Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis and Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder are rarely mentioned in the same article. Neither is teen pop star Justin Bieber, nor is young San Diego buzz his band Thee Sacred Souls.
However, all four, like San Diego and many other artists, were directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, now three years old, in 2022.
Their experience could provide some kind of road map for the year ahead. Especially when the number of COVID cases is again alarmingly rising in a pandemic-fueled variation of “Groundhog Day,” no one wants to experience it on another occasion.
So are the experiences of Drake, Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Elton John, Trisha Yearwood, Pink, John Mayer (who has had COVID for the second time this year), and Elle King, who spoke to the Union-Tribune in late January. I am traveling with my baby. Anyone, vaccinated or not, can take a photo with her VIP package. Have got I’m going to get a COVID test that day…”
On March 9, 2020, Vedder’s Pearl Jam became the first major music act to postpone a US tour due to coronavirus concerns. It was a far-sighted move. Two days after that, the World Health Organization declared his COVID-19 a pandemic, and a global shutdown of live events began.
Pearl Jam finally kicked off this year’s Gigaton Tour on May 3 at San Diego State University’s Viejas Arena. It’s not far from his Mesa apartment where Vedder lived in his 1980s. The band’s SDSU concert took place just two months after he had to postpone his solo tour dates, which included The Magnolia of El Cajon, after contracting COVID.
By May, Pearl Jam had to postpone multiple tour dates after bassist Jeff Ament and drummer San Diego native Matt Cameron also contracted the disease. In July, Pearl Jam canceled multiple European tour dates after Vedder’s voice was damaged at an outdoor concert in Paris by dust, heat and smoke from wildfires that raged across Europe.
Bieber didn’t fare so well after his twice-postponed 2020 world tour kicked off at Pechanga Arena San Diego this February. has been postponed.
In June, Bieber took a break from the tour due to other health issues. He resumed the tour in July, put the tour on hold again in August, and after returning to the stage for seven shows, concerned about his physical and mental health, decided to take the rest of his life. have canceled all of their 2022 concerts.
Bieber was not alone.
A growing number of young artists have cited mental health issues, anxiety and stress as reasons for their decision to scale back or cancel tours. They include Arlo Parks, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence, Wet Legs, The Yard Act, Sam Fender and more.
“People are talking about all the physical effects of coronavirus, but they’re not talking about the mental health side,” Jewel, a former San Diego bard, said in a 2020 Union-Tribune interview. “I worry that suicides will outnumber the number of deaths from coronavirus.”
Suicide rates in the United States will increase in 2021, with an 8% spike in men aged 15 to 24. This year’s figures have not yet been tallied.
But while the pandemic has wreaked havoc on nearly every demographic and has wreaked havoc on the performing arts community around the world, it has also brought unforeseen benefits, at least for some artists.
In an interview with the San Union-Tribune on December 15th, singer legend Dionne Warwick said: These two years with her gave me the opportunity to get to know me again. It gave me the opportunity to rediscover my home and sleep in my own bed. It’s been great for me. Luckily, I remained healthy and was not affected by the pandemic at all. ”
And Anthony Davis, composer and professor of music at the University of California, San Diego, won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his political opera “The Central Park Five.” And witness his 3-year-old San Diego band, Thee Sacred Souls, who released his belated debut album in August.
“When all songwriting requests were canceled during the COVID shutdown, I thought: ‘What am I going to do?'” Davis recalled in a Union-Tribune interview in May.
Answer: He revived and boldly reinvented his first opera, the groundbreaking 1986 X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. A revival piece premiered at his opera in Detroit on May 14, and has since been performed in other cities. In November, Davis’ new album of “X” by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best His Opera His Recording.
The cancellation of live events due to the pandemic also helped Thee Sacred Souls win Song of the Year at the 2022 San Diego Music Awards in April, beating out Grammy winners Switchfoot and Jason Mraz. I was. Sara Petite was the biggest winner of the night with her three wins.
Souls drummer Alex Garcia, who contracted COVID before and after being vaccinated, said, “I think the shutdown has actually benefited us in some ways.” We had more time to do it, and that time allowed us to bring our team together and shape who we are as a band.”
“I agree,” said soul singer Josh Lane. “With COVID, it was (horrible) for everyone and on the front lines of society. But it gave us an opportunity to come together and build something that matters.”
Like people from all walks of life, so many music artists have been infected with COVID that testing positive is no longer big news.
One of those artists is Puerto Rican reggaeton music superstar Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio.
In September, Petco Park became the first performer of any genre in Petco Park’s 22-year history to put on two full stadium concerts back-to-back. His “Hottest Tour in the World” concert His Trek was the highest-grossing tour of the year, grossing a staggering $393.3 million.
In August, Tijuana’s brassy Grupo Filme became the first Latin music act to headline Petco Park, which hosted a record number of concerts this year.
Bad Bunny’s Petco concert didn’t include his 2020 song “En Casita,” which he recorded on his iPhone about quarantining during a pandemic. Like Harry Styles’ “As It Was,” one of his biggest hits of 2022, “Encasita” exudes a deep sense of melancholy born of isolation during the global pandemic. (Incidentally, Styles postponed several November concerts in Los Angeles after catching the flu.)
Given the record number of concerts held in San Diego and many other cities this year, it may seem that the COVID pandemic has passed.
But now that the winter pandemic is in full swing, the recent past may be an indication of what’s to come. It may also be a reminder of music’s unique ability to vividly convey feelings of isolation and celebration, and nearly everything in between.