Eric Church lights hearts on fire in Los Angeles

Church plays to packed house

All artists love their fans, but Eric Church LOVES his fans! The admiration he has for them was evident during his show Saturday (May 7th) night as his Gather Again Tour stopped at the Arena in Los Angeles.

Church played an action packed 29 songs before ending with a four song acoustic medley before midnight. The Chief’s compelling presence had the audience captivated for two and a half hours straight as he and his seven-piece band rocked the stage that was centered in the arena. Standing room pits — named Heart and Soul for last year’s triple album, Heart & Soulsurrounded each end of the stage that had fans clamoring for Church’s attention.

The country star is widely known for treating his fans well, and he did not disappoint. The show started just after 9 pm with “The Outsiders” as he ripped through a wide range of singalongs from his decade-plus career. He belted through “Desperate Man,” “Country Music Jesus,” “Heart on Fire,” “That’s Damn Rock and Roll,” and “Drink In My Hand” before slowing it down a bit for “Like A Wrecking Ball.”

As he strutted around the stage, sometimes with a guitar in hand, he often picked items like vinyl, boots and hats from the audience to sign. His team prepares those moments by stationing Sharpies at each of the four mic stands he uses. He also drank a few shots the audience handed him, but seemed to instantly regret it.

“It was a lot easier at 25 than 45,” the country star joked after downing his second shot and making a face during “Creepin’.” “That’s what drinking whiskey will do for ya, kids.”

While Church was clearly the attraction, his backup singer JoAnna Cotten is a star in her own right. Her powerful vocals are often heard alongside Church’s in the mix, but she brought some of the loudest cheers when she sang the second verse of “Like Jesus Does” solo. Church and Cotten erupted with laughter near the end of the song when the two “competed” to hold the longest note. Church won.

Cotten was also playful with the audience as she, too, signed autographs. She even acknowledged fans in the Heart pit who held up homemade signs that read “Church/Cotten ’24.”

The most poignant moment of the night came when he spoke to the audience from the floor during “Springsteen.”

“I wasn’t sure when we would get to do this again — we would get to be together,” Church stated towards the end of the set. “I thought about the cities. I thought about the songs. I thought about what mattered to me. And what mattered the most, is just being with you, being with people, being beside each other. Having that moment where we sing together, we fellowship together, we drink together, we are together, and that’s what tonight’s about. Since the beginning of time, people have gathered and they will continue to gather until the end of time. Thank you tonight for gathering in Los Angeles. I appreciate it very very much.

“Don’t puss out on me. I’m not done yet,” he says laughing. “I’ll go as long as you wanna go.”

The trek, which was announced more than a year ago, is beginning to wind down. There are only four stops left, including Sacramento, Las Vegas, the Phoenix area and New York City.

Church lives up to the title of CMA Entertainer of the Year as his swagger draws you into his world. He really did make fans glad we can all gather again. Thank you, Chief!

Set List:

  1. The Outsiders
  2. Desperate Man
  3. Country Music Jesus
  4. Heart on Fire
  5. That’s Damn Rock and Roll
  6. Drink in My Hand
  7. Like A Wrecking Ball
  8. Knives of New Orleans
  9. Pledge Allegiance to the Hag
  10. Round Here Buzz
  11. Homeboy
  12. Smoke a Little Smoke
  13. Rock and Roll Found Me
  14. Stick That in Your Country Song
  15. Record Year
  16. Drowning Man
  17. Hell of a View
  18. Hippie Radio
  19. Mr. Misunderstood
  20. Creepin’
  21. Cold One
  22. Talladega
  23. Like Jesus Does
  24. Give Me Back My Hometown
  25. Thunder Road (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  26. Springsteen
  27. Some Of It
  28. These Boots
  29. Holdin’ My Own
  30. Acoustic Medley: Chevy Van/I Love Your Love The Most/Carolina/Sinners Like Me

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Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email:

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