Eric Church says his crew members are a key ingredient to his success -- at least, most of the time.

The country superstar allowed cameras behind the scenes of his massive the Outsiders Tour, which requires more than 100 crew members putting in 18-hour days, 170 tons of equipment, 14 trucks and 12 buses to keep it running smoothly. The nine-month tour cost $19 million to stage.

Church shows his appreciation by taking a minute to have a shot of Jack Daniel's with his band and crew before every performance.

"Those guys are my family," he observes. "They would have my back in any situation, and I would have theirs ... They've been out there doing what they do all day. I feel like when I walk out there, I get to, for them, spike the ball."

But despite all those rigorous preparations, it doesn't always work out the way it's planned. At one recent gig in Salt Lake City, Church ended up having to perform an impromptu solo acoustic set after the flu ravaged his entire band and crew.

"It almost felt like that movie 'Outbreak,' where about every hour, four or five or six people were falling out," he tells radio personality Bobby Bones. "We lost everybody, just about."

Not wanting to disappoint 11,000 ticket holders, Church ended up making do with four small lights on the stage and very minimal equipment. He calls the resulting 19-song stripped-down set "one of the most special things in my career ... I fully understand that this may not have worked, and I knew that walking out there."

The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter credits his fans in Salt Lake City for sticking with him through the one-of-a-kind performance.

"It was one of those things where you want them to meet you halfway, and they came all the way," he says. "It's one of those special moments that's just frozen in time for me."

Church will make his Grammy Awards performance debut on Sunday night (Feb. 8).

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