Eric Church Explains How Bruce Springsteen Influences His Setlists
It's no secret that Eric Church is a big-time fan of Bruce Springsteen -- the icon is the namesake of Church's 2012 hit "Springsteen," after all -- but the Boss has been influencing more than just Church's music.
Church has been playing big arenas and stadium shows recently, and now that his crowds are getting close to the size of the ones that Springsteen plays for, the country star has started taking some cues from the rock icon's touring style.
"The different set every night, the spontaneity, is something that I directly ripped from Springsteen and a couple of other guys that I liked. Back in my time, I was a Grateful Dead and Phish fan, stuff that is just different every night. You didn't know what you were going to hear," Church tells the Asbury Park Press. "The coolest thing of all of that is when you get to hear a song that hasn't been played on the tour or hasn't been played in a long time; if you're a fan who's following it every night, it's a special thing. There's something special about each city, and I think that's something that Bruce has always done a great job of."
Church has also extended the length of his shows, which means that he's adding in a lot of his music that never made it on the radio. But having fans who know the tracks anyway makes playing to such huge crowds a little bit easier.
"Our show right now is clocking in at about two and a half hours. And the thing that's unique, maybe, for us, with that is, we've had four No. 1 songs, but our setlist is 31 songs, so there's an enormous amount of album tracks on there that I think, honestly, are just as big as the songs that people may have heard on the radio to the people that have heard the albums," Church says. "And that's been something that [led to] not being scared to go play these things."
The singer says that when he first started playing arenas, he had no idea what he was doing, but playing smaller bars and clubs over the past few years has helped him develop a better act.
"The first tour we played in arenas, which was when the Chief album came out about three years ago, I don't think we handled it very well," he says. "We came from where we were really in our element in these bars, clubs, theaters, and we just owned those places. And then all of a sudden, we're an arena act. And what I found is, I was a little insecure in the fact that I didn't know how to play an arena, and when I walked out there, I felt like all the songs in between the hits were filler. I was just trying to get to the next thing they may know. And what I didn't realize is, the show is those songs between the stuff they may know, that's the whole deal.
"With this tour, we've just been more confident to go out and play things that maybe people haven't heard as much of, those album cuts," Church continues. "The real fans that are there, they know everything."
Where Does Eric Church Land on The Boot's List of Country Music Risk-Takers?
You Think You Know Eric Church?