The St. Paddy’s Day celebrations started a week early here in the Queen City as the one and only Dropkick Murphys made a stop at the Fillmore on their “St. Patrick’s Day” 2018 Tour. The atmosphere inside the venue was rife with excitement as fans eagerly anticipated a night of rock and roll craziness from their favorite Celtic punk band. While the stage was being prepped, I took a look around to see a sea of green as everyone seemed to have a Dropkick Murphys tee shirt or some sort of Irish garb. There were more than a few men clad in kilts some going so far as sporting metallic green in their beards. The age of the crowd was very mixed with both young and old and some even generational families who had come to take in the show.
At 9:30 sharp, the venue lights dimmed as the taped music of Sinead O’Connor’s “The Foggy Dew,” began to play. The lights came on behind the curtain covering the stage and soon you could see the band member’s silhouettes as they kicked things off with “The State of Massachusetts,” before the curtain dropped as the band stood atop risers at the rear of the stage. They quickly ran down and took their various positions with lead vocalist Al Barr front and center. The music was thumping and the crowd was jumping as the frenzied pace of the show began in earnest. A rousing version of “The Boys Are Back” was up next as Barr jumped to the barricade fist bumping fans and singing to a lucky few. It was cool to see him interacting with the crowd which he continued to do throughout the night. Ken Casey was a powerhouse as he traded vocal leads with Barr slinging his bass and running from side to side. The Murphys are true showmen and had the audience eating out of their hand early on.
The crowd was definitely fired up with people dancing, jumping, and crowd surfing at a fevered pace. The setlist was varied and offered up songs from all the Dropkick albums with five songs coming from their latest offering “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory.” Of course there were a few covers thrown in as well with the traditional “I Had a Hat” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” Barr kept the mood lighthearted except for a moment when he dedicated a number to a member of the Dropkick Murphys family that had recently passed away. He also talked briefly about the band’s charity and urged people to drink up for a good cause which they did as the lines at the bars were deep all night long.
Touring member Lee Forshner was dressed in traditional Irish garb as he played the bagpipes with a flourish and guitarists Tim Brennan and Jeff Da Rosa alternated instruments throughout the set with Brennan picking up the accordion and Da Rosa donning the banjo. Everyone was hot and sweaty and having a fantastically good time as the set closed with the spirited “Captain Kelly’s Kitchen.” Even after twenty plus tunes, the audience hadn’t gotten their fill and the Dropkick Murphys returned to raise the roof with “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” and the final song of the evening, the appropriate choice of “Until the Next Time.”
What a night! If you haven’t seen Dropkick Murphys live, get in gear and get tickets to the show nearest you. You won’t regret it. The band is not only talented but they really go the extra mile to make sure everyone is having a good time. They truly gave it all and then some which is just what a great rock show should be. St. Patrick’s Day will have come and gone and Charlotte fans will still be talking about the night they went to the Dropkick Murphys’ show. Bravo!
The State of Massachusetts
The Boys Are Back
I Had a Hat (Traditional cover)
Rebels with a Cause
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
Famous for Nothing
First Class Loser
Paying My Way
The Warrior’s Code
Boys on the Docks
Caught in a Jar
Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
Sunday Hardcore Matinee
Captain Kelly’s Kitchen
I’m Shipping Up To Boston
Until The Next Time
We would like to thank both Ashley Di Buduo from A12 Entertainment and Kristine Ashton-Magnuson from Ashton-Magnuson Media for the credentials to review the show.