It had been three years since I last saw Eric Church perform, going back to November 2014. So to say I had been eagerly anticipating the Holdin’ My Own Tour would be the understatement of the century. That said though, after weeks of anticipation leading up to CMT Music Fest last July and the complete disappointment that came along with the last minute cancellation due to inclement weather, it was everything I could do not let myself get too excited. After all, what if it were cancelled again? My heart just wouldn’t be able to handle that.
So imagine my absolute delight when Tuesday night went off not just without a hitch, but was absolutely flawless. My friend and I got into London at 5:30pm, well before the doors to the show opened, so we decided to walk the short (and I mean short!) distance to the Bull & Barrel to grab a bite and some drinks. The Bull & Barrel is an amazing country bar in London in every way – from the food/drinks, the service, the prices, the layout, and of course the music, it’s a great pre & post concert venue. What I love most about the Bull & Barrel too is the mixed crowd. It’s never just one demographic, which always makes a venue more appealing to me. I ran into Andrew, the owner of the Bull & Barrel and chatted with him briefly – and to me that’s always a sign of good service, when the owner of a venue is on site and engaged.
At 7:30pm we decided to walk over to Budweiser Gardens with our tickets and I will say – the line up shocked me! We were in line to get in for over 25 minutes, and for a show that emphasized a prompt 8pm start time… I was mildly panicked! We made it to our seats just in time for the show to start and from there, I was blown away again and again. In a completely unprecedented concert concept, Eric Church performed an unheard of amount of songs to what felt like a sold out crowd at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada. The one thing I always love about Budweiser Gardens versus other venues is that for a venue that holds up to 9,100 patrons, it always feels like an intimate performance, no matter where your seats are. I was in section 106, row H, and my view was absolutely stellar. Not to mention the usher in our section was fantastic – showing us to our seats, handling issues like they weren’t no things, and just being an all around boss.
As the concert played out (set list below), what struck me most is how Eric Church always sounds not only as good as his albums, but somehow better. His ability to play live and often unplugged really showcases his raw talent – the main reason I consider myself one of his biggest fans. Since he had decided to forego an opening act and play two sets himself, one of the best advantages is it allowed him to play both his singles and unreleased musics from his entire discography. From singles like How ‘Bout You to the unreleased Pledge Allegiance to the Hag from his Sinners Like Me album, right through to his Mr. Misunderstood single and to the emotional Mixed Drinks About Feelings from his recently released album, he covered the entire gamut throughout the over three hour set.
While his set list changes at each show, in an effort to keep each show unique and fresh, below is the setlist from the London show which shows just how much he covers. The Holdin’ My Own tour was incredible, from the pre-concert to the venue to of course, the live music by Eric Church. It’s safe to say that Tuesday will not be my last time seeing Eric Church, and would not be my last time at Budweiser Gardens!