The inaugural American Music Honors awards show — a fundraiser for the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University — launched Saturday night without two very important presenters in attendance: Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.
Bob Santelli, the Archives’ executive director, broke the news that the Springsteens were both diagnosed with Covid-19 just hours after Springsteen took a final bow Friday night at the Prudential Center, wrapping the first part of his 2023 tour with the E Street Band.
“It broke our hearts around 6 a.m. this morning when I got a call that two of the most important people who were supposed to be here, Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa, unfortunately came down with Covid.”
While the news was met with silence in the crowd, host Jon Stewart lightened the mood, joking, “They’re alive. Don’t overreact. You can still see them in concert. They’re home sitting by the fire eating French onion soup.”
Despite his absence physically, Springsteen was feeling spry enough to tape two videos presenting awards to Darlene Love and fellow E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt.
Stewart joked that Springsteen “with Covid looks better than me,” adding that he appeared “eerily healthy.”
“Aren’t you supposed to have sniffles or something?” he said. “We shut down the world for a year and a half.”
Springsteen was supposed to receive a proclamation from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy,
who was in attendance with his wife, Tammy. Murphy, who joked that some in the audience were hoping that he was the one with Covid, unveiled a proclamation declaring Sept. 23, 2023, Springsteen’s birthday, “Bruce Springsteen Day” in the Garden State.
“I can’t believe it’s taken this long,” Murphy said.
“It’s not a rest area, but it’s nice,” quipped Stewart, an obvious reference to the Jon Bon Jovi rest stop and others in New Jersey. “It’s not like taking a whiz to ‘Livin’ on a Prayer,’ but it’ll do,”
The evening was a celebration of rock and soul music, honoring Van Zandt, Love, Steve Earle and Sam Moore of Sam and Dave for their musical contributions and career. Presenters included E Street Band bassist Garry Tallent honoring Earle and Southside Johnny Lyon inducting Moore, with Van Zandt’s band, the Disciples of Soul, serving as the house band. (Variety)