If the pandemic hadn’t happened, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band would be gearing up for a huge world tour right now. Still, he’s primed to be busy in 2021. “I have some projects coming up this year that I won’t tell, because it’s gonna be a secret and then a big surprise. But I do have things to keep me busy this year that I’ll be doing that should give the fans something to bide their time with, you know?” he said on Sirius XM’s E Street Radio on New Year’s Eve.
Springsteen may be talking about his archival goldmine. Late last year, he told Rolling Stone that he’s got “a lot of projects” in the works drawing from the vaults; Drummer Max Weinberg has visited the studio to overdub at least 40 old songs “in all different styles” over the past three years, and some of these songs will appear on the second volume of Tracks. “There’s a lot of really good music left,” Springsteen said. “If I pull out something from 1980, or 1985, or 1970, it’s amazing how you can slip into that voice. It’s just sort of a headspace. All of those voices remain available to me, if I want to go to them.”
Springsteen also told host Jim Rotolo that he sees the band realistically hitting the road at the very beginning of 2022: “That, to me, as far as what I know, and if things go as according to what Dr. Fauci is projecting … we’ll be out there and that might be 2022 somewhere in the new year of 2022. And I’m completely projecting because no one really knows but that’s what I think according to all the information that’s available.”
The initial world tour was set to be a big deal; the band hadn’t played a show since 2016. Over the last five years, Springsteen has focused on solo projects including his Broadway show and the concept album Western Stars. He was also looking forward to bringing the songs off last year’s Letter to You to the stage beginning the spring of 2021, which is likely not going to happen now. “I feel the band is capable of playing at the very, very, very top, or better than, of its game right now,” Springsteen told Rolling Stone in August.
Springsteen also told Rotollo that he’s enjoyed hosting From My Home to Yours, his Sirius XM show where he’s played everyone from H.E.R. and Lana Del Rey to John Prine and Don Henley. “The summer of 2020 was as tumultuous a summer as I can remember since around 1968,” he said. “There was a lot going on: You had the pandemic, you had the Black Lives Matter movement, you had the resistance against President Trump. There was a lot in the air, as much as I can remember since I was a young man. So there were a lot of things to push back on and to address, and I said, ‘Well, the radio’s a good spot for me to go right now and try to do this with the music that I’ve loved.’