‘Strange’ but wonderful: Eric Church fills up at Rogers Arena

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

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Rogers Arena


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Friday, October 29, 2021

Eric Church’s Gather Again tour arrived at Rogers Arena on Friday night for Halloween weekend.

Conditions couldn’t have been better for the country singer, who was playing the first sold-out show at the venue in more than a year and 245 days.

Behind the ticket agent at the will call was a notice board listing the night’s potential obstacles in a bold green marker: first concert, long lines, vaccine passes and ID checks, etc.

The lineups were long. But they moved quickly.

Vax ID and pass checks were cursory and quick.

Customers had much longer waits to load up the maximum beer allowed or to snag a T-shirt from the Eric F-ing Church tour. It took a long time for everyone to come in and start the show.

As for the whole masks / no masks topic, a Nanaimo maskless woman holding her empty cup like a treasure summed up what seemed to be the dominant attitude in the audience: “I’m soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”


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That said, many also looked in awe at the largest bubble they had been in for nearly two years and proclaimed, “This is so strange.”


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

However, when the lights went out at 9pm, the crowd roared. It has been a long time.

Taking to the stage with his acoustics, Church led the room in a medley of classics ranging from Van Morrison’s Stone Me to The Temptations’ My Girl, Beatles tunes and Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Turns out that was just a warm-up to get the audience ready for the rest of the night. They sang the lyrics to their hit Some Of It, the fan favorite, Drink In My Hand and many more.


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

It was also a brilliant rhythm one.

The seven-member backing band played hard on Heart On Fire, raged on the excellent Stick That in Your Country Song, and scored a sneaky boogie on Hell of a View that showcases the classic southern rock format of three guitars in a way. that Skynyrd would approve.

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

Church and Co. delivered a marathon set of feel-good tunes to a hungry airstrike throwing crowd. It felt really good to be back at a great show again.

We are hopeful that BC will follow Ontario’s lead and we will dance in the clubs and standing rooms as soon as possible.

There would surely be some downsides to the first trial of the recently relaxed provincial health orders around public gatherings, but this worked.

Save yourself trying to get out of a sold-out show. That is still a total pain, pandemic or not.

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