Dropkick Murphys 20th anniversary show almost authentically Irish

The Dropkick murphys celebrate their 20th anniversary with a gig at the Orpheum theater.

Dropkick Murphys performance was a succes.


Dropkick Murphys performance was a succes.

Sabrina French, Photo Editor

The American-Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys made an appearance on February 21st at the Orpheum Theater in Madison. The band, originating from Quincy, Massachusetts, includes members Ken Casey and Al Barr on vocals, James Lynch and Tim Brennan on guitar, Scruffy Wallace on bagpipes, and Matt Kelly on drums. I, being a very enthusiastic fan of the band, bought tickets for the Madison show as soon as I saw the announcement.

The night of the show, accompanied by my cousin and brother, I made the hour-and-a-half trek out to Madison. When we arrived at the venue, there was already a line forming around the block. We quickly got in line and waited for the doors to open at 7:00 p.m. The line moved slowly, but eventually we entered the large building and went through security. The inside of the theater resembled the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee with many ornate chandeliers and victorian-esque architecture.

As balcony filled in with people  we secured a spot on the floor. The majority of the fans being over the age of 30, were passing out beer and socializing before the opening band started.

At about 7:30 p.m., Darkbuster, a punk rock band also hailing from Massachusetts, came on stage and opened with a 45-minute set. At that point, the floor had become comfortably filled in and the energy was high. A few people were attempting to start a mosh pit but most were hesitant to join.

After Darkbuster left the stage, there was about a 20 minute break before the next opening band, Tiger Army, started their set. This psychobilly band was complete with old-school electric guitars and a stand­up electric bass. During their set, more people began moshing in the middle of the floor. Tiger Army drove the crowd and was the perfect warmup for the main band.

Around 9:00 p.m., Dropkick Murphys introduced their appearance on stage with a documentary to commemorate their 20-year anniversary. The documentary included clips from past shows as well as interviews and commentary from the band.

With the crowd getting restless, the documentary cut and the Dropkick Murphys barreled on stage. They kicked off the show with one of their most popular songs, “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya,” and the audience went insane. Immediately the mosh pit pushed to the front and everyone slammed into each other. Fighting to keep my spot in the second row was a struggle; the moshing didn’t let up during the entire show. The band played a 22-song, two-hour set even though it didn’t seem nearly that long.

When the stage went dark, the crowd calmed a bit but started chanting for an encore. Not long after the vigorous chanting, the band came back on stage. I was completely unaware of this at the time, but it was apparently a tradition for all the girls in the front of the crowd to go up on stage during the encore. During the encore a very large man next to me leaned down and asked me if I wanted to go up.

When I looked back at the stage, masses of girls were being lifted up by the crowd and thrown over the railing onto the stage. I spotted my cousin on already dancing on stage and turned back to the man next to me. He picked me up by my waist and lifted me over the row into the arms of a security guard who helped me onto the stage.

For the encore the band ripped into “Kiss Me I’m **** Faced,” while all of the girls sang with them on stage. They played four songs before ending the show. Afterwards we were escorted out by the roadies with the rest of the crowd. Before being shuffled out, I managed to get a selfie with Ken Casey.

The show was extremely rowdy, as expected, and the concert left everyone disheveled, including the band. The band made it feel like they were one with audience, screaming and moshing just like their fans. Their energy reflected that of the crowd, making the whole experience unforgettable.