Music fans packed the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis., on Nov. 20 for Eric Church on the first leg of The Outsiders tour. The night also featured Dwight Yoakam as support and Halestorm opened the show on their first night of several dates on the tour. Given the in-the-round setting and general admission floor, more than 10,000 fans packed into the full circumference of the arena.
Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale stood in the shadows as the lights dimmed at 7:30 p.m. and belted the opening verse of “I Like It Heavy” acappella to commence the show. Though they only had a brief 25-minute set, Halestorm cranked out a half-dozen songs including “I Miss the Misery,” “Love Bites (So Do I)” and “Freak Like Me.” Eric Church fans should be familiar with Hale from her duet with Church, “That’s Damn Rock and Roll,” first performed together at the CMT Music Awards. However, it took them a little time to warm up to the Grammy-winning rockers, finally showing their approval when drummer Arejay Hale erupted into a drum solo following “I Get Off.” Fists were pumping by the time Halestorm were closing their set with “Here’s to Us.”
Dwight Yoakam was a bit of a letdown following Halestorm’s energetic performance, sticking close to his mic stand for an hour-long show. Yoakam noted that he picked up a cold in the “Wisconsin summer” that could have been partially to blame for his anemic display. Highlights included “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” “Guitars, Cadillacs” and his covers of “Little Sister” and “Streets of Bakersfield.”
Eric Church quickly got things straight with a near-flawless, two-hour set opening with the lead song from his latest album, “The Outsiders.” If any fans were questioning Church’s live show, those thoughts were quickly put to rest as drummer Craig Wright was lowered from the rafters with his kit.
An abundance of lights filled the stage from every direction. Church did well to work the crowd from every direction–catwalks jutting into the general admission crowd, risers flanking either side of the stage and a rotating drum platform.
About a third of Church’s set focused on music from “The Outsiders” including singles “Talladega,” “Cold One” and “Give Me Back My Hometown.” A pair of panties landed on the stage during “I’m Gettin’ Stoned,” prompting Church to quip, “This is why I love Green Bay.” When fans started a “Go Pack Go” chant later in the evening, Church questioned the rambunctious crowd, “Do you throw underwear on the field during football games too?”
Church noted that he likes to keep some uncertainty in the show each night. He allows a fan to choose one song from a list of that hasn’t been played live on the tour. Church said, “Let’s see what we’re playing tonight, we might fall on our faces but that’s okay, we won’t be playing this again on the tour.” The fan chose “The Weight,” a treat considering Church performed the song the night before during a tribute show for Mavis Staples’ 75th birthday celebration in Chicago.
The crowd was quite vocal in their appreciation of Church, singing and dancing throughout the night and frequently hoisting their drinks into the air as a quasi-toast to the rising star. This was especially true for “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag,” “Drink In My Hand” and “Homeboy.”
As expected, Lzzy Hale joined Church during “That’s Damn Rock and Roll.” A giant devil, complete with Nashville belt buckle, came to life at the opposite end of the arena on “Devil, Devil.” The show concluded near 11 p.m. with “Born in the U.S.A.” leading into his #1 smash, “Springsteen.” The tour continues into February with some deserved down time during the winter holidays.
Remaining Eric Church “The Outsiders” tour dates:
Nov. 22 – Evansville, Ind. @ Ford Center
Dec. 4 – Wichita, Kans. @ Intrust Bank Center
Dec. 5 – Kansas City, Mo. @ Sprint Center
Dec. 6 – Sioux Falls, S.D. @ Denny Sanford Premier Center
Dec. 11 – Duluth, Ga. @ @The Arena at Gwinnett Center
Dec. 12 – Greenville, Ky. @ Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Dec. 13 – Birmingham, Ala. @ Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center
Jan. 8 – New Orleans, La. @ Smoothie King Center
Jan. 9 – Tupelo, Miss. @ BankcorpSouth Arena
Jan. 10 – Nashville, Tenn. @ Bridgestone Arena
Jan. 14 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ Chesapeake Energy Arena
Jan. 16 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Jan. 17 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ The Chelsea at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Jan. 18 – San Diego, Calif. @ Valley View Casino Arena
Jan. 22 – Fresno, Calif. @ Save Mart Center
Jan. 23 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Staples Center
Jan. 24 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ US Airways Arena
Jan. 27 – Denver, Colo. @ Pepsi Center
Jan. 29 – Spokane, Wash. @ Spokane Arena
Jan. 30 – Boise, Idaho @ Taco Bell Arena
Jan. 31- Salt Lake City, Utah @ EnergySolutions Arena
Feb. 4 – Sacramento, Calif. @ Sleep Train Arena
Feb. 5 – San Jose, Calif. @ SAP Center