Steven Van Zandt is self-isolating like the rest of us — and believes there needs to be significant advances in coronavirus testing before concerts can become a part of our lives again. While talking to The Philadelphia Inquirer, he was asked about what had been a prospective 2020 Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band tour, and explained, “(The tour) was something we talked about. It wasn’t a real definite plan, but we considered it. I think instinctively he thought, 'No reason to rush into these things.' So at the last minute, it was 'Wait till next year.' And it turned out to be a very good decision, because we would have been canceling everything.”
Regarding the future, Van Zandt said, “I’m confident that something will happen eventually. We’re going to be at the mercy of this thing. If they get a vaccine together by the first quarter of next year, then I think the summer of '21 starts to open up. But that’s if everything goes right.”
Van Zandt recalled how on December 8th, 1980, he, Bruce Springsteen, and the rest of the E Street Band came offstage in Philly to discover John Lennon had been murdered: “I remember being very shook up. Surprisingly so. You don’t realize how much impact the Beatles had on you. My whole life was changed by them. There’s a closeness you can’t even measure. That second night (on December 9th), I was very upset. I said to (Bruce), 'How can we go on?' And he says, 'This is what we’re here for. This is part of our purpose, to provide some sort of comfort in moments like this.'”
Van Zandt went on to say, “Y'know, some sort of shared catharsis, to help us get through this. Us and the audience. And that was profound. Realizing our job is beyond what we feel personally. We have a responsibility to give some solace in a situation like that. That was a revelation.
He added: “I’ve always questioned that concept of 'The show must go on.' It’s a phrase invented by a promoter. The money must be made. But there are cases where the show must go on, and it’s not just economics. It’s emotional.”
Steve Van Zandt has always felt that rock bonded both musicians and their audience in a way unlike any other form of art: “A band communicates something different than an individual. To this day, rock n' roll is all about bands and pop music is all about individuals. Y'know, I'm not makin' an evaluation on either one; but bands communicate family, friendship — community, y'know? That's what attracted me.”