CONCERT REVIEW: THE DROPKICK MURPHYS Turn Intensity Dial to 20 with Raucous, Memorable Performance (Revolution Live – March, 8th 2022)

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After several years chronicling live shows as a photo-journalist, it’s hard to get surprised by a live act performance, even more so if you have had the chance to witness the greatness of bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer, Metallica, Ghost, Judas Priest, Megadeth and many others… Or so I thought.

Enter The Dropkicks Murphys.

First, let me describe the situation I found myself in: I had arrived to one of the venues in Fort Lauderdale I have visited the most in the past decade: Revolution Live. Immediately I realized the band wasn’t playing in the indoor stage, but at the outside stage. One of the security guys said: “They moved the show to outdoors because it is sold out.” And indeed you could hardly see any space amongst the crowd, with fans of an ample range of ages almost piling up one unto another. The photo pit was extremely narrow, and it’d become even more so as you moved to the left of the stage, barely leaving space for one photographer to stand. I looked around assessing the best spot to position myself at, and remember thinking: “Well, this is far from being the usual setup, so let’s hope it is worth it”
The Dropkick Murphys
Shortly after one of the band-members climbed to the right of the drum riser and a mournful wail of a bagpipe cut through the air, with the crowd rapidly recognizing the beginning to “Cadence to Arms,” and cheering at unison. As the bagpipe solo ended and the guitars and drums started in, one interesting phenomena occurred in front of my eyes: quietness left the venue to never return for two hours, as the audience came to life with people pushing, jumping, and dancing to the beat, in what I can’t describe with other words than some sort of a rapture, an induced musical frenzy.
The Dropkick Murphys
“Do or Die” was the first song in the setlist, and it literally opened the floodgates to a level of raucous dynamism that swiftly turned into a spectacularly dense combination of sing-alongs and non-stop energy, by both the band and the fans. Vocalist Ken Casey – filling in for singer Al Barr while he tends to his mother’s health – probably loses three or four pounds a night, because the moment he hits the stage he sort of become a possessed, wicked and unhinged animal, bouncing around, running between his band-mates, coming up-front (he was literally almost on-top of my cameras many times), putting one of his legs on top of the barricade and pointing the mic at the crowd, with the songs verses enthusiastically belted back at him.
The Dropkick Murphys
The rest of the band certainly paired Casey‘s intensity, with the various instruments on display (I counted piccolo, banjo, accordion and bagpipes besides the usual guitars, bass and drums) gelling together cohesively and loud. Blood pumping notes mixed with hand clapping, foot stomping and upbeat Celtic/punk melodies, creating such an intense atmosphere that at some point, and without even realizing I put my camera down to simply enjoy what was unveiling in front of my eyes.
The Dropkick Murphys
Things got a bit hotter than usual as the band was mid-way through “Turn up That Dial,” when a fight started in the audience and the band stopped playing. Fortunately, the brawl did not escalate and the show continued, with the men on stage blazing through a set-list of 22 songs, including staples like “Rose Tattoo,” and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.” The sweating and roaring crowd didn’t stop singing and asking for more, all the way to the encore comprised by the double-feature of “Worker’s Song” and the anthemic “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

After such an energy-draining experience and with the airwaves still reverberating, the fans slowly abandoned the venue, yet I’m sure they will return to chant the infamous “Let’s go Murphys” every time DKM comes to South Florida. And whenever that happens I’ll be amongst them.

THE DROPKICK MURPHYS Setlist:

The Foggy Dew (The Chieftains song – Payed over PA) / Cadence / Do or Die / Barroom Hero / The Boys Are Back / Blood / Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya / Turn Up That Dial / Middle Finger / Caps and Bottles / Boys on the Docks / We Shall Overcome / The State of Massachusetts / Good as Gold / Queen of Suffolk County / Curse of a Fallen Soul / Police on My Back (The Equals cover) / Cruel / Going Out in Style / Caught in a Jar (with Jesse Ahern) / The Body of an American (The Pogues cover) / The Dirty Glass (with Jen Razavi) / Rose Tattoo / Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced

Encore:

Worker’s Song / I’m Shipping Up to Boston

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