The inaugural American Music Honors awards show - a fundraiser for the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University - was 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, reports Variety.
"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-19.
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."
As per Variety, 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-19 looks better than me," adding that he appeared "eerily healthy."
"Aren't you supposed to have sniffles or something?" he said, quoted by Variety. "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 September 23, 2023, Springsteen's birthday, 'Bruce Springsteen Day' in the Garden State.
"I can't believe it's taken this long," Murphy said.