The Chicago Tribune reports that during a "sensational reading" of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the bridge on Bell's 1713 Stradivarius came loose. The mishap occurred near the first movement cadenza of the concerto. Bell motioned to conductor David Zinman to stop the orchestra, then ran into the wings to fix the bridge.
Bell told the Tribune, "This has never happened to me before. While I was taking an up-bow [stroke], somehow my bow caught the bridge and sent it over about a centimeter on the violin, rendering it unplayable. I went offstage to try to put it back in place. It was sort of like an athlete having his dislocated shoulder put back right."
He added, "When I walked back on stage, I was really scared about what was going to come out. Even though the violin was responding differently, I actually felt more relaxed for the rest of the performance."
According to the Tribune, his efforts were rewarded with a wildly enthusiastic audience reception.