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#TheMoment: A Nashville Band's Potential Big Break Was Canceled


This week marks a year since the U.S. went into lockdown because of the coronavirus. NPR asked listeners to share the moment they realized life would change. Thousands responded, and this hour, we are continuing to share some of the stories.


For Steve Cross of Nashville, Tenn., the magnitude of the situation was hard to comprehend.

STEVE CROSS: You know, having never actually seen a pandemic, a true pandemic like that before, it's just - it takes that thing that really hits your day-to-day life, or it interrupts some major thing for you.

KELLY: Steve works in creative services, but his side gigs include photography and music-related projects, including playing drums in a band. He had a big show the moment he realized things would change.

CROSS: It was supposed to be a great day. We were uncomfortable for sure, but at the same time, it was the biggest opportunity we've ever had. So there was just that real extreme sort of tension between, like, well, this - we know this is not necessarily safe, but maybe we could just get by. You know, maybe we could just get to do it.

SHAPIRO: They had set up everything for the show, and in the middle of sound check, the venue manager walked over to them.

CROSS: And you could just tell by the look on his face that this was not good, and all of our hearts just kind of sank.

KELLY: The show was canceled, a huge blow for Steve and his band. And at first, it didn't feel real.

CROSS: Then we just kind of looked at each other and just kind of walked around the stage for a minute, like zombies, I guess. And then we started tearing our gear down.

SHAPIRO: At the time, an employee at the venue had COVID-like symptoms. Steve says canceling the show was, of course, the right decision, but it was hard to wrap his head around the magnitude of what was to come.

CROSS: It takes a while for a pandemic of this level - it takes a lot for it to really sink in. And for us - you know, all of us, that was definitely it.

KELLY: Their band didn't meet up for a while, but eventually, they did start rehearsing again while trying to minimize risk.

SHAPIRO: They even booked a livestream show from a local venue that they often used to play at. Even so, Steve is just hoping for normalcy again.

CROSS: Now, definitely, it's at the point where it's just, OK, we're just ready for this to be over. Get the vaccines. Let's get on with life.

SHAPIRO: That's Steve Cross from Nashville, Tenn., talking about the moment things changed for him.