eric church tulsa bok center photos

From the opening notes of “The Outsiders” to the very last note of Springsteen, Eric Church had the crowd in the palm of his hand for the entire night.  Country fans, old and young were scattered everywhere throughout the BOK Center.  There were barely any empty seats in the entire arena and everyone came to have a good time.  I was lucky enough to catch his show last time he was in town in 2012 and it was just as awesome then as it is now, only this time the staging was all brand new.  I have never seen anything quite like it, you need to see this thing!

The set kicked off with  a killer rendition of “The Outsiders”.  The crowd rose to their feet and screamed at the top of their lungs as the lights went out and Chief started walking up onto the stage.  As soon as the song hit full throttle all the lights came on and the drummer descended onto the stage from the riser above.  The light show was spectacular, kudos to whoever put that one together!  After the opening number the band broke into one of Eric’s biggest hits, “Creepin”.  I love the way this song paints such a vivid picture in your head due to the lyrics!  Next was the fan favorite, “Guys Like Me”, which had the crowd in instant sing a long mode.  You rarely see an artist get as into their music as Church does live.  Pounding his chest and running all around the stage like a mad man, you can tell he loves what he does!  One of my very favorite songs was next, “I’m Gettin’ Stoned”.  This song tells the story of a man who lost his loved one to another man and now she is getting married so this song is his ode to her and her new man, “She got a rock, im gettin stoned!”.  One of the highlights of the night was the engagement between church and his audience when he broke it down to the bare minimum of him and a guitar or two.  This happened during “Sinners Like Me”, which is one of my personal favorites.  This track was meant to be played live and goes over so well with even the rowdiest of crowds and was a nice slow down moment in an overall hyper set.

At one point in the set, Eric announced that he had given a piece of paper with some songs on it to a random fan in the crowd.  This fan got the pleasure of picking one song on this list to have the band play and the band will not play that song again on the rest of the tour.  She picked “Faster Than My Angels Can Fly”, from an album which wasn’t ever officially released!  Church himself seemed pretty baffled by her choice but the band tore through it with ease and the crowd loved it.  A little later, the band played some songs from the new album, The Outsiders.  They started the new songs off with “Cold One” then headed into “Thats’ Damn Rock N Roll” and then played the hit “Give Me Back My Hometown” before revisiting his last album with “Homeboy”.  One of my (many) favorite parts of the night was next when he came out and sang “Dark Side”.  This is such a badass song, if you haven’t heard it then i suggest you drop what you’re doing and go listen NOW.  As soon as the closing note of “Dark Side” had hit, the screen started paying some creepy halloween-ish video with a spoken word from church (Princess Of Darkness) which is the prelude to the epic “Devil, Devil”.  When he started playing the song, a HUGE blow up devil appeared in the back of the arena, complete with glowing eyes and spinning around to face all of the crowd.  At the end of the song, Church pointed his guitar like a gun at the devil and shot him down before going into “Country Music Jesus”.

“Smoke a Little Smoke” was next, this song was such a sleeper hit for Church.  He had no idea this song would be so popular as it didn’t fit into mainstream country but I for one am very glad this was a hit for him and kick started his career.  The last 2 songs of the night were “These Boots” and “Springsteen”, the first of which had every member in the crowd holding up their boots in ode to this amazing tune.  Lastly, Church started out the latter with an ode to Bruce Springteen by singing “Born In The USA” before going into his own hit song.  This was the concert of the year for me personally, everything about it just worked so well from the staging, to the lighting, to the crowd, the band and Church himself.  This is one show not to miss!  Be sure to catch him out on The Outisders World Tour later this year and early next year!   by David Rader

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