Eric Church brought his Outsiders World Tour to the Mohegan Sun Arena last night. The show which featured Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam as opening acts offered a fun night of great country music.
Brandy Clark opened the show with four of her most well known songs, including “Stripes.” However, it wasn’t until she performed Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” both songs she co-wrote, that the crowd really got engaged. As an opener Clark showed solid stage presence and strong vocals and definitely gained fans.
Dwight Yoakam was next to hit the stage. At 58 years of age, Yoakam definitely had some years on most of the audience. He didn’t let that stop him though, as he performed for just under an hour. His seamless transitions from song to song were truly impressive. Despite not having only released one album in the past decade there was no shortage of hits. Songs such as “Honky Tonk Man,” “I Sang Dixie,” and “Fast as You” were among the highlights of his performance. The younger members of the audience may not have been familiar with much of Yoakam’s music, but everyone could respect his ability as a performer.
Both Dwight Yoakam’s and Brandy Clark’s performances were strong, but during the final intermission it quickly became clear just how excited Mohegan Sun was for Eric Church. As Church noted during his set this was his third trip to the venue.¹ His set opened with “The Outsiders” complete with his drummer descending from above, a highly impressive light show, and an appearance from Joanna Cotten. From there it was two action packed hours of Church’s best songs. Making a point to move about the expansive stage to keep every member of the audience engaged, Church had the arena rocking from start to finish.
Highlights of the show included the nostalgic “Talladega” that had much of the venue singing along. Here Church took a break from his usual energy and quieted things down to ensure all his energy went into the song, an effort that paid off. The most talked about moment of the show likely didn’t come from the music at all. It was a giant 60 foot inflatable devil equipped with a Nashville belt buckle that stole show. The inflatable devil appeared during the prelude to “Devil, Devil” and remained inflated throughout the song. Placed towards the rear of the arena, much of the crowd turned to take photos in one of the few moments Church didn’t have everyone’s full attention. However, as with every Eric Church show, it was “Springsteen” that highlighted the night. He took a moment before the song to test the pulse of the crowd asking each section to belt out the signature “woah’s” as loud as possible. Once satisfied, Church began the timeless song only to stop once more to speak about the song’s significance and ensure the near capacity crowd it was a night that would not be forgotten. As the song came to a close Church exited the stage some four hours after Brandy Clark took it and the night was over.
Overall, it was a great night of country music. Brandy Clark and Dwight Yoakam’s strong vocal performances perfectly balanced out Eric Church’s high energy live show. The lack of video screens took nothing away from the performance, while the impressive light show made the night that much better. If you have the opportunity it’s definitely a tour you won’t want to miss.
¹ Church first played at the Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in 2007 and returned to headline Mohegan Sun’s Arena on his Blood Sweat & Beers Tour in 2012.