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Cleveland Shipped Their Hearts to Boston

The Dropkick Murphys are celebrating their 20th year as a band on their most recent tour. Starting out in 1996, the band has come a long way from their independent punk band record label with Hellcat, and their fanbase only continues to grow .

For the 20th Anniversary tour, the band wanted to do something special for die-hard fans before it started. A large screen started playing an autobiographical video of the band, taking fans on a journey from start to finish, showing their earlier days playing St. Patricks Day shows in Boston, to finally getting their first mainstream hit, to going Platinum “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” from the movie The Departed. The video created anticipation as the songs the fans waited so long to hear live were being quietly played in the background as the band talked about the growth on the band over the year, and what The Dropkick Murphys meant to them.

The video came to a close and the music started to play – they started with a fan favorite, “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya,” one of their most upbeat songs with strong guitar riffs, rough vocals, a mandolin, and of course, bagpipes. A very drunk, but very excited crowd danced and yelled along angrily to the song with raised glasses. Continuing into an accordion rich song, “A Prisoners Song,” the band was off to an incredible start for the night, with a bright colored light show, a strong pit started to form within the crowd. It was going to be a long night for the fans, who had no problem keeping up the energy all night through the bands 23 song setlist, before playing encores.

Frontman Ken Casey was keeping the mood lifted and exciting playing through song after song, getting into more hits like “Rose Tattoo” and breakout song “The Warriors Code.” To mark the halfway point for the night, the band surprised the crowd by playing “Loyal to No One” for the first time live in 8 years. This is probably the bands most representative song of what The Dropkick Murphys are.

Showing the band stays true to their Boston roots, they also played more classing songs like “Going Strong,” which is a more punk version of their sound than the typical bagpiped sound we associate with The Dropkick Murphys. Fans of all ages became one community that had a common love for celtic punk.

The night never had a dull moment for anyone, with band members changing instruments to keep up with the extravagant setlist the band did not disappoint anyone.  Earlier fans were pleased when songs like “Forever,” which fans sang along to together as if they had all been best friends prior to the show. Pleasing everyone to play a new song called “Sandlot,” a more stripped down version of their normal music; and even covering “If the Kids Are United” by Sham 69. Finally finishing out the night with another popular song “The State of Massachusetts,” as well as songs “Curse of a Fallen Soul” and “Worker’s Song.”

Although the setlist was long, the venue was hot, and the fans were tired and sweaty, something was missing. “Worker’s Song” rang out of our ears as the band left the stage. The venue was momentarily quiet, just long enough to have someone start a chant to play more songs. The infectious chant worked, as the band did reemerge from the sides to play their biggest hit, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” and is arguably the biggest face for the genre of music. Playing into “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced,” about a love of women and alcohol, another song that gives the band its personality in the music scene. Finishing out their 4 song encore set with “Skin Head on the MTBA” and a cover of Sam Cooke’s “Having a Party,” a night no true life long fan would forget. Thank you for a great 20 years, heres to many more.

Fickes Photo

Tour Dates:
Mar 8 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
Mar 9 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Mar 10 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
Mar 11 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Mar 12 –  Washington, DC @ RFK Stadium (Shamrock Fest)
Mar 13 – Philadelphia, PA  @ Electric Factory
Mar 17 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Mar 18 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Mar 19 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena with House Of Blues Afterparty
Mar 20 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall

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