Guests are returning to couches. Audiences are trickling back into seats. And musicians are playing live in TV studios instead of their basements. There’s no getting around it: Life as we used to know it is slowly but surely returning to the Late-Night TV Music landscape — and the rest of the world can’t be too far behind (unless, of course, you have the misfortune to live in Manitoba, a province run by an incompetent, lying narcissist whose abject and total failure as a leader, politician and human being means we’ll probably still be wearing masks and social distancing long after everybody else is hugging each other at indoor concerts. But I digress).
To get a glimpse of the near future, look no further than Jack Antonoff and Bleachers, raising their roof (and everyone’s spirits) with the Springsteen-inspired rave-up How Dare You Want More on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. (Incidentally, How Dare You Want More could also serve as the next campaign slogan for our egomaniacal, victim-blaming imbecile of a premier, a man so arrogant, petulant and childish he refuses to even meet with the mayor of Winnipeg, apparently because he doesn’t like him for some reason. Like that’s a viable option for an elected official during a pandemic. But I digress again.)
Next to Bleachers, the filmed, staged performances by the rest of the night’s full-house lineup almost seems anachronistic by comparison. You’ve got Brockhampton blasting through Don’t Shoot Up The Party on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Canada’s own Leif Vollebekk crooning Long Blue Light on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Chayce Beckham intoning the dark, southern-fried 23 on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Dodie sneaking into an apartment undergoing renovations to deliver the confessional Hate Myself on Late Night With Seth Meyers. (Speaking of someone who clearly hates himself: Back when I used to work at a daily newspaper, the premier — who was then the opposition leader — used to have his aides call up to complain when we used a picture of him he didn’t like. “He’s sensitive about his looks,” I was told. That pretty much sums everything about up the man: Vain, weak, self-obsessed, controlling, spineless, cowardly and a bully. If the PM really wants to send help to Manitoba, perhaps he could send us a functioning leader. But I digress yet again.)