Have you ever gotten chills from listening to an album? Me neither, well, not until I listened to Eric Church's latest, his first live album Caught In The Act which was released last Tuesday April 9th. The album was recorded over two nights last October at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga,TN.
Truthfully, there is nothing like a live show from Eric Church and his band (trust me I have been to many). They are electrifying....and even that adjective does not do the show justice. Its been said that a good concert is like a religious experience and ECB delivers---every time. So while I was excited about the live album, I was also nervous because a lot of times live albums do not truly reflect the genuine article.
Well, after the opening chants of "Eric, Eric" my unease was put to rest. The guitars opening "Before She Does" take you there. You can imagine being in that theater or the big arenas he plays now and feel it--the energy comes through your speakers. You know that Eric and the band are "emptying the tank" as he likes to say. It is infectious and the music takes you over. He tells you he will give everything he has and asks you to do the same and you know what....I want to give it back even though I'm listening to a record!
The sound on the record is crystal clear. The chants and the screaming and singing of the fans do not overpower the vocals or instrumentation. You can hear Driver and Jeff shredding as good as any member of Metallica could & Craig pounding on the drums. Other member of his awesome band include Lee on bass and multi-instrumentalist Jeff Hyde.
The album also give you a little look at how Eric interacts with the crowd, whether it be telling a little bit about "Hag" or encouraging everyone to sing along on Sinners. One thing a cd cannot do though is let you see how he truly interacts with the crowd, but after hearing this record, I'm sure you'll go to a show for that!
Eric Church wrote or co-wrote every song on the album. He can maneuver from country rock one minute on numbers like "Drink In My Hand" or "How 'Bout You" to a softer side on "Hungover and Hard Up" and "Over When Its Over" (the beautifully sad song where he is accompanied by Joanna Cotten). "Sinners Like Me" done acoustically, showcases how strong Eric is when left to just himself and the guitar...both as a singer and a player. The album ends with 2012 's biggest single "Springsteen" with Eric asking the crowd to "indulge him for a moment" as he remembered his first amphitheater show when he was 16yo. The song is stretched to 9minutes, but ends too soon. You'll be hitting replay though. But for me, the real standout tracks which remind me of why I go back again and again are "Lotta Boot Left to Fill", "Keep On" "Pledge Allegiance to The Hag" and "Smoke A Little Smoke". If you don't hear this record and join this church....well then Ill pray for ya.