Lee's (WildIrishRose) Reviews

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Lee's (ME) Show Reviews:

Me and Eric Asheville, NC

Coyote Joe's Charlotte NC
Saturday April 14th, 2007
Show review by: Lee Haywood (WildIrishRose)

A "Church" Homecoming 

The storms that dropped tornadoes on Texas last week made their way into North Carolina over the weekend but the roaring thunder at Coyote Joe's Saturday night in Charlotte wasn’t happening outside. Eric Church hit the super stage around 11:00pm in front of a huge screaming crowd of "homefolk"! It was a homecoming for the Granite Falls, NC native as his family, friends, South Caldwell High class mates, fellow Appalachian State alumni, and new country music fans chanted his name. Eric pointed across the crowd and said "I watched Haggard in that spot right over there a long time ago." Now look at the 30-year-old singer/songwriter making the girls swoon and their boyfriends' envious.

I arrived at the venue with my husband, Jeremy about 8:00pm on Saturday night and even then, three hours before the show, the atmosphere was bubbling with excitement. Men and women sported "Sinners Like Me"(Eric's debut album) shirts and girls held onto homemade posters in hope of getting a message to their hero. We grabbed a beer and settled into the corner by the bar to people watch. A loud ruckus by the dance floor caught our attention as some App State students yelped and whooped at a daisy-duke wearing lady. Jeremy and I chuckled, "It's going to be a wild one tonight", I said. Time seemed to creep by but a great house band, "Out of the Blue", came on a couple times to rattle off country and rock hits and keep the crowd fired up.

      As 10:00pm rolled around I saw a couple people making a move toward the dance floor to get a spot at the front for Eric. That was all it took for me to realize that I was going to have to make fast. I sprinted up to the front taking my place beside them, then slowly, everyone else in the bar followed suit. For an hour that spot became my home among a see of ball caps and sweaty boys. Jeremy stayed against the back wall content with his beer and happy to know I was squeezed into my favorite place at any concert...the front row.

During the last song from the house band a drumstick came flying and bopped me in the hand which I was happy about and hung onto throughout the show. It came in handy a couple times to ward off the boys that got a little close. During the down time between bands as Eric's crew set up the stage I made quick friends with the people around me. It wasn't hard as the security guards made us sit down on top of one another until Eric came on. I met a lot of people from the NC Mountains and one nice couple from Ohio. Of all that I met that night I specifically remember one person, the guy to my left. All I know about him is that is name’s Chris, he’s from Morganton, NC, and he looked to be under 25. He was incredibly social with everyone around him after having quite a bit of alcohol so we chatted a while. The reason he sticks out so much in my mind is because the second that Eric stepped on stage tears rolled down his cheeks and never ceased until the show was over. He was one happy fellow. I think the beer, the atmosphere, and the songs just got to him. He was caught in the moment. Every few minutes I would turn to him and sing a few lines, throw up a high five, and say, "Hell yeah buddy!" Eric came over later in the show and gave him a fist bump. What a guy!?

Eric proceeded to sing every single song off of SLM and then added a couple new ones that will be on the next album. One of the new songs was called "Julia" and the other called one of the following, "She loves my Willie" or "She can’t get enough of my Willie" (Willie Nelson that is). Eric also played one of my favorite songs by The Band, "The Weight". "Black Betty" and "Ophelia" were in there too along with some Hank Williams and a few more covers.

The crowd was so into the music that the energy just rushed right through your body. I know Eric and the band was feeding on it. Everyone including myself sang each word and through out the night Eric would just look out at the sea of rowdy Church followers and shake his head in disbelief. It really was something to see. One on the "Aweeeeeeee" parts of the night came when Eric invited his sister up on stage to receive an autographed guitar from the whole band for her birthday. She gave Big ‘E’ a kiss and giggled all the way back to her seat smiling ear to ear. The highlight of the night for me came during an instrumental part of a song when the guitar player in front of me grabbed by camera and flipped it around to take my picture. Eric saw what was going on and slid right down on the floor to get in the shot too. WOW…SWOON. It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to think of where to put my hands or whether to smile or scream. I hope the picture came out well and I wasn’t making some goofy facial expression. I just grabbed onto Eric and a lady to my left and cheesed it.

After the show I waited in line until about 1:30pm to meet Eric again. He signed the set list that I bummed from a crew member and I handed him a business card with my website address on it. He saw that is said WildIrishRose and he asked if that was my handle on the EC forum. When I told him yes he smiled and said, "I go on the board!" I proceeded to explain that my new web site was a tribute to his music and told him to check it out. I walked down the steps glowing with excitement ready to get Jeremy and head home. What a night, What a show, What a Church homecoming!

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South Caldwell High School (HomeTown Show)
May 20th, 2007
By: Lee Haywood (WildIrishRose)

On Sunday morning my alarm clocked sounded at 5:30am. The day that the Church Choir had been waiting on was finally here, Eric Church’s hometown show. I was so excited that my heart raced and I paced back and forth looking for things that I needed to pack in the truck for the trip. “Homemade T-Shirt….Check!, Sign…Check!, Tickets…Check!, Camera…Check!, Money…Check!, I mumbled to myself while scurrying around the house. My husband was still snoring in the bedroom while I was loading up coolers and going over my checklist. I gave him a goodbye kiss and headed out the door and off to Charlotte to pick up my best friend and fellow EC fan, Jen. About 7:30am and we hit hwy 321 towards Hickory. Eric was playing in the truck while we discussed the day’s events and wondered about what we were in for.
We decided to stop for breakfast at a little town along the way which put us a behind schedule but Nicole (Moe!) called me and said there were not that many people in line yet. That phone call put my mind at ease and I decided to slow down a bit so not to get a speeding ticket. Jen and I started to see signs for Hudson and I could feel myself getting anxious. As I drove past the “Welcome to Granite Falls” sign I wondered about how Eric felt looking at it through the window of a tour bus. That had to be a cool moment for him. A few more miles up the road I spotted the South Caldwell High School sign and we made a left at the light. The school is set back in the woods just like my old High school and we passed a few pastures and horses on the way in. We pulled into the parking lot and saw about ten cars and a few people already setting up to tailgate. I parked the truck and we grabbed up all our things and headed for the line. It was around 9:45am and there were 7 others gathered in line talking. I spotted Nicole (Moe) who I had actually met the night before at the All-Star Race in Charlotte for the first time and said hello then I introduced myself to everyone else that was standing around. It was so great to put screennames with names and names with faces.
I wont go into details about what all took place between 9:45am and 2pm (when gates opened) because mostly I would be discussing the HOT SUN and my skin. Haha! Seriously ….During that time in line we talked to other choir members, bugged Kim about telling us what was going to happen with the donations, signed an Eric Church banner at the radio station table, threw football with Kim’s little boy, took pictures of each other and the school grounds, slept, watched Eric arrive and ride around in a tricked out golf cart, took pictures through the fence of the sound check, drank water, and talked about the wrist bands that never came.
Finally at 2pm we got to go through the gate. They let us in twenty at a time and of course the choir started running to the best spots. Boy that was a long run…*Whew*… but we all managed to get the places that we wanted! Jen and I were stage left on the front row and Moe, Aaron with (TN crew) and some others were stage right. A few of the Choir went for the chairs because it was a long time to stand up next to the stage which was wrapped in black felt for some reason….Lord it was hot stuff! No shade either but we didn’t seem to care. The Harris Brothers finally came on around 4pm and I really enjoyed them. I know that the choir to my right recognized that I was enjoying myself during their set because they were all laughing at me while I sang every word to the cover song, “Cripple Creek” (aka: One of my favorite songs by “THE BAND”). I will have to admit I was dancing a bit too which I know was scary for some people and I would like to apologize for….lol! CMT and GAC’s cameramen were walking around on stage and in the crowd snapping pictures. It’s not possible for the Choir NOT to be in those shots so we need to keep an eye out for that footage.
Finally the countdown to Eric began and the entire stadium seemed to rumble. Everyone started moving close together and then all of a sudden the intro music started and out stepped the EC band follow by Eric who held his hands up to the crowd of over 4,000 screaming home folk! WOW what a moment for him!

The set list was as follows:
Two pink lines
What I almost was
Can't take it with you
These Boots
Willie(She can’t leave my Willie alone)(New)
Sunday/Sinners Like Me
Livin part of life (requested by yours truly)
Rolling Stone
Make it look so easy (New)
Julia (New)
Guys Like Me
My heart has a memory (New)
How Bout You
Before She Does
Those I've loved along the way (New)(Going to be First Single on New album)

Memorable moments from the show:

Eric acknowledged his choir quite a bit during the afternoon. He high-fived Aaron and pointed to the Memphis Crowd during different parts of the songs. Moe got a few eyeballs and comments from the man because of the signs she kept making with her sharpe and computer paper. One was so cute because it had Larry, Curly, and MOE (with an arrow pointing down to her head) written on it!

I made a poster that said:

“Homemade T-shirt=$12.00
Two tanks of gas for my Chevy=$130.00
Field Tickets for EC Show=$50.00
Being a proud member of the “Church Choir”…PRICELESS.”

I held it up after a song and Eric looked down and read it then he said, “I like that and in just a minute I’m going to read it to everyone here.” Then he said, “Go ahead an give it to me, I’ll do it now.” Then Big “E” proceeded to read my sign to the whole stadium…*swoon*. He got to the the part about the Chevy and he looked down at me and said “Oh yeah!” When he got finished he handed it back to me and asked “What do you want to hear?” I collected myself and calmly requested “Livin’ Part of Life!” and he said “well it’s coming up for you after this one.” OhMyGoodness how cool!
Another highlight of the show was Kim coming up on stage to present Eric with a giant Check from the Church Choir! It absolutely left him speechless. He even said ,“I don’t know what to say…I love you guys…Wow.” We ended up giving $735.00 donated to the school in Eric’s name, which is awesome. Eric hugged Kim and presented her with a guitar that he signed for her right on stage! Does it get any better than that ya’ll?! What a guy. It made my heart feel all warm and fuzzy.
During the encore Eric came back on stage wearing a Spartan football jersey and the crowd went absolutely wild! It was number 26 and burgundy in color. The SCHS students especially let out a huge roar.
After the show I asked Ed for a set list which he gladly handed over and then we headed over to the M&G line which was seriously over a football field long! I saw the choir gathered near the bus so Jen and I grouped up along with them. Aaron and gang had already been told that Eric was going to come out and see them really quickly before going to sign autographs because they had to drive back to Memphis. The rest of us waited around with them. Eric came out and posed for a CHURCH CHOIR picture. The coolest thing was hearing Mark say “Church Choir” members only…everyone else needs to go get in the M&G line. Eric talked to us all a bit and posed for pics and signed everything we wanted. Moe even got a KISS on the Cheek from the man! Whoa Moe!
I got Eric to sign my double cd that I bought off Ebay, the one with the “How Bout You” video dvd with it. Eric asked me were I got it…he said, “This is really cool isn’t it?” I got my pic snapped with Big E and then I went to talk to the rest of the band. Driver had his hair gelled up in a short Mohawk which suited his Rock style. I told him he was a Country Rock Star and he got a kick out of that. I talked to Jeff a while about his Remington Hat. I asked if he shoots a Remignton. He said, “Yeah that’s what I grew up with.” I told him about the skeet field that I run on the weekends and that I shoots one as well. We talked to Ed a bit too and then when Eric left to go to the M&G line Jen and I decided it was about time to head back home. I looked back at the stadium as we walked to the truck and the sun was setting over the grandstand…what a day.
We invited Nicole and her mom out to dinner with us and then headed to Outback in Hickory to eat. The hostess asked if we had been to see Eric? We said yes and she told us about how she couldn’t get off work for it. She had graduated from SCHS and knows the girl that Two Pink Lines is about….she was pretty cool to talk to. I also met another lady in line earlier that morning that said she graduated with Eric and that he used to sing in the cafeteria all the time. I thought that was some cool info.
Well that’s all for now folks….I seem to have written a book for you. I hope you feel like you were there even if you couldn’t make this one. Until the next prayer meeting…cheers!

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Show Review:

Roanoke, VA (Free Show)

Sponsored by 94.9 Star Country and 202 Market Café.

Thursday July 19th 2007

By: Lee Haywood (wildirishrose)

The Perfect Show

"Got Church?"

You know that you’ve been to an unbelievable concert when every thought you have for days is filled with re-runs and memories of that show. Last night’s Roanoke, Virginia concert in the Market Square was one of those performances! I may even go as far as to say it was the "perfect show"…for me that is. I know that we all have had shinning ECB moments and each of us have our favorite memories… but… for me …this was the one…the one night I am going to remember for a very…long… time. All I can say is…"got Church?"…I did…last night.

I woke up at 5:30am on Thursday morning, packed up the Chevy, and headed North to Virginia. When I got to Greensboro, NC I could finally pick up the local Roanoke, VA radio station that was sponsoring and promoting the show. The DJ seemed excited and about every two songs she would put in a plug for the concert…mentioning over and over that it was FREE! The drive was 3 ˝ hours and relatively painless. I called the radio station from the truck and they played Eric for me to pass the time. I arrived in Roanoke, parked in the deck across from the hotel, and headed over to check into the Hotel Roanoke (which I highly suggest…it’s BEAUTIFUL). It was almost 10:00am and they had a room ready so I lugged everything upstairs and then called Jennifer, a fellow Choir member who was staying there as well. Jennifer and her mom, Jan were in downtown site seeing and later on I headed down to do the same and ran into them in the lobby of the hotel. We hugged and laughed, it was the first time we had met in person but we all hit it off immediately! I mean…we are EC fans…that’s all we needed to know about each other! Jen and her mother decided to walk with me down to the Square to scope out the stage and grab some lunch. They also added me onto their reservations at 202 Market café, the restaurant that was sponsoring the after party at the other end of the square. 202 Market is a 5 star restaurant and piano bar with a dress code. They said NO holes in jeans, no hats, and nice casual dress. Let’s get real here…everyone at the show was invited to the after party…do you really think that all those crazy country music fans are going to care about a dress code?! Ha! After that we were strolling around downtown and decided to get some pictures taken in front of Crossin Dixon’s tour bus just for fun.(We didn’t know it was theirs at the time) While we were posing and fumbling with cameras a couple guys come running across the busy street. One said "That will be 25 dollars girls." We all laughed and I said "Hey I know you guys" you’re Crossin Dixon…Guitar slinger" right?! They said, "Hey they’ve heard of us!" We chit chatted a bit and we told them that we were In the Church Choir. Their producer said "oh are you guys singing tonight too?" hahahahahaha…we cracked up because he was totally serious! We laughed it off and explained. One of the guys made a joke about wanting to give Jen a tour of the bus later…haha wink wink. We got pictures taken and said "cya at the show in a bit". We then headed back the hotel to shower and rest before walking back down to the square..

Finally after pacing around the room, halls, and lobby for a couple hours it was time to get up with Jen and Jan and walk over to the market. We were still pretty early so we decided to grab an appetizer at a tavern across the street. We were all so excited it was hard to sit still and eat. I hate pre-concert jitters! You know what I am talking about…when you have ants in your pants and can hardly sit for longer that two seconds because of excitement. Well that was us! After we grabbed a bite to eat we headed over to the square and sat on the curb. We ran into Ed and asked him about the meet and greet afterwards. We took a seat on the curb and one of the singers from Crossin Dixon, Jason came over again to talk …he asked if we were coming to the after party. We said "Of Course!" He said "Cool I want to hang with you guys!" We chatted some more and then Eric showed up with Katherine to get ready for sound check. Driver came over and delivered some hugz and chatted with us…then ECB boys took the stage minus Eric to get their guitars all tuned up. We snapped pictures and then Eric came on and sang a little bit of "Julia" and "I ain’t got his money but he don’t have my love"(don’t know if that’s the title or not). In between songs he looked over at me and said "I love the hat!" I said "good cause I’ve got you one" he smiled and strummed his guitar. Then he pointed at me and said "Lee….right?" ….*swoon…I said, "That’s me" he said "where are you from again? "North Carolina", I said and he laughed "Oh man…I knew that" then he asked about the drive up and how long it took and I asked about the Money song…he told me the title but I forget exactly what it was. Then he looked at Jen and said "Clemson Right?" She said "yup" and then pulled out her camo Clemson hat from the first EC show that she had been to and Eric signed it. We snapped more photos and took some video too! After EC’s sound check Crossin Dixon had theirs and Jen and I seemed to be the only people standing around to hear it. Then Ed and Jeff came over to talk with us. As we were chit chatting a lady from the radio station came up and handed us all flyers and she said "listen in the morning for Rascal Flatts and you can win $100 bucks!" In unison we all rolled our eyes and made some negative RF’s comment. Ed tried to give his back but the lady walked off so as soon as she turned her back he pretended to stretch and "accidentally" dropped his flyer on the ground. It was so funny…and smooth. We all laughed and Jen picked it up so we wouldn’t be littering. Within the next couple hours lots of people began to show up in the Market Square. We went ahead and claimed our spot on the front row along with a cute eleven year old girl who seemed to be as excited as we were. Crossin Dixon came on at 6:30pm and blew us away. They are so very good live guys! The cd is coming out end of Aug/September sometime and you will love it! They are gonna be HUGE!

Then after much anticipation and a very long wait Eric and the boys came on as the clouds darkened in the Virginia sky. They cranked it up and the crowd went crazy. The printed set list was:

Before She Does

2 Pink Lines

Can’t take is with you

What I almost was

These boots



Leave my Willie alone

Sunday/Sinners Like me

Livin Part of Life

The Hard way

Guys Like Me

I ain’t got his money but he don’t have my love

How Bout You (which turned into about 10 songs in one)

"My Heart…" was printed on the bottom of the set list but they played The Shape I’m In instead.

Eric had the lyrics to a new song printed beside his micstand…I took a photo of it but he never played it. You can check out the lyrics by zooming in on that photo in my album.

Highlights of the show for me were that Ed grabbed my "got Church?" hat and put it on top of his Jack Daniel’s hat during the show. Then I held up my "Beware of the Church Choir" sign…Eric cracked up and said "I love it!" Ed stold it a little later and hooked it on one of the loud speakers so the crowd could see it…it stayed there the rest of the show. At the end of the night Eric handed his pic to the little girl that was standing between us up front ….she was allllll smiles!

Everyone at the show had been invited to the 202 Market Restaurant for the after party but I really didn’t know how they were going to fit all those people in. The line stretched for blocks but we walked right up to the front and got in because we had reservations…good call JEN! The second that we stepped inside the rain starting pouring outside. I was so thankful that we had made it in! Crossin Dixon was getting ready to play when we walked in and Jason(CD singer) said "I’m coming to find ya’ll when we’re finished!" We listened to them a while and I ordered a beer because I was dying of thirst after a whole day of waiting around outside. We ate as quick as we could and Eric showed up with the rest of the boys to hang out. We jumped up and went over to the M&G line. It didn’t take long at all and while we were standing there Jason came up and invited up on their tour bus to watch their video for "guitar slinger" because Jen hadn’t heard the song yet. We told him that would be cool but that it may be a little later on. Then there we were at the front of the M&G line. Jen went first and got her pic with Eric…they talked a bit and he remembered her from the Clemson show. Then Eric said "Katherine this is Lee". I told her I had met her quickly at the SCHS show and I appreciate all she did. She was working hard last night getting everyone in order and snapping pictures for fans. She is such a sweetie. I pulled out a the black and white 8X10 pic that I took at the SCHS show of Eric on his knees(the one on the background of my site). He said "WOW…look at that…that is awesome…that is the coolest picture…Where were you standing at to get that kind of shot? I explained. Then he grabbed someone else and pulled them over to have a look. I told him that I had made him a smaller copy in with a card and gave that and his "got Church?" hat to Katherine. Then he said "thanks so much!" let’s do a picture. Then he grabbed my hat off my head and put it on backwards and he put his hat on me and we took another one!!! Woooohooo! Katherine said , "He hardly ever does that!" and she laughed! Then he opened up his arms and said "Hug" which I did gladly!!! Right on! And I thanked him and Katherine and headed back to the bar. I had to have another beer because the night was going so well. Driver showed up and said "let’s do a shot!" but Jen’s mom came over from our table in the back and said that the chef had sent out something special for us. It was some kind of lobster ball thing…pretty yummy. We thought it was rude not to go back to the table and eat it really quick so we told Driver to wait and we went over and gobbled it up really fast! Then back to the bar where shots were waiting. We turned it up as Jason snapped a picture. Of course some girl walked right in the way and completely covered up my face…haha my luck! We took lots of pictures with Jason and Driver and then with Lee who was hanging around as well. Jason said…"ready to see the bus?" we were kind of torn because Jen had her mom and we didn’t want her to feel left out but I mean it’s not like you get to do that everyday. So we explained that to Jason and he said "No problem…let me talk to her" he went over and convinced Jan to let us go and hang for jut a little bit and finally she said just go and said she didn’t mind waiting by herself. THANKS JAN! We went back over to the bar and Jason asked if we had ever had a "buttery nipple"? We said no so I bought us three and we downed them. Yummmmmy. Then we headed out to the buses. Jason said "I am not responsible for what might be going on on here when I open the door… just letting you know!" We headed on where the rest of the boys in Crossin Dixon were having a large time with a few girls and much alcohol. We walked through to the back of the bus where the TV was and Jason gave us a guided tour as we went. "Here’s the bar, here’s my bunk, etc". We sat down in the back with him and his producer and watched the video for "guitar slinger"…he told us about shooting it all in one day and some other things that were prety cool then the other guy(I forget his name at the moment) told us that he produced/managed(whatever) Jason Aldin and we watched this video he had of them making the "Hicktown" video. Jason poured another round of shots and we downed them then headed back to the bar to meet up with Jan who had gone outside and sat on a bench. She was talking to this guy named Smiley who had kept her company during the time we were gone. Jason plopped down in between them and started sweet talking Jen’s mom…hahaha he was so funny! We all went back inside the bar except Jan and we sat around for a little bit longer and talked with the guys before they had to hit the road. Then we thanked everyone said our goodbyes and floated back to the hotel on a cloud! Hahaha

It was the best night! Awesome awesome awesome! This morning I had an aweful hangover but I was over it by 9 and got ready to head home. Jen, Jan, and I said our goodbyes and I drove south. Wow….the perfect show!

"I come from a long line of Sinners like me"-EC