Welcome to the first article in the series Ghosts of Strummin’ Past. As the title states, we’ll take trips down memory lane and revisit previous editions of the Strummin’ Concerts starting with Strummin’ the 80s. A vibrant and energetic concert held on the 9th and 10th October 2009. Following the Sounds of the Movies in the previous year, what was better than the 8th Edition of Strummin’ to dedicate to that revolutionary decade!?
As one would imagine, coming up with the set-list for an 80s concert is no easy feat; especially when the eighties were a time where several songs were being covered and turned into hits in that decade but their origins could be traced to way back before the decade. But plunge into the 80s we did.
We researched music, trends, fashion, games (Rubik’s cube anyone?) to understand the context within which this music was born and come up with a concept for the show. If I had to pick one word to describe that show, it would be vibrant… and truly the vibe of the 80s could be felt throughout the preparations. It was the music… but not just the music. Yes, that extra jump in one’s step rippled into other bold choices such as picking royal blue as the colour for the cast t-shirt, having a bubble machine on stage, together with highlighter strips of colour to go wild in UV light. Singers and backing vocalists picked bright colours for their performance outfits, and to add that extra kick to match the guitarists strummin’, they also had dance routines in totally 80s fashion for their songs.
As is the aim of every Strummin’ concert, the proceeds are donated to a chosen charity that provides help to those in need in our community. Richmond Foundation, was the beneficiary for that year. The foundation is non-governmental and it provides community services for adults experiencing mental health problems. It also provides help for children with emotional and challenging behaviour.
After months of preparations, it was time to open the curtains to our dazzling guitarists on stage and to a time machine that landed all of us bang in the 80s for a star-studded Strummin’. Zoo were the hosts for the show, and it was as much fun having them on stage as you expect it to be! Ira Losco and Jean Claude Vancell, guest bands on separate nights, joined the cast to give the audience present a small taste of their music… And oh! Speaking of the audience… what an audience! The vibe throughout the show was spectacular! One surely cannot forget the renditions of It’s Raining Men, Ghostbusters and Beat It, Paradise City as a concert finale and an encore that had the audience dancing the night away.
And it was not over yet! After closing the chapter at Sir Temi Zammit Hall and the mandatory cast party and celebrations, it was time to put another dime in the jukebox for one last bit! The following day, we were invited to give young people a little taste of Strummin’during youth week at the Valletta Waterfront. So the next morning, with sunglasses hiding the severe lack of sleep, Strummers gathered once again on stage, and even though Joseph Axiak, Luke Grech and Luke Vella Clark got a bit confused with their instruments at the beginning, all the Strummers gave a brilliant show to those gathered, and it felt like no one wanted the era of the 80s to end!