Eric Church’s Gospel-Inspired Set at Stagecoach Had Fans Going To See Nickelback Instead

The Stagecoach Music Festival kicked off on Friday (April 26), and Eric Church delivered a polarizing gospel-inspired set that had some fans booing and walking out. Many people chose to see Nickelback instead, per a report from NME.

Videos by American Songwriter

Church performed covers of songs like Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” and 2pac’s “California Love.” He also brought out Joanna Cotten and a 16-person choir. Apparently, fans weren’t vibing with the unusual set, and Church was met with boos and a thinning crowd.

Following the show, Church put out a statement. He first claimed that the set was “the most difficult” show he has “ever attempted,” per a report from Billboard.

“I’ve always found that taking it back to where it started, back to chasing who Bob Seger loves, who Springsteen loves, who Willie Nelson loves, you chase it back to the origin. The origin of all that is still the purest form of it. And we don’t do that as much anymore. It felt good at this moment to go back, take a choir and do that,” he stated.

[RELATED: Eric Church’s Bar Pokes Fun at Morgan Wallen Incident; Duo’s “Man Made a Bar” Single Finds New Life]

Eric Church Didn’t Quite Capture Fans at Stagecoach, Puts Out Statement

Church continued, “For me, it’s always been something with records, with performances, I’ve always been the one that’s like, ‘Let’s do something really, really strange and weird and take a chance.’ Sometimes it doesn’t work, but it’s okay if you’re living on that edge, because that edge, that cutting edge, is where all the new guys are going to gravitate to anyway. So if you can always challenge yourself that way, it always cuts sharper than any other edge.”

Fans took to social media to openly criticize Eric Church for his performance. Some enjoyed the change from his usual fare, but others were not so enthusiastic.

“Closing the first day of Stagecoach gave [Eric Church] an opportunity to gain so many fans who had never probably seen him live. The thought process to do a gospel set at 10pm on a Friday night for 100,000 plus is just a thought process I can’t understand,” one person wrote on Twitter/X. In the comments, someone claimed, “That show was for his fans that have been with him the last 18 years. Not potential new ones.”

Reviews were generally mixed on social media. Other fans found the show “incredible” and “iconic,” while many felt he made a misstep. Some supporters of the show felt that those who were criticizing Church didn’t “enjoy good music.”

Another fan brought up an interesting theory, writing, “Honestly I think he knew 100% this would be the reaction but still did it. That was probably the best set based on talent alone just not right for the occasion, but maybe that was his intention. More ‘country’ fans watched jelly roll instead of REAL country.”

Featured Image by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Stagecoach

Leave a Reply

Watch Billy Joel Sing “Uptown Girl” to Ex-Wife Christie Brinkley More than 40 Years After He First Wrote It About Her