The coronavirus pandemic has swept across the United States over the past couple of months, leading to the shutdown of virtually all live events. Musicians have been hit particularly hard, their main source of income vanishing as venues around the country closed their doors. While the guidelines put in place to help stop the spread of coronavirus may be necessary, nothing can prevent musicians from playing—even if they have to do it six feet apart and from the rooftops of their Philadelphia homes.

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On Thursday, guitarist and vocalist Pat Finnerty invited five of his friends to his house, where the group of musicians performed live for passersby from two adjacent Philly rooftops. Joined by keyboardist Zach Miller (Dr. Dog), guitarists Justin Mazer (Ryan Montbleau Band, American Babies) and Brandon Beaver, bassist Brian Langan, and drummer Pat Berkery (War On Drugs), Finnerty lead the band through a 20-minute set of ELOThe Beatles, and Tom Petty covers.

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In a statement to Live For Live Music, Finnerty explained:

I’ve been doing an IG Live show every day since week 2 of the quarantine. It began with me recording songs in under an hour, and then I started getting my buddies in bands to sign on and sing remotely. The natural progression led to me asking some of them to come to my house in West Philly to play a socially distanced ELO song (I record ELO songs every Thursday). This was the first time this exact group of people ever played together. I posted to watch it on my IG show, but only told a handful of friends it was happening. I wanted to make sure it didn’t gather too big of a crowd. 

Standing in front of a cardboard cutout of Dave Grohl, Finnerty compelled Berkery to lead them into the first track, ELO’s “Don’t Bring Me Down”. Next came a cover of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down”, before Tom Petty’s “Breakdown”. Before they ended the performance, which marked the first live show anyone on the ground had seen in months, the band played “Don’t Bring Me Down” one more time, for good measure.

“We didn’t have to do ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ twice,” Finnerty jokingly said to the camera at the end of the stream. “But we had to do ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ twice because we were up there! What’re you gonna do?”

Watch the epic rooftop performance below and head to Pat Finnerty’s Instagram page for daily streams.

Pat Finnerty & Friends – 5/21/20


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