The excellent series of Friday Night Live Safe Edition – virtual concerts organized by Dion Mifsud and Nolan Frendo of Jetstream came to a close in early June as the lockdown of the Rock gradually eases back. The last concert on June 5 was introduced by Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who had warm words in support of the great initiative taken by the music community to help people with weekly live entertainment during the at first dark days of lockdown.
What started as modest but good efforts to impress viewers with live performances recorded, was over the weeks refined technically with Zoom split screen presentations and quality video work, matched only by the ‘week on week’ challenges that the artists imposed on themselves to refine their virtual segments and interpretations to benchmark standards. And there were many genres covered and memorable contributions too.
Friday Night Live became the highlight of the week for many viewers, who would also then share the video clips online. Every Friday each performer tried harder and the love shown in the live comments during their performances came back with even more warmth and appreciation. Having watched many outstanding performances during the series, I was prompted early on to suggest to the organisers that this feast of good music cannot be lost and should be properly catalogued.
It is after all history in the making – illustrating how Gibraltarians came together in a time of crisis, and at every level, we were all in support of a common aim. Our selflessness in order to help others and now that the series has ended the unenviable task to produce perhaps ‘a gift set of the very best of FNL’ in aid of charity falls on the organisers. There are copyright issues involved of course but perhaps with a charity angle (Calpe House or RICC – there are many others) the rights to sell the FNL compilation as a keepsake of the lockdown can be waived.
Already there are noises of staging a real ‘Live’ concert, whenever that may be possible, to celebrate the FNL artists’ achievements and who knows it might also be the best time to launch the suggested compilation gift set if we manage to get the product ready on time. We have plenty of time because even the autumn doesn’t yet look clear as a time when mass gatherings such as concerts might be allowed locally.
There were far too many artistic contributions over the series and it would not be fair to highlight some and ignore all others and so no names have been mentioned here. However the organisers posted a credits list on their Facebook page (@Friday.Night.Live.Gibraltar) with names of artists, sponsors, technical facilitators and a host of others who together rose to the occasion and put on a weekly showpiece of musical history in the making.
Long after the lockdown is forgotten the ‘Friday Night Live’ virtual concerts will live on in the memory of the many who stayed glued to their screens and watched gobsmacked at the sheer quality and professionalism coming from ‘the class of 2020 music community’. They are all in our hearts already and maybe they can be on our shelves too. We have time to flesh out this project and turn it into reality, recorded for posterity.