Eric Church is letting it all out. During a recent interview with Audacy’s Rob+Holly, the country star opened up about his decision to cancel his April 2 concert at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. A North Carolina native, Church is fiercely devoted to the North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team, and when the team made it to the NCAA Men’s Final Four in a matchup against rival Duke, Church nixed his concert in order to attend.
The Tar Heels ended up victorious over Duke, with a score of 81-77.
“We beat Duke, the big thing was the Duke game, for me. I hate to say this — I did care — but to me, the championship was against Duke, because of the rivalry, because they’ve never met in the tournament, and it’s Coach K’s final game,” Church said during the interview. “All those things were a perfect storm that I never would have conceptualized would have happened. It hadn’t happened in my life, it hadn’t happened in my dad’s life. It was just one of those really unique, once-in-a-lifetime things. I know it was kind of a wild week or two, maybe for me, but it was just something that I had to be there. I had to take my boys — I have boys that are 10 and 7 — and my dad is still alive, he’s 70. I had to be at that game. There was no way that I wasn’t being there. I’m very glad we went.
“I can recreate San Antonio. I can’t recreate Duke and Carolina in the Final Four,” he added.
The cancellation sparked backlash from fans, and Church ultimately announced a free show for those holding tickets to the San Antonio show. That new concert is set for Sept. 2 at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels, Texas.
Church said he knew the commotion around his decision was reaching a fever pitch when he saw it reported on ESPN.
“I’ve never been on social media. I’ve never tweeted. I don’t know how to tweet. I don’t get on Instagram,” he said. “Nobody gives me codes for any of this stuff, so I have no way to get on any of this. This time was a little different for me. I love to listen to sports radio, sports talk, especially during this time of year, when it’s Final Four time. I thought it might be getting a little noisy when I was watching ESPN Sports Center, and I was leading on the Sports Center thing. I thought, ‘Wow, that’s new.’ That’s when I thought it’s getting a little bit out of control.
“But I’ve always trusted our fans. We’ve been through a lot together … 17 years now and I trusted they would understand. That’s the reason I just came clean and said the truth. I could have said COVID, I could have said laryngitis. There’s a 100 things, but I decided just to say, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ I knew they would get that. I knew the people in San Antonio were going to get disappointed. I hated that and I knew there was no real way around that. But I also knew I could fix part of that. I could fix my part of that. It’s our show, I can do that and I can make that special for them.”
He also acknowledged the last-minute cancellation, explaining the logistics that went into the decision.
“I did feel bad that it was so late. A lot of people were upset that it was so last minute, but what I wanted people to understand was, I wasn’t missing a show for anything other than a Carolina-Duke Final Four game. If it was Carolina and somebody else, I was going to do the show. They both had to win on a Sunday, and the show was the following Saturday. So I didn’t know this was even a possibility until about six days before the show. There is no way to plan that out.”
Church’s next show is April 29 at Extramile Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Listen to him talk about the cancellation below: