17th March 2020
Dropkick Murphys - “Streaming Up From Boston”
Since the band’s foundation in 1996, the DROPKICK MURPHYS have played one or in recent years a few special shows on St. Patrick’s weekend in their hometown Boston. To be precise the band is from Quincy which is close to Boston. But in 2020 the DROPKICK MURPHYS had to cancel these shows due to the Corona virus. If you know the band, you probably have noticed their nearness to the audience and the fans. So, what to do in this situation? Yes, they streamed a live show on this year’s St. Patrick’s day, in a near to lock-downed Germany the stream went online on midnight on the band’s social media pages such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and more.
The very best of this concert is that you can still watch it. You will find the link to the video at the bottom of this review. So, this review is very special as you can experience the concert yourself anytime again. Meanwhile a rumour spread that the band probably have created a world record: The discussion is that on Facebook only they had a live audience of around 5.7 million viewers, which is the biggest audience in history. If you want to read how the DROPKICK MURPHYS play in front of a physical audience, you can read in this review, which is only one month old!
The DROPKICK MURPHYS is an Irish Punk band from Quincy, Ma, which is close to Boston. They became increasingly popular since the foundation in 1996, always working hard on the music and touring the world a lot. Their sound and storytelling are in between Irish tradition, sport, love, working class themes and pub-oriented drinking songs. The DROPKICK MURPHYS ever evolved around the bass player and singer Ken Casey, some members came and went in the last 24 years. Ken himself does not play the bass anymore as a result of a motorcycle accident and suffering a deaf hand from it since 2018. But he always was one of two lead singers in the band and these circumstances doesn’t detract from the DROPKICK MURPHYS shouting and singing their best songs, including the hit singles ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’, ‘Rose Tattoo’, ‘The State Of Massachusetts’ or ‘Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya’. http://www.dropkickmurphys.com / https://www.facebook.com/DropkickMurphys/
Music & Performance
The stream went online exactly on midnight, but it took the band around another 13 minutes to actually play. The first few minutes there was a distorted sound that got fixed at around three and a half minutes. You can easily skip those now, but you should not go directly to minute 12 or 13, because at around 6 and a half minutes there was a live scene from the backstage in that Ken asked when the stage time was. Five minutes was the answer, though this was even late. In advance of the stream the band went live all over the day in several scenes, one is with Tim and Ken anticipating the concert from the venue’s toilet and explaining some security issues around the virus. You will find out that this was real closeness to their fans. While the stream was already online, there were lots of cheering comments like “Let’s go, Murphys!” and such things that the fans usually sing and shout in advance and during the shows.
Contrary to the shows with audience the band waived the typical intro record ‘The Foggy Dew’ sung by SINÉAD O’CONNER. The DROPKICK MURPHYS started with some salutation and the first song ‘The Irish Rover’. From zero to 100 in five seconds. The spark jumped immediately, though the band is used to play in front of large crowds and seemed to have to get used to play in front of around four cameras only now. It was played and broadcasted in the most professional way in some kind of TV studio, a lot of light technology, an LED screen as a backdrop. Nothing else was to be expected than the highest level and now the spectator was in the middle of a wonderful DROPKICK MURPHYS show while sitting or even dancing in the own living room. And another thing was immediately clear, the sound was not as perfect as in a concert venue, because such a band depends on the back and forth game with a singing audience and absolutely needs something like the room playing with their sound. So, the first impression was a very clean and direct sound in comparison to a typical concert. But this is a matter of course, the given circumstances pay their tribute. As quick as ‘The Irish Rover’ came, it faded and ‘The Boys Are Back’ was the new deal. The boys are back and they are looking for trouble! At least now the millions of viewers should give the goose bump, because this little chant comes as a real anthem. Sing with the band, never let them down!
Yet another goose bump candidate was ready to unfold. ‘Paying My Way’ is all about drug addiction and a masterpiece for sure. Ken always sings this one authentically. ‘Black Velvet Band’ is a classic not just because it is an Irish traditional, but because it is a must to be played song of every DROPKICK MURPHYS show. And like almost every Irish traditional this also is a story about personal fate and one of the best reasons to fall in love with the Irish culture. ‘Don’t Tear Us Apart’ is another band’s classic song from their famous album ‘Signed And Sealed In Blood’ followed by a short announcement by Ken about this special show, just to be replaced by ‘First Class Loser’. Yes, everybody knows one of that kind of guys, which makes the lyrics to personal. The time soon has come for the first real big hit ‘Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya’, an evergreen in the band’s repertoire. Who was not dancing, singing, screaming, shouting and weeping in the told drama of the song by now, will never be and should leave and stay away forever.
If you want ‘Blood’, we’ll give you some. Nice next song, a real hymn, but a little slower and way more atmospheric. But always be careful what you ask for! ‘Famous For Nothing’ is what the band describes in a self-reflection, one of the opener track of ‘The Meanest Of Time’. It’s a moving and catchy one for sure, using typical traditional Irish song writing methods. Though the bagpipes were deeply missed. As Ken later explained they would have had to let their bagpipes player to fly in, which was against any security options in this situation. This should be mentioned here already although it was declared a lot later. After the song was finished, Ken spoke again. The band has installed the fundraiser called ‘Claddagh Fund’ to help families affected by the coronavirus outbreak. You will find the details at the end of this review. Furthermore, he explained to take the virus seriously and Ken proclaimed what everybody can do to help. One special feature of playing an internet concert is that the artist can interact with the audience on another level. So, they let the fans ask a few questions to be answered by the band in person. “The crowd is going wild!” said Ken. And he declined to tell where exactly the studio is they are performing in, the DROPKICK MURPHYS take the responsibility of their fans’ security.
The second song on the band’s latest single was the next track to be played. ‘The Bonny’ is a good cover song that as announced before is a very personal song for the members. ‘Smash Shit Up’ was following, the latest single itself. The DROPKICK MURPHYS promoted this catchy hit with a music video that by the way was partly shown in a loop before the live stream started. Ken is a real entertainer, he finally proved that right here. He now was interacting with the broadcast team as placeholder for their audience. Even the camera guys were obviously affected by the intensive music and now cheering a lot. ‘Going Out In Style’ came next and Ken requested a circle pit. His wish was immediately fulfilled by a single camera man. In a very short moment, there was a band member with his guitar as well taking part. Was it Tim? You will find out when watching the video. Good to see that people are having fun in this bad time. ‘Cruel’ and ‘Worker’s Song’, however, came almost irrelevant. The latter is a big hit for the fans indeed.
Ken talked a few more words about the venue they were at and sport. Their favourite sport teams are always a matter in their music. ‘Time To Go’ followed, a tribute to the band’s lionized ice hockey team, the Boston Bruins. Right after this track Ken explained why there was no bagpipes player. ‘The Fields Of Athenry’ is yet another traditional Irish song that content is about the Irish famine between 1846 and 1849. This surely is a song that is more than popular in Ireland. If you have ever been there you would probably have heard this sung by the locals in a pub. ‘Sunday Hardcore Matinee’ was something like a surprise, because it is not played very often, but a classic. ‘I Fought The Law’ was the next one. What a surprise this was then, the DROPKICK MURPHYS covered THE CLASH. A highlight of the concert! The band already had the cover in their repertoire, but maybe nobody would have expected them to perform it in this very special show. You can literally see the singing people on the balconies. “I fought the law and the law won.”
Ken Casey spoke again to be followed by ‘Forever’. Nothing much to say about, it’s probably just a rarely played old song from 2001. ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’ is from the same album ‘Sing Loud, Sing Proud!’. A lovely phase with classics. But when the banjo plays the intro of ‘The State Of Massachusetts’, usually nobody can stand still. Nice thought that now all the viewers would be jumping around in their flats and houses. The dramatic story about Billy, Tommy and their mother is heart-breaking every single time you listen to the song. This is everything that the DROPKICK MURPHYS are about. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ not only is the anthem of the Liverpool FC, but a well-known song all over the world. The band just published their version on their latest album. Another announcement by Ken was made, he reminded the viewers to donate a little for their fundraiser. Then he surprisingly proclaimed that the band would play three brand new and unpublished songs. ‘Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding’ is a story that supposedly really happened, a fun song, but Ken said that he takes the theft of one’s pudding seriously. ‘Queen Of Suffolk County’ can be one of the next big hits, a very catchy one. The last brand-new track was ‘Burn It To The Ground’. We will see what the band’s near future would bring us.
There was a very short break then. Nobody is calling for an encore? You cannot bet that. ‘Rose Tattoo’ maybe is the biggest hit of the DROPCKICK MURPHYS. The story about it has often been told and not further repetition is necessary. The line “Signed and sealed in blood I would die for you.” says it all. Especially in this time of staying at home, your social contacts are the most important thing. Give them a ring and tell them how much you love them! ‘Until The Next Time’ was close to driving oneself to tears for sure, because it is a firm question and declaration: “We’ll meet again. Don’t know where, don’t know when.”, “Well, it might be a long time, ‘til we raise another glass” and “So until the next time it’s farewell and not goodbye” are the omnipresent topics right now. But “We all had a good time” is the bottom line of one the probably greatest live shows of all time. Yes, we indeed had a good time! ‘I’m Shipping Up To Boston’ shouldn’t of course be missing. The lights went out with a cheerful big “Thank You!”.
No, we have to say thank you as much as we can. Thank you so much for the two-hour distraction, dear DROPKICK MURPHYS! Stay safe and healthy and see you the next time!
The video on the band’s website with further information about the fundraiser: http://www.dropkickmurphys.com/2020/03/14/streaming-up-from-boston-free-st-patricks-day-live-stream/
The video directly on YouTube: https://youtu.be/5j06g0TE_Ao
01. The Irish Rover
02. The Boys Are Back
03. Paying My Way
04. Black Velvet Band ([traditional] cover)
05. Don’t Tear Us Apart
06. First Class Loser
07. Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
09. Famous For Nothing
10. The Bonny (Gerry Cinnamon cover)
11. Smash Shit Up
12. Going Out In Style
14. Worker’s Song
15. Time To Go
16. The Fields Of Athenry ([traditional] cover)
17. Sunday Hardcore Matinee
18. I Fought The Law (The Clash cover)
20. The Rocky Road To Dublin
21. The State Of Massachusetts
22. You’ll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers & Hammerstein cover)
23. Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding
24. Queen Of Suffolk County
25. Burn It To The Ground
23. Rose Tattoo
24. Until The Next Time
25. I’m Shipping Up To Boston
Total: 9.1 / 10
Pics: Shots from the TV Stream