told them what I saw every night when I played it -- the fans tore the walls off that place," Church told The Hollywood Reporter during a recent interview. "I was so passionate about putting that song out and it changed our career."

And tear the walls off, they did.

Set List:
Country Music Jesus
Guys Like Me
Hell on the Heart
Pledge Allegiance to the Hag
How 'Bout You
Over When It's Over
I'm Gettin' Stoned
Jack Daniels
Hungover and Hard Up
Keep On
Like Jesus Does
Sinners Like Me
Love Your Love the Most
Drink in my Hand
Lotta Boot Left to Fill
A Country Boy Can Survive

Smoke a Little Smoke
These Boots

Email:; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci

Photos by Kyleen James