Music

Morgan Wallen and Cam Join Eric Church Onstage (Separately) in Philly

Eric Church performed a pair of solo concerts this weekend in Pennsylvania after members of his band tested positive for Covid-19. The country singer Cam joined him onstage in Pittsburgh on Friday night and surprised fans again on Saturday in Philadelphia.

Morgan Wallen was a special guest at Church’s Philly show too.

Earlier this year, Wallen faced an industry reckoning after a video of him using a racial slur was made public, while Cam has been outspoken about country music’s race problem since before Wallen’s scandal. That the two artists appeared as Church’s special guests at the same show — though not onstage at the same time — made the Philly concert a microcosm of a country music confused about its identity in 2021.

In fan-filmed videos from Saturday, Cam performed five songs with Church, beginning with a star turn on her own breakout hit “Burning House.” From there, she stepped in for Church’s longtime vocalist Joanna Cotten, adding supple harmonies to Heart & Soul tracks like “Heart on Fire” and “Jenny” and the Desperate Man standouts “Hippie Radio” and “Drowning Man.”

Just two songs after Cam’s exit, Church, accompanied by piano, started into Wallen’s new radio single “Sand in My Boots.” “Welp, I’ve never done this, let’s try it,” he said, before singing the first verse alone. Wallen crept onstage after the chorus, eventually emerging into full view to clasp hands with Church and send the crowd into a frenzy.

“This is a dream come true for me,” Wallen said onstage later, before singing “Quittin’ Time,” a song that Church co-wrote for Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album. “I moved to Nashville six years ago and I was a landscaper seven years ago…. My very first concert I ever went to in my life was an Eric Church concert.”

The pair also performed Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses,” along with Church’s “Record Year” and “Homeboy,” a cautionary tale about a country boy who embarks on a dangerous path in the city.

Church has been a quiet supporter of Wallen since the polarizing singer began his comeback in Nashville following months of being ostracized. Wallen has posted photos of them golfing and fishing together, and the pair performed last month at the VIP opening of a new restaurant in Nashville. The Philadelphia performance, a stop on Church’s Gather Again Tour, was Church’s most overt showing yet that he’s in Wallen’s corner.

While Wallen and Cam may not top anyone’s guess of country singers to appear on the same bill, they do have one thing in common: their fandom for Church.

“What an honor to be next to my hero, singing from the heart,” Cam tweeted on Saturday afternoon with photos of her with Church from the evening prior.

Onstage in Philly, Wallen pointed at his mentor. “This is the best fucking country music singer to ever live,” he said.

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