Dropkick Murphys score big at Fenway Park

A review of the Dropkick Murphys, Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Fenway Park on September 8, 2011

, Managing Editor

On any given night at Fenway Park ther’’s a good chance you’ll hear some Dropkick Murphys, whether it’s Jonathan Papelbon coming out of the bullpen to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” or hopefully celebrating a victory to the sound of “Tessie”. Thursday at the old ballpark was no ordinary night, though, as the sounds of DKM filled the home of the Red Sox when the team wasn’t even there.

The Murphys have a dedicated fanbase that show up to their shows every chance they get, which is certainly clear from their ever expanding St. Patrick’s Day runs each year. If you happen to have caught any of those shows recently you know the general makeup of a Dropkicks show; from the set staples, to the bagpipers, to Ken Casey’s same old jokes. However, the band threw the crowd a curveball with a 4-song acoustic set in the middle of the show that turned out much better than they gave themselves credit for. They sounded their best seated on stools delivering tunes such as “Take ‘Em Down” and “Boys on the Docks”. It was nice to hear Al Barr actually singing rather than his usual shouts over distorted guitars. Barr and Casey joked that the set produced a “mass exodus” to the bathroom lines but fans sincerely enjoyed it, even staying on their feet rather than take advantage of the rare opportunity to have an actual seat at a Dropkicks gig. Seeing as the Murphys like to keep things consistent at their shows, they should definitely think about keeping the acoustic section.

Of course, they delivered all the fan favorites like “The Gang’s All Here” and “State of Massachusetts” as well as new songs like “Peg O’ My Heart” and “Going Out in Style”.  Many of the night’s highlights came when the band shared the stage with a special guests. Nora Parkington of the The Parkington Sisters, who backed the band on several songs, sang “The Dirty Glass” . Former DKM singer Mike McColgan, now of the Street Dogs who opened the show, joined his former bandmates for a stellar rendition of their old classic “Barroom Hero” as the show was getting close to curfew. Although that was a huge thrill for longtime fans, there wasn’t any bigger moment than when Shawn Thornton strolled onto the stage with the Stanley Cup in hand, placing it front and center for the band’s Bruins tribute “Time to Go”.

The Murphys ended the show in usual fashion as one and all sang along to “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced” with Casey making his way through the bleachers. Although it ended in grand fashion with a fireworks display, it was one last reminder of the downfall of having a show at Fenway. Usually fans are invited onto the stage for the number but that was impossible at the park with the way the stage was setup over the bullpen. Even though the show and the setting were exciting, it was probably the tamest Dropkick Murphys show ever considering fans were sandwiched into the close confines of the bleachers rather than given their usual floor space like almost every other Dropkicks show. Still, when one gets to see the band whose songs were the soundtrack to the Red Sox two championships since 2004 play on their hallowed grounds there are no complaints.

Opening the show were fellow Boston rock icons the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The “plaid boys of Boston” delivered a classically entertaining hour long set, squeezing the hits into their limited set time. The Bosstones got the crowd going early with favorites “Rascal King”, “Kinder Words” and Someday I Suppose”. Led by frontman Dicky Barrett, the band was clearly thrilled to be playing on their hometurf at Fenway as Barret recalled causing trouble in the bleachers as youth at what he called the “greatest facility in sports”.  Before “All Things Considered”, the band dropped their stage length banner to show fans homeplate as the sun began to set. “Where’d You Go?” and “The Impression That I Get” sparked the two biggest sing-alongs before “Holy Smoke” brought the set to a close.

Unfortunately, the Thursday show was packed with early set times that made it difficult for fans to get into the park in time for Street Dogs who opened the show on the main stage at 6 p.m. Despite the timing issue, fans certainly got their money’s worth as there was plenty of music to be heard beyond the main stage with Chuck Ragan, The Parkington Sisters and The Ole Brigade performing acoustic sets on a side stage in the concourse as well.

Setlist

Hang ‘Em High
Captain Kelly’s Kitchen
The Gang’s All Here
Bastards on Parade
Flanagan’s Ball
Sunshine Highway
Cruel
The Irish Rover
Peg O’ My Heart
Going Out in Style
Tessie
Take ‘Em Down
The Devil’s Brigade
Echoes on ‘A’ Street
Boys on the Docks
The Dirty Glass
Get Up
State of Massachusetts
Barroom Hero
I’m Shipping Up to Boston
Encore
Time To Go
Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced

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