Bruce Springsteen performed with the E Street Band for the first time since the pandemic began — and for the first time, not counting private studio sessions, since February 2017 (!) — Dec. 12, on “Saturday Night Live.”
They performed “Ghosts,” the second single from Springsteen’s recent Letter to You album, in the show’s first musical slot. You can watch the performance below below. Springsteen seemed to be enjoying himself, smiling and laughing often. The song became most dynamic at the end, when Springsteen let pianist Roy Bittan, saxophonist Jake Clemons and and guitarist Steven Van Zandt take brief solos. But it ended only moments later.
While the seemed a little tentative on “Ghosts,” especially early in the song, their second song — “I’ll See You in My Dreams” (also from Letter to You), performed later — seemed smoother and more assured. You can watch that performance below, as well.
Jack Daley, of Little Steven’s Disciples of Soul band, played bass in place of original band member Garry Tallent, who did not make the trip to New York from his home in Nashville. And violinist Soozie Tyrell did not perform with the band.
Springsteen shared the following message on social media, Dec. 10: “We’ll be missing our great bass player Garry Tallent and our compatriot Soozie Tyrell on Saturday night due to COVID restrictions and concerns. Garry and his family are fine as is Soozie, but we thank Jack Daley of the Disciples of Soul for sitting in.”
Tallent Tweeted the next day: “I don’t have the Vid and intend to avoid catching it. Stay safe and weigh the risk/benefit for whatever you do. I personally felt that a two song TV appearance was not worth a week long stay in NYC. Thanks for your concern.”
I believe this was the first time in the entire nearly-50-year history of the E Street Band that they have made an appearance with a bassist other than Tallent.
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Been a fan for decades but Garry could have found a more diplomatic way of saying he’s afraid of Covid. I’m in NY; NJ is bad. But he basically said Performing 2 Songs With the E Street Band on arguably the best show, SNL, is not worth it. I guarantee Sister Soozie wouldn’t put it so obnoxiously.