The tour business was completely upended by the COVID pandemic, with tours suspendedand shows canceled by major acts in the post-vaccine years of 2021-23. The latest is 73-years-old Bruce Springsteen’s U.S. tour which has seen three shows in a row postponed due to an unspecified “illness” after the Boss and the E Street Band soldiered on as several members missed earlier shows due to COVID.
Springsteen’s 2021 revival of his Broadway one man show had a COVID vaccine mandate for admission. The current tour has no COVID mandates.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, 2023 tour promo photo by Danny Clinch
Tuesday night’s show in Albany, New York was canceled two days in advance, indicating the seriousness of the illness. Sunday’s show in Uncasville, Connecticut was canceled the day before while the first show to be canceled, in Columbus, Ohio last Thursday, was abruptly canceled just hours before show time.
Due to illness, Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s concert at MVP Arena in Albany on Tuesday, March 14 has been postponed.
We are working on rescheduling the date so please hold on to your tickets as they will be valid for the rescheduled show. pic.twitter.com/CjoIFjjFnO
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 12, 2023
The same generic statement has been used for all three cancellations.
Due to illness, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s concert at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday March 12 has been postponed.
We are working on rescheduling the date so please hold on to your tickets as they will be valid for the rescheduled show. pic.twitter.com/K3Gh4MdFe9
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) March 11, 2023
The next show scheduled is for Philadelphia on Thursday. No announcement has been made for that show. However, apparently the band has been sent home with a photo being posted of Nils Lofgren returning home posted by his wife Amy early Monday.
— Amy Aiello Lofgren (@azsweetheart013) March 13, 2023
Stevie Van Zandt posted on Saturday to a concerned fan, “No need to be anxious or afraid. Nothing serious. Just a temporary situation. We will all be back in full force very soon.”
No need to be anxious or afraid. Nothing serious. Just a temporary situation. We will all be back in full force very soon. https://t.co/tsxNJRIl2c
— Stevie Van Zandt (@StevieVanZandt) March 11, 2023
The daughter of a Springsteen photographer on tour with the band also sought to give reassurance, “My mother is on tour with them. All I can say is don’t panic.”
My mother is on tour with them. All I can say is don’t panic.
— Jenny Germaine (@potsawareness) March 11, 2023
The canceled shows are said to have just been postponed and will be rescheduled. Springsteen has a tight schedule for much of the year meaning it could be several months for the gigs to be rescheduled unless the two-week downtime between the U.S. and European legs of the tour in April is used to make up the dates. Springsteen is set to tour Europe from April through July and return after another two week break for a stadium run in the U.S. from August through mid-September. The tour resumes in November with shows in Canada and is set to end in December with shows in the U.S. in Arizona and California. The tour began in Florida in February.
While Springsteen’s camp has not been forthcoming about who is ill and with what, Bruce told the audience at earlier shows when E Street Band members Stevie Van Zandt, Nils Lofgren, Soozie Tyrell and Jake Clemons had been out with COVID.
— Spring-Nuts (@SpringNuts_) February 19, 2023
On this tour Springsteen has been playing 26 to 28 song concerts that run just under three hours–a modest bow to Father Time considering shows in Springsteen’s younger days were 34 to 40 songs and up to four hours (or longer).
Tonight’s Setlist In Milwaukee Tonight @FiservForum . Land Of Hope And Dreams not on the setlist but was played right before Thunder Road!
— Spring-Nuts (@SpringNuts_) March 8, 2023
Springsteen is very focused on mortality with this tour and not so much on his leftist politics, playing songs including Letter to You, Ghosts, Night Shift, Wrecking Ball, the Rising and the show-closer I’ll See You in My Dreams. At the same time Springsteen is determined to show vitality and a zest for life…
— C. Riemenschneider (@ChrisRstrib) March 6, 2023
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) March 6, 2023
…even as he has become the Last Man Standing from his first teenage band, the Castiles.
— Spring-Nuts (@SpringNuts_) February 2, 2023
This year’s tour got off to a rocky start when tickets went on sale last summer, with Springsteen breaking with his tradition of not charging full market value for tickets by employing ‘dynamic pricing‘. It was several months before he acknowledged he was cashing in, but it cost him fans including the fanzine Backstreets Magazine, but on balance the tour is said to have sold 2 1/2 million tickets.