Green shirts and Guinness drafts dotted the sold-out crowd for the Dropkick Murphys’ Upstate Concert Hall stop, promoting their eighth studio album, Signed and Sealed in Blood. The band have raised more than $400,000 to aid victims of the Boston Marathon bombings by donating proceeds from merchandise and raffle tickets sold on tour. The tragedy hit home for the band, who originated from nearby Quincy. In addition to their tour fundraising, they also recorded a charity track titled “Rose Tattoo” with Bruce Springsteen.
Midway through their set, the band fooled the crowd into thinking that Springsteen was actually there. The letdown was only temporary, though, as the rowdy nature of the band picked spirits back up.
The set kicked off with the “The Boys Are Back,” a single off of their new album. Immediately, the crowd started chanting the lyrics in an Irish drinking-song style. Without a pause, they played “Prisoner’s Song,” also on the new record and, at the end, lead singer Al Barr said, “This is like being in Massachusetts,” while the crowd chanted “Dropkick Murphys.” In reply, the band continued to deliver one fast punk beat after another. Almost everyone was clapping and singing along in time.
“Can you beat Long Island?” Barr asked, before the band played “The Warrior’s Code,” compelling the crowd to start the entire first verse of the song. This crowd knew every album and every song religiously. “We truly have the best fans in the world,” said Barr.
Later, longtime lead singer and bassist Ken Casey stepped up and said, “If you don’t know this next one, you’re a retard.” The band jumped right into “I’m Shipping Out to Boston,” and the crowd exploded.
Toward the end of the set, Dropkick Murphys gathered as many fans as they could fit on the stage. Everyone standing next to the band was smiling and chanting along with the music. They played “End of the Night” from Signed and Sealed in Blood to signal their closing, but knew they couldn’t stop there. A rowdy sing-along of AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds” and their own “Citizen CIA” off of The Warrior’s Code closed things out.
Notable opening acts included Canadian Irish-punk band the Mahones, who began playing 23 years ago. The five-piece band have a similar sound to the Dropkick Murphys with instruments including accordion, harmonica and mandolin. The crowd cheered and chanted along when they played “Whiskey in the Jar.” The Mahones were extremely well received and got everyone fired up for the main event. Before the Mahones were rock band the Dirty Drunken Bastards. It was a good night to be Irish.