‘Weird’ but wonderful: Eric Church rocks Rogers Arena

“It’s been a long wait and it’s going to be a long show,” the country star proclaimed.

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CONCERT ANNOUNCEMENT: Eric Church

Rogers Arena

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Friday, October 29, 2021


Eric Church’s Gather Again tour rolled into Rogers Arena Friday night over the Halloween weekend.

Conditions could not have been better for the country singer, who played the first sold-out show on the spot in over a year and 245 days.

Behind the ticket agent at the will call, there was a notice board that with bold green marker showed potential pitfalls for the evening: First concert, long line-ups, vaccine passport and ID check, etc.

The lineups were long. But they moved quickly.

Vax pass and ID checks were superficial and fast.

Borrowers had far longer waits to fill the maximum allowed beers or grab an Eric F-ing Church Tour T-shirt. It took a long time to get everyone in and start the show.

As for the whole issue of masks / non-masks, a maskless woman from Nanaimo, who kept her empty cup like a treasure, summed up what seemed to be the dominant attitude among the audience: “I’m soooo over it.”

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That said, many also in awe of the biggest bubble they had been in for almost two years and proclaimed, “It’s so weird.”

It was.

Such is the long-term effect of the pandemic protocols most people have been conditioned to follow that any change is strange.

But when the light went down at 9pm, the crowd roared. It’s a long time ago.

When Church went on stage with his acoustic, Church led the space in a sing-medley of classics ranging from Van Morrison’s Stone Me to Temptations’ ‘My Girl, Beatles’ tunes and Joan Jet’s I Love Rock’ n ‘Roll.

It turned out that it was only a warm-up for the audience to be ready for the rest of the night. They closed the lyrics to his hit Some Of It, the longtime fan favorite Drink In My Hand and so many more.

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“It’s been a long wait and it’s going to be a long show,” Church proclaimed.

It was also a great pace.

The seven-male backing band rocked hard on Heart On Fire, raged on the excellent Stick That in Your Country song and called a slinky boogie on Hell of a View showcasing the classic three-guitar southern rock format in a way that Skynyrd would approve.

All players were aces, but backup singer Joanna Cotten deserves special mention. What a powerhouse.

Church and Co. delivered a marathon set of feel-good tunes to an audience hungry for air-punching release. It felt really good to be back for a big show again.

We hope that BC follows the footsteps of Ontario and that we will dance on the clubs and stands as soon as possible.

There were certainly some issues for the first test of the recently relaxed provincial health orders around public assemblies, but this worked.

Save attempts to leave a sold out show. It is still a total pain, pandemic or not.

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