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5/8/24 residency show

Ups and Downs

A brief recap of what we learned on Wednesday night at Chief’s on Broadway:

Mary means business.

The Church Choir loves their bricks.

Moms have all the answers even when you are stuck in an elevator.

Even being stuck in an elevator is not that bad if it ends with you hanging out in Eric Church’s green room.
Wednesday was the eighth night of Church’s “To Beat the Devil” residency at Chief’s. There were thunderstorms rolling through Nashville, and perhaps that accounts for the series of weirdness that unfolded on the six floors of Chief’s.

Not during the show. In fact, the show itself might have been one of the very best of the eight so far. “Damn,” Church said after a particularly rousing rendition of one of the crowd’s favorites. “I broke a sweat.”

In that way, this was one of the most tour-like of the residency shows. Drinks were flowing (and sometimes spilled). The crowd was appropriately rowdy but also appreciative. Woos were shouted, tears were shed, hands were clapped. You know, the usual.

One of the lucky 389 who scored a ticket for the night was Brande from Lincoln, Illinois. She was wearing a t-shirt she’d made herself that featured her brick ID number from the brick digitally deeded to each Church Choir member. On the back, the shirt read simply: “Church Choir/Army of Friday Night Soldiers.”

“Eric is a guy that it feels like you could hang out with at the local hole in the wall,” Brande said. And in many ways, that’s what Wednesday night felt like—some friends hanging out with Church while he told some stories and played some songs.

Many of them have been following him for two decades. That includes Mary from Massachusetts, who was attending her 79th Church show, in locations that range from Maine to Washington state.
The first came in 2006. “I saw him,” she says, “when he was opening for Stupid.”

In other words, Rascal Flatts.

That part of Church’s journey was chronicled during the residency show. It was around that time that Brandie and Aaron were encountering some difficulties with a Chief’s elevator. The two lifelong friends were making their way from the sixth floor to the second floor, switching up the vibe from rooftop to dueling pianos. It was Brandie’s 27th birthday.

“We don’t usually go out on a Wednesday night,” she said, almost apologetically, as if anyone in the history of Chief’s on Broadway would pass judgement on someone for going out on a Wednesday.

But this particular Wednesday was different. When the elevator stopped moving, it was a little funny at first.

“Well,” Aaron thought, “that’s never happened before.”

“Luckily,” Brandie said, “we’re pretty laid back.”

So as the minutes passed, she called some friends. She tweeted. The duo sat on the floor of the elevator.
“Finally,” she said, “I called my mom, because she’s my go-to.”

With Mother’s Day just a few days away, it should come as no surprise that Brandie’s mom had very sound advice for someone trapped in an elevator:

Call 911.

Conserve your phone battery.

Stop tweeting.

Around the time Church was finishing his show, Brandie and Aaron were just being sprung from the elevator. The building’s namesake immediately knew what to do.

“I want to meet them,” he said.

The venue had already bought them some drinks for their trouble, but now they were walking into Chief’s Den, the private area where Church spends his time before and after each residency show. This is where the Whiskey JYPSI flows freely. This is where the walls are covered with sports and music posters from Church’s childhood, everything from the Charlotte Hornets to UNC to Hank Williams Jr.

And this is where, on Wednesday, Brandie and Aaron found themselves walking up to Eric Church, who promptly introduced himself with, “Hi, I’m Eric.”

They talked about the night’s events, both on stage and on elevator. “He was really cool,” Brandie said, “and really normal.”

All in all, a pretty good 27th birthday: watched a basketball game, got free drinks, met Eric Church. And the night was still young, as Brandie and Aaron headed out into the Nashville night.

“I think,” she said, “we’re going to take the stairs.”