Country star Eric Church may be touring behind his 2014 smash album The Outsiders, but the first time RodeoHouston performer acted more like a parolee during his performance at NRG Stadium — a man grateful for his freedom.
"I've got a two-week old. In the last 14 days, I've gotten 14 hours of sleep," Church told the crowd of 57,338, which topped last year's opener Brad Paisley. The crowd's size meant that the lower bowl filled in, but the upper deck was sparse — not too shabby for a pre-spring break Tuesday night.
Maybe getting a break from his infant son Tennessee Hawkins had Church in good spirits, or maybe he was just happy to be in Houston. Either way, the singer's trademark aviator sunglasses and black leather jacket belied his upbeat mood. Church could be seen smiling from the beginning of set opener "Creepin" right through to the last chords of closer "Springsteen."
"I've got a two-week old. In the last 14 days, I've gotten 14 hours of sleep," Church told the crowd of 57,338, which topped last year's opener Brad Paisley.
The 12-song set drew from all four of Church's albums, but the crowd cheered loudest for the opening chords of The Outsider's chart-topping track "Talladega." Regardless of the track, the crowd of mostly 20-somethings decked out in boots and pearl snaps for the Rodeo's return looked to know all the words: singing along and shouting chorus back at Church when prompted.
Other highlights included Church giving shoutouts to Mo's Place in Katy and the Firehouse Saloon as venues he played during his path to stardom and introducing "Like a Wrecking Ball" by explaining it was the song playing when he conceived his new baby.
Overall, the set mixed tempos and tones well with more rocking tracks like "Drink in my Hand" balanced by "Talladega" and "Like a Wrecking Ball."
If some fans expressed disappointment about not hearing personal favorites like "The Outsiders," "Hell on the Heart" or "She Loves Me Like Jesus Does," well, there's always next year. After such a strong debut, expect Church to return for many more Rodeo performances.
Guys Like Me
Pledge Allegiance to the Hag
Drink in my Hand
Like a Wrecking Ball
Smoke a Little Smoke