Eric Church wrapped his 2022 Gather Again Tour with an unforgettable show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
With Joanna Cotten feeling under the weather, Church surprised the 17,000-plus crowd with the powerhouse vocalist Ashley McBryde as his guest. According to a release, McBryde joined Church for nearly every song of the marathon 30-song set before Church closed the night out with a solo acoustic five-song medley encore.
When Joanna had to sit this one out, we immediately knew who to ask. Ashley is meant for arena stages, and she’ll be headlining her own show at MSG soon,” Chruch shared. “As when Heart & Soul was born, it was moments like last night that we always envisioned: seeing people together again, arms around one another, living and loving life for those three hours. Standing on stage again looking out at that view is a feeling we’ll never take for granted.”
“Stepping into Joanna Cotten’s boots… I don’t take it lightly,” McBryde added. “I have so much respect for that woman and that voice. When Eric asked, ‘Hey, can you come fill in?’ I said yes without even knowing how I’d get there. Talk about respect… any time Eric’s asked me to do something it has caused me to level up. I got to take a master class in entertaining while on stage.”
The moment was a full-circle moment for the duo. It was five years ago that the Church invited a then-unknown McBryde to be a guest on his tour, introducing her to his massive audience. “I mentioned I had a guest and there’s a young lady here who I have become a massive fan of, and you guys are gonna be a massive fan of her real soon,” Church told his fans at the time. “She’s just starting this journey of her career and she’s unquestionably my favorite artist out right now that’s not out yet, but she will be real soon. So I invited her to come out and just her and I are gonna do an acoustic song that she wrote… please make welcome Ashley McBryde.”
And just like that Church and McBryde joined together to gather again on stage, singing songs like “Heart On Fire,” “Break It Kinda Guy,” “Stick That In Your Country Song” and “Like Jesus Does,” making the final stop on the Gather Again Tour a night to remember.
Photos by Anthony D’Angio/Essential Broadcast Media