Let's just say the country megastar got off to a rocky start during his college performing days.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
March 03, 2021

As all Eric Church fans know, The Chief can play a heck of a live show. So it should come as no surprise that he managed to knock the audience's socks off even before he became a household name in country music.

In a recently resurfaced 2017 interview with Canada's FACES magazine, Church recalled playing his first public performances while in college at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. "I played my first gig at a place called Woodlands Barbeque that was in Blowing Rock, [North Carolina]. I was in a was just three of us and only two of us played instruments," he shared, also admitting that he was nervous the first time he played in front of an audience. "I went down to the place to get the gig by myself, and I remember giving them our CD that had two songs on it, and playing them for the woman who owned the bar."

Eric Church Performs Live in Atlantic City - July 30, 2006
Credit: Nick Valinote/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The bar's owner told Church "Great, you start next Monday!" and the rest was country music history, and, well, a little humorous too considering the rest of the story: Church and his band arrived that next Monday night at 6 p.m. and performed around 12 songs. "What I had thought was that we would play 12, take a break, and everybody would leave— and then I would be able to play those same 12 songs to a different group of people. But nobody left," he said with a laugh. "So the real terror was getting back up there for the second set and only knowing those 12 songs. That was a pretty fearful moment."

Thanks to some quick thinking, Church "made a deal" with the audience to leave any song requests for him on a sheet of paper so that he could learn all of them for the next week's performance. We'd be willing to bet that Church made certain he knew all of those tunes cold for the following week's gig. Quite the story, huh?

You can read the full interview here.

What we would have given to be at these early Church performances. Any readers out there lucky enough to have seen him during one of his college era gigs?