After SNL canceled country singer Morgan Wallen's show for violating COVID protocol, they scrambled to find a new act in time for the show. With two day's notice, Jack White was finally selected and wound up putting on one of the greatest shows in SNL's history.
NPR partially chalks this up to the fact that, since it was a last-minute get, White didn't have anything to promote: "a veteran star without much to promote or prove, popping by with the sole objective of putting on the best show humanly possible."
Another factor that makes this such a memorable show is that White honored Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist who had recently passed at the time. That blue guitar he played with was custom designed by Halen and White.
As White says on his Instagram: "I thought it could be a nice gesture for me to use this blue Eddie Van Halen model guitar for one of the songs tonight on SNL. The guitar was designed by Eddie (with a few customizations I had added). Eddie was very kind to me and saw to it that this guitar was made for me to my specs. I won't even insult the man’s talent by trying to play one of his songs tonight. Thanks again Eddie for this guitar and rest in peace sir."