Words by: Andrew Bruss
Dropkick Murphys/Mighty Mighty Bosstones :: 07.10.08 :: LeLacheur Park :: Lowell, MA
As the unofficial music ambassadors of Boston, there's never any reason to think a hometown show by the Dropkick Murphys will be anything short of stellar, and their set at LeLacheur Park proved to be no exception. Right outside of Beantown, the Dropkicks and their fellow Bostonians, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, got a stage set up at the Lowell Spinners' ballpark, transforming the entire outfield into one massive sea of bodies. Seeing as this was the first time a concert had been held at the minor league ballpark, the logistics could have been a problem, but this was far from the case. With the diamond roped off, fans could rock it up in front of the stage, while easier going attendees chilled back in the grandstands.
Early on, the reunified Mighty Mighty Bosstones dished out their skankable brand of tunes and got bodies moving and geared up for all that was to come. Given that both bands rose out of the Boston area circuit, the double header brought out a great deal of emotion from both bands. Bosstones' frontman Dicky Barrett said, "It feels really good to be playing with these guys again. I love the Dropkick Murphys. They're real close friends, so it's more than two bands playing together. It's like playing with your brothers." After a set highlight of "Someday I Suppose," a lucky fan proposed to his current-fiancé right onstage before the Bosstones closed their set with "The Impression That I Get."
As the stage crews worked feverishly to get the Dropkicks gear ready to rock, fans chanted "LET'S GO MURPHYS" for twenty minutes before the group took the stage. Eventually, the lights dimmed and a pre-recorded track of a woman singing a Gaelic hymn played before the group literally raged their way through "For Boston." At the start of the tune the crowd was met with a blast of fireworks from behind the stage, but other than a standard lighting rig, they made LeLacheur Park shake and tremble with nothing other than the sheer energy of their performance. No matter where they are, when this group of musicians plays it seems as though crowds erupt into a blissfully chaotic state, an occurrence as inevitable as gravity keeping the Earth in a constant revolution around the sun.
Frontman Al Barr worked the audience with the ferocity of a caged tiger breaking free, while Ken Casey, his bass playing sidekick, regularly took over vocal duties while Barr romped around the stage. "Tessie," their ode to the Boston Red Sox, as expected, got an exuberant response, and when they tore into "The Warrior's Code" they made a point to get their buddy Mickey, the inspiration for the song, to come onstage and introduce himself.
After taking a breather, the Dropkicks returned to encore with "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," made famous by Martin Scorsese's The Departed, in addition to becoming the theme song for the Sox '07 World Series win. With tons of family and what looked like half of South Boston onstage, the band further demonstrated their affinity to their hometown by inviting The Bunker Hill Pipe Band to the stage for the whole encore, in addition to a dance troupe of heavily sequined girls that one of the Bosstones described as "The Jon Benet Dancers." With friends, family, bagpipes and dancers already onstage, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones returned to help the Dropkicks close the night out with their tried-and-true cover of The Standells' "Dirty Water."
As the field emptied out, and attendees gradually began to get a grasp on the intensity of what they'd just experienced, The Bosstones and the Dropkicks were already packing up for the next stop on the road. However, with the bands on the bill and the location they utilized, it will be hard for them to recreate what they brought to Lowell. When asked about other shows down the road, Dicky Barrett commented, "This [show] is the pinnacle of whatever mountain we're climbing."
Dropkick Murphys' tour dates available here.
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