It is no exaggeration to say that Boston rockers ‘The Dropkick Murphys’ brought the house down at Rock City on Monday evening with a frenetic, loud and simply outstanding live performance. With 27 songs, fans on stage including one on the mandolin for a time, covers, album tracks new and old and an energy level which spread from the band across the venue as a whole, the gig had absolutely everything, to the extent where the term ‘gig’ perhaps does not do the occasion justice; ‘experience’ would perhaps be closer to the mark.
Being amongst a crowd of a higher average age than myself, and only knowing a few songs in full before attending, it was a step into the unknown and I had no idea what to expect. By the time 3 songs had been played however, in particular the catchy and infectious lyrics of ‘The Boys Are Back’, I was completely immersed in the gig, as was every other person around me, with the band seemingly communicating with each member of the crowd directly as opposed to as a collective and as a consequence achieving the rare feat of making a venue seem smaller than it actually is, and therefore more intimate.
The truth is, as the set progressed it became obvious – despite this being the first time I had been present at one of their shows – that this band are made for live gigs, and that this is the part of their ‘job’ (for want of a better way to put it!) that they wait for, and live for. ‘The State of Massachusetts’ went down a storm, ‘Rose Tattoo’ (yours truly’s personal favourite) was fantastic, their cover of Lulu’s ‘Here Comes The Night’ particularly memorable and unexpected. It would be impossible to go through the explosive, lengthy set song by song, yet it seems unfair to highlight aspects of the gig without making clear that weaknesses elsewhere were non-existent.
The absolute highlights? Their cover of ‘Fields of Athenry’, played at the request of an audience member, is one of the best versions of the popular song you will hear. Their cover of the famous Liverpool anthem ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, once getting over the fact it is very different to the original, is a very good listen. ‘Shipping Up To Boston’, which many know from the soundtrack to the film ‘The Departed’, predictably went down a storm.
But the best of the best of the best (apologies) had to be the lyrically powerful and incredibly well written ‘Worker’s Song’, sung with real emotion by band and audience alike and leaving a lasting impression I would expect on everyone fortunate enough to be present.
Put simply, despite best efforts superlatives cannot do ‘The Dropkick Murphys’ justice in terms of describing their ability to put on a live show. It does not matter whether you are a big fan, only know ‘Shipping Up To Boston’ or haven’t come across any of their music – if you get the chance to see them live, do not pass up the opportunity. You won’t be disappointed.