During last year's CMA Fest, Eric Church took the stage at Nissan Stadium in Nashville to deliver a 30-minute acoustic medley of his songs, holding the crowd of over 60,000 with only his voice and an acoustic guitar. On Wednesday, the Country Music Association shared Church's performance during its CMA Summer Stay-Cay event, airing the entire half-hour performance, which consisted of portions of some of Church's biggest hits.
The 17-song medley spanned songs from all six of Church's studio albums, with the Chief running through "Mistress Named Music," "Drink In My Hand," "Mr. Misunderstood," "Talladega," "Desperate Man," "Some Of It," "Smoke a Little Smoke," "Pledge Allegiance to the Hag," "Round Here Buzz," "Cold One," "Like a Wrecking Ball," "Homeboy," "Record Year," "Give Me Back My Hometown," "Sinners Like Me," "Creepin'" and "Springsteen." Church hardly stopped playing throughout the entire medley, pausing only once to take a sip of his drink.
"I started doing this myself sometime in the afternoon," the 43-year-old told his record label of how he came up with the idea, explaining that he was reflecting on his show at Nissan Stadium just weeks before CMA Fest, which he called the "best show" of his career. "I'm back three weeks later, and I’ve got to figure out how to do something that’s gonna be memorable again," he said. "That was the hardest thing earlier in the day. I started working on it – I could do this. I could do that. I thought about doing all covers. I thought about just changing it up completely."
"To go in and cover myself for those 17 songs, I thought, as it grew and as I kept going, it’d be a really neat thing," he recalled. "The fun thing for me was during the day was figuring out, 'How can I play for 30 minutes and not stop' – and that was my set time – '…can I pull all that off and then get back to 'Mistress [Named Music'] at the end?' So, I had a lot of fun just trying to figure that out. That was a challenge, and I love stuff like that." After debating about the idea, Church shared, "Finally I thought, 'I can do this. This is gonna be, it’s gonna be something. It’s gonna be ballsy.'"
After the decision was made, Church told his band that "the best thing" is that they leave, because he was worried he would change his mind if they didn't. "And then I told ‘em what I was doing, and they thought it was cool," he said. "I think that’ll be neat. So, they all grabbed their bags and got in their cars and they left. So, at that point in time, we’re about an hour before the show and the band’s gone. The bus is empty."