DKM lead St. Patrick’s Day weekend party in Lowell

A review of the Dropkick Murphys at the Tsongas Arena on March 15, 2008

, Editor-in-Chief

There is no other way for Bostonians to properly celebrate St. Patrick\’s Day than with the Dropkick Murphys. Forget the Southie parade, these Celtic-punk rockers are the new definition for Boston Irish. And so this past weekend brought ample opportunities to catch the band, from the IBEW Hall to the intimate confines of the Paradise Rock Club plus a handful of special radio gigs and a stop at the Politicians Roast/Breakfast on Sunday, you could not avoid the band. But it was the second of two gigs on Saturday at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell that signified the band\’s rise to fame.

Saturday night\’s show, originally scheduled for the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, was performed before a near capacity crowd despite the show being moved to the spacious venue only a few days prior. And the hometown favorites pulled out all the stops to make it a very memorable show for the faithful audience.

Following the band’s standard introduction of a pitch black stage with The Chieftains and Sinead O\’Connors collaborative effort of "The Foggy Due" being played, the Bunker Hill Pipe Band led the band on stage to a rousing ovation through opener "For Boston".& You’d be hard pressed to find a band that delivered such a simple but thrilling way to open the show. It set the tone perfectly for "Famous For Nothing", the first of a handful of new tunes off the band’s new release, The Meanest Of Times. The faithful crowd was rich with energy: the floor was a mess of no less than three circle pits for most of the night while those in the stands joined in what became mainly a set of passionate sing-a-longs.

"Johnny, I Hardly Knew You" welcomed step dancers from Quincy based Forbes School of Irish Step Dancing’s junior division, the senior division take the spotlight later during "Captain Kelly\’s Kitchen". Lowell\’s own Micky Ward made a cameo appearance prior to "Warriors Code", the fan favorite in his honor. A seven-piece string section landed their talents as DKM’s Ken Casey quipped, "We need someone up here who knows what they are doing." They, along with the UMass Lowell choir, performed a handful of tunes with the band. Though not as audible as most would have preferred, the effort on both sides to make the unique collaboration was great.

The show pulled together a vast set list that covered highlights from all parts of the band\’s catalog. Longtime fans were able to relish renditions of "Which Side Are You On" and "Barroom Hero", which stood up perfectly against new tunes like "The State Of Massachusetts" and "Tomorrow’s Industry." And of course, it was a St. Patrick\’s Day celebration so Irish hits like "Finnegan\’s Wake" and "Fields of Athenry" certainly brought the festive mood.& "Tessie" was met with an explosive sing-along while "Shipping Up To Boston", which was introduced by Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, nearly shook the arena to its core. Other highlights included "The Dirty Glass", which featured Stephanie Dougherty on vocals, and the fist pumping blue-collar anthem “Worker’s Song”.

Balloons and confetti fell from the ceiling while all the girls in attendance jumped on stage for a fun "Kiss Me, I\’m Shitfaced" before "Amazing Grace" closed out the main set (and yes, the circle pits did oddly enough continue during the church anthem). The band returned for a five-song encore and as is custom, all fans hit the stage for a party like sing-along of "Skinhead on the MBTA" that flowed onto "Dirty Water" and show closer "Boys On The Dock".

Despite being the second of two 90-minute sets, the band’s crazed energy never dwindled. It was a show that soared on all levels. The band was spot-on sonically and the crowd’s energy was simply infectious.

So as the Dropkick Murphys fame in Boston only continues to rise, it seems the only place left for them to conquer is a headlining gig at the Garden. So, let’s get a petition for Dropkick Murphys at the TD Bankorth Garden on March 17, 2008 started now. Make it happen. Of course, we need to be greedy so a run of shows at the House Of Blues (if it even opens?) would be nice a lead-up.

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