Shipping up to the Falls
RAPIDS THEATRE: Dropkick Murphys come to town.
By Thom Jennings
Special to the Union-Sun & Journal
Boston’s Dropkick Murphys will open their tour in support of their new album, “Going Out in Style,” at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls on Wednesday. The album’s official release date is March 1.
The Dropkick Murphys formed in 1996 and, through hard work and relentless touring, they garnered a devout following. They achieved national success with the song, “I’m Shipping up to Boston” which became a hit after it was included in the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese’s 2006 Academy Award-winning film, “The Departed.”
Dropkick Murphys lead singer Al Barr recently shared some recollections about the band’s biggest hit.
“I remember reading the e-mail from our manager saying Martin Scorsese was making a movie about an Irish mob and was considering using one of our songs,” Barr said. “I never thought it would happen but even when it did, I had no idea how prominent it would be in the film. We had played it once before the movie came out and it didn’t go over well. I remember coming offstage and somebody in the band said, ‘Let’s never play that song live again.’
“It was about three months after the movie came out that we started playing it live again and the crowd went crazy. We had built a strong following through our touring and there wasn’t that backlash from the fans that some bands deal with. Nobody accused us of selling out — our fans were just happy for us.”
The band had reason to be happy — the song went on to sell well over a million units even though it never charted higher than 101 on the Billboard charts.
Another of the band’s signature songs is their version of “Tessie,” which became a theme song for the Boston Red Sox during the 2004 World Series campaign and was later featured in the movie “Fever Pitch,” which starred Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore.
“The first time we played ‘Tessie’ at Fenway they rolled us out on this stage and you could have heard a pin drop. I heard people saying, ‘Who the heck are these guys?’ They just wanted to watch baseball,” Barr said.
As much as Red Sox fans love the song, it raised the ire of Yankee fans at one performance.
“We played Irving Plaza (in New York City) shortly after the series in 2004 and we brought along a video screen for behind the stage. We broadcast highlights of the Yanks and Sox series to play during ‘Tessie’ and the crowd went from eating out of our hands to full beers soaring past our heads,” Barr said.
Barr said fans attending the Niagara Falls show can expect to hear five or six songs from “Going Out in Style” and up to twenty from the band’s back catalogue.
“As a touring band we are excited to have some new songs to play, especially from a new album we love. We are excited to be playing live again. It’s been awhile because we took some time off to make the record,” Barr said. “We don’t start out with a firm set list. There are times when one of us is walking around before the show and a fan will ask us to play a song because they just got married, a relative passed or somebody is in Afghanistan and we will literally learn it at sound check.”
The new album features plenty of the band’s trademark blend of Celtic sounds mixed with hard driving guitars, and it also has a special guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen on the song “Peg O’ My Heart.”
“We met Bruce Springsteen back in 2007; it was his son that was into us. He’s been backstage at our shows, we’ve been backstage at his shows, and we developed a friendship there. We figured we’d ask him to be on the album but didn’t think he’d do it,” Barr said of the guest appearance.
What was it like to work with a legend like Bruce Springsteen?
“Even though he is this big superstar, he treats everybody the same. He is a real down-to-earth guy and that surprised me,” Barr said.
Tickets for the Wednesday show are available through Ticketmaster and the “Going Out in Style” album can be pre-ordered from the band’s official website, dropkickmurphys.com.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Dropkick Murphys concert
WHEN: 7 p.m., Wednesday
WHERE: The Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls