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Eric Church makes a surprise appearance during night two of Morgan Wallen’s three Nashville arena shows

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ACM

Morgan Wallen played the second night of a three-night stand at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night, and he brought a special guest: Eric Church.

“If you’re a fan of me, you know how big of a fan I am of this man right here,” Morgan told the crowd as Eric joined him onstage. The pair performed “Quittin’ Time,” a song off Morgan’s Dangerous double album, which Eric co-wrote. They also duetted on “Smoke a Little Smoke,” a 2010 single off Eric’s Carolina album.

The Chief was the latest in a string of surprise guests Morgan enlisted for his Nashville shows. His first Bridgestone show featured Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn, Jimmie Allen and his “Flower Shops” duet partner, Ernest.

The Nashville shows put an exclamation mark on the comeback Morgan’s been mounting over the past several months. For much of 2021, he stayed out of the spotlight after doorcam video footage emerged of him yelling the N-word as he said goodnight to a car full of friends at the end of a night out.

He was swiftly benched by the industry, removed from radio airplay and disqualified from awards shows. But his fan base remained fervent as ever, and Dangerous — which came out just weeks before his racist slur scandal — closed out the year as one of the top-selling albums of 2021.

While many of Morgan’s artist peers denounced his actions, others expressed their support. Jimmie, a night-one Bridgestone guest, counseled forgiveness soon after Morgan’s scandal broke, and reached out to him in the days afterward. Eric condemned Morgan’s words as “indefensible,” but remained empathetic towards him, and the two kept in touch.

In fact, Morgan’s included on the bill of a one-night Minneapolis stadium show Eric is planning for this June.

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