Caught In the Act: Live by Eric Church

Never been a huge fan of the so-called “live” album, as most fail to provide any pure visceral experience and often seem a bit contrived. That said, Caught in the Act does give you a clear idea of what it might be like to actually attend an Eric Church concert in person.

The 17-track project, recorded from Eric’s show at the Tivoli Theatre in Chattanooga, Tenn., captures the natural ebbs and flows of his live set.

The opening number, “Before She Does,” gets things off to a rousing start and segues nicely into “How ’Bout You” and his sing-along anthem, “Drink In My Hand,” which gets plenty of inebriated (we’re guessing) assistance from the crowd.

The entire recording, in fact, demonstrates Eric’s skill at pacing a live performance, taking things down a notch at just the right moments. The sound reproduction is also of a higher quality than most of its ilk, as individual instruments stand out and don’t get lost in the mix.

What’s missing, of course, is the visual element, which is especially notable here. At moments, you can hear fans reacting to something that’s obviously happening onstage but it’s lost on the listener.

Outside of that, Eric’s hits like “Creepin’” and “Smoke a Little Smoke” stand out as audience favorites. He wraps it all with “Springsteen,” throwing in a slower, stripped-down version of The Boss’ “Born to Run” as a cool bonus. 

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Other performers include Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin and Jason Isbell.