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Watch Bruce Springsteen’s Rock with Dropkick Murphys on Fenway

With eight musicians in their current touring incarnation – bagpipes much included – Boston roots-punk gods, Dropkick Murphys is one of the only bands that practically qualifies as a mass collection in its own right. But with theirs Streaming Outta Fenway show Friday night, they managed to put on the highest, most joyous show of the pandemic era – with the help of Bruce Springsteen – while following with admirable rigor to socially distancing guidelines. All that was required was a eerie empty Fenway Park, some cameras (most on flying drones) and a home-legend from the home who joined from the studio on his farm in New Jersey.

The band spread out on the baseball diamond, with drummer Matt Kelly holding down the other bass ̵

1; only co-lead singers Al Barr and Ken Casey streamed onto the field and took care to stay apart. “It’s just Dropkick Murphy’s here sneaking in Fenway for a little concert,” Casey said. The band played a full-length set, from the excellent new Clash tribute “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” to a fiery “Amazing Grace” to the inevitable “Shipping Out to Boston.” Towards the end, Casey asked, “Is New Jersey in the house?” and there was Springsteen on the Diamond Vision screen, ready for his first connected, full-band performance since the pandemic began.

They started with “Rose Tattoo”, a 2013 song that the band Springsteen had previously collaborated with, and then dropped into Springsteen’s very Dropkicks-ish / Pogues-like composition “American Land” with their ever-relevant message: “They died to come here a hundred years ago / they are still dying now / The hands that built the country / we always try to hold down. ”

It was ever so bittersweet to see a band that thrives on live call-and-response games to silence, and equally to see how much energy Springsteen put alone on his farm instead of in front of a crowding crowd of tens of thousands. But it was still a miracle – a great live rock concert, at a time when such things started to feel impossible. The show benefited three charities: Boston Resiliency Fund, Habitat for Humanity Greater Boston and Feeding America.

(The Springsteen segment can be seen starting at 2:14:00.)

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