A lot of rappers wish they were professional athletes. More than a few rock stars dream about becoming actors. Eric Church wants to be Bruce Springsteen.
In a move that invites comparisons to Springsteen, the country star is playing two sets on each date of his Holdin’ My Own tour. Church and his band were onstage for more than 2 1/2 hours on the opening night of the tour in Lincoln, Neb., earlier this month.
Church’s audacious aspirations weren’t always so obvious. While promoting his initial singles “How ’Bout You” and “Two Pink Lines” during his first area appearance at the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival in Independence in 2006, the North Carolina native seemed like just another struggling contemporary country artist.
Bolstered by relentless touring and a clutch of party-oriented hits like “Drink in My Hand,” Church has since become one of country’s biggest stars. He recalibrated his sights on an even bigger prize with the release of “Springsteen” five years ago. Church sings the song’s title as if it’s a holy invocation.
Church’s admiration for the Boss is obvious on his most recent album, “Mr. Misunderstood.” He sounds as if he’s about to break into a cover of “Born to Run” at any moment.
Admirers of both artists may hope that Church successfully conjures Springsteen during the marathon concert at the Sprint Center on Tuesday. If he doesn’t manage to make the transformation, however, settling for Church is an excellent consolation prize.
Tickets to the Tuesday, Jan. 31 performance at the Sprint Center are $25-$87 in advance at sprintcenter.com.
Concert previews by Bill Brownlee, Special to Ink