In another sign of live entertainment's rebirth in the US, Bruce Springsteen returned to Broadway this weekend, strapping on a guitar and reviving a show for an audience that included a member of his E Street Band and the governor of his home state.
Springsteen had ended his residency in December 2018 after 236 performances, but was persuaded to return for an encore ahead of most Broadway shows coming back in September.
The tough rock 'n' roller was clearly emotional. He wiped away tears toward the end of his show, which mixes personal remembrances with performances of his songs.
He said the US summer reprise allows him to spend more time, figuratively speaking, with his late father and other fallen relatives.
Every week brings fresh evidence of life resuming in entertainment following a 15-month COVID-19 pause.
Festivals and concert tours are being booked, and Springsteen plans to take his band on the road next year.
The Foo Fighters reopened New York's Madison Square Garden for music with a cathartic June 20 concert.
Thrilled to be back, fans cheered Springsteen's words so often he had to profanely tell them to settle down, lest the show take all night.
His longtime guitarist, Steven Van Zandt, received a standing ovation when he took a seat in the audience. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg were also there on Saturday night.
"It's good to see everyone here tonight unmasked, sitting next to each other," Springsteen said. "What a year. I'm 71 years on this planet and I've never seen anything like it."
Audience members had to show proof of vaccination to enter the St James Theatre.
That attracted a boisterous handful of anti-vaccination demonstrators to gather at the entrance and complain Springsteen was promoting segregation.
Springsteen said he and his family were lucky during the pandemic, able to stay healthy and keep busy.
"I had a podcast with the president of the United States (Barack Obama)," he said. "I was handcuffed and thrown in jail."
The latter referred to his November 14, 2020, arrest for drunken driving and reckless driving in New Jersey.
Those charges were later dismissed since he had a blood alcohol level below the state's legal limit and he paid a fine for downing two tequila shots in an area where alcohol wasn't allowed.
"New Jersey," he said. "They love me there."
Australian Associated Press