Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faraway Adventures: Boston III

Are you tired of Boston stories yet? Choose your own adventure time: If no, continue reading, if yes, come back on Saturday, it will all be over then.
Also, sorry for the typeface/spacing issues. I have tried to fix it, but it just seems happy this way.

It is a shame that people don’t like to hear my punk rock stories, they’re my best ones. Well, except for the alien invasion story, but only certain people get to hear that one.
It would take too long to go into how and why I got into any type of music, but let’s just say that the kid with pink hair and doc martin boots will always be a part of who I am. And that I am grateful for, she’s pretty tough.  Just think of me as a token friend that you can bring up cocktail parties, oh I have punk rock friend who also bakes pies.
The Concert.
But first behold, Fenway Park:

The first band was  the Street Dogs. Fun fact: Mike, the singer was the original singer of the Dropkick Murphys and vocals can be heard on their first album, Do or Die. Street Dogs was formed in 2002, but I didn't see them live until 2004, Kansas City in that club that is behind Kelly's in Westport. Not that anyone knows what I am taking about. 

Rick Barton, the original Dropkick Murphy’s guitar player (first 2 albums), joined them on stage.
The second band was the legendary Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Their set brought back such memories. Remember when ska was all the rage in the late 1990s?  It actually originates in Jamaica in 1950s, but all you really need to know about it is that it is dance music.  I used to go the ska concerts all the time and dance my little heart out. It was fun watching the crowd for the Bosstones set. You can tell who listened to old ska, and who just came in during the third wave. It is all in how you dance.  The band may have looked a little older, I mean most of them have been playing together since the 1980s, but maybe because of that, it was ridiculously great. They still rocked it in the plaid.

 The first time that I saw the MMB was during Warped Tour in Lawrence, KS in 1997. It was at nice grassy park. It was so hot that day, and I was so dehydrated that for most of their set I just laid on the grass in the back and listened. When they played a song I liked, I stood up and clapped, and then went back to lying on the grass.  I have since seen them many times since in well hydrated states of being.  
 And after the MMB I sat down. It takes forever to break the stage down after a ska band.  So let’s continue with a little history:
Because I am a nerd I keep fliers and ticket stubs from all the concerts that I have ever been to. Last night I was trying to remember when the first time that I saw the Dropkick Murphys, so I consulted my archives (don’t call it a scrapbook):
1998. Wow. They weren’t even the opening band, and their name is misspelled.  And they looked like this:
I remember this show. It was pouring outside, and the venue, which was actually an independent movie theater ,was a horrible place to see a band, but as I would find out in a latter show, was pretty easy to sneak into. DKM’s first album had been released earlier in the year, and while they were gaining popularity due to being on the first Hellcat complication cd, they were still pretty unknown, especially out West.   But I still remember thinking, wow, those DKM boys, they have heart.

The were 4 members back then; vocals, guitar, bass, drums. 13 years and 9 albums later, there are 7 members that rotate between vocals, guitars (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, bagpipes, tin whistle, accordion, piano, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and probably other instruments I can't think of. Though they will also be a punk band at heart, they infuse a lot of not only Celtic instruments and sounds but also the art of storytelling through song.
Ok, they finally got the stage set up, back to the show.   DKM knows how to make an entrance. They always play the same four songs before they come on to build up excitement. So I knew that when Foggy Dew started playing that we were minutes away. Then the spotlight shines on the Green Monster, and if you squint, you could see the band walk across the famous left field wall and down the stadium steps and then on the field and then they are on stage HOORAY!
 I took a few pictures, just to prove that I was there for posterity and still not stuck in the bathroom, but then I put the camera away and just enjoyed the show. Plus the darker it gets the snarkier my zoom becomes. Sadly, a lot of the crowd didn’t follow suit and spent a great deal of the night taking pictures of themselves, to I assume, post on Facebook. Oh the youth of today, I shake my fist at you!
Behold a Rock n' Roll Rainbow! 

This one l like to call--Guitar: Inferred. In reality, the flash went bizarro.

 One of the things that I love and appreciate about the Dropkick Murphys, and is that even after selling out every single show for the last several years, and having a song featured in a Martin Scorsese film*, they still seem humbled by their success. The warm interaction with the crowd is still there, the heart is still there.
 Fantastic show. The majority of songs came from their newest album, but they did pull songs from all their albums, including an acoustic set. And if you were you wondering if it possible to play the banjo and the harmonica at the same time, the answer is yes. I saw it with my own eyes.  Mike from the Street Dogs, and the whole Bosstones crew joined them on stage for a ramshackle of an encore.
As absolutely corny as it sounds, I am pretty happy that I have been able to witness their journey from opening band in small clubs to playing before 9000+ people at Fenway Park.  I use to think that along with death and taxes, Dropkick Murphys touring was a sure thing. But I know that sooner rather than later the band will decide that they probably want to see their children grow up and stop touring, so I am sure to take in every show.
*The featured song was "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," and it was in the movie, The Departed. The lyrics are actually a unpublished Woody Gurthie piece. Guthrie's daughter, Nora, came to DKM and offered it to them, hoping to introduce her father's work to a new generation. 

In case you missed it:  Boston I, Boston II, Boston IV, Good-bye Boston

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