It turns out that the biggest conflict in my schedule came on the final day, between the final two shows I would see and TMBG won out over Dropkick Murphys. It was not an easy decision by any means. However I was still able to catch the last 40 minutes of the Murphys, and it was probably the best performance I saw.
I got to This Tent just as James Lynch sank his pick into the first notes of “Famous For Nothing,” the opening salvo off The Murphys’ 2007 record The Meanest of Times. This hard rocking number caused multiple pits to open within the crowd, expanding its border further toward the outskirts and denying me any chance of getting close to the stage.
I strolled around to the left side of the tent and saw my opening. Matt Kelly clubbed the opening drum hits to “Worker’s Song” and I charged into the sea of black and green. By the songs end I had squirmed my way 20 from the stage. Victory was mine.
As reward for my efforts Ken Casey, the bassist and only remaining original member of the band, sang the opening verse to my favorite Murphys’ song “Black Velvet Band.”
We stepped into the way back machine when Scruffy Wallace sunk his breath into the opening pipe play of “Barroom Hero,” a classic Murphys song off the band’s 1998 studio debut Do Or Die. I’ve never been punched in the face so hard. I didn’t give a shit either. That dude and I wound up hugging by the end of the show.
The band sped through “Captain Kelly’s Kitchen” and “Flannigan’s Ball” en route to their ode to the Boston Red Sox “Tessie.” As a Yankee fan I should despise such a piece of music but I can’t. My musical taste won’t allow it. It’s a damn fine song led by the collaboration of a beautiful piano lick, AC/DC-like hard rock guitar, and Scruffy’s superb pipe work. I challenge you to listen to this song and not get amped. You can’t help it.
The band’s unity song “Forever” was up next, a slow bag pipe heavy track with an elongated, single word chorus of “forever,” built for the audience’s vocal accompaniment.
The band closed the show with “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” the track made famous by Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. The Murphys took a bow and exited stage right but the crowd didn’t budge. We wanted another song and were prepared to yell as loud as it took to get it. And eventually the band emerged with an encore to the tune of “Kiss Me I’m Shitfaced.” It was the perfect way to end the best weekend I’ve ever lived.