Dropkick Murphys

Live on St. Patrick's Day From Boston, MA

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Great live albums accomplish two things: They show how an artist sounds in real life (or something close to it) and they make you wish that you were there the night they recorded this gig. By this measure, Live on St. Patrick's Day From Boston, MA is one of the best of the breed. You may have to go back to Live at Leeds to catch this kind of stage energy. Dropkick Murphys, working-class heroes in blue-collar Boston, crash through their set with hair-raising exuberance. Their sound, a muscular collision of punk and traditional Irish elements, connects directly with the crowd, whose presence is never lost in the mix; throughout the set the band welcomes relatives in the balcony, runs footage of old Boston Bruins hockey games as a video backdrop, opens the stage to a bunch of step-dancers, brings a guy up from the audience to propose to his girl as the crowd roars its approval (the girl, no fool, says yes), and invites any woman in the crowd to join them as their massive, beer-swilling piper, Spicy McHaggis, plays a jig. ("His pipes are gigantic, and so is his schlong," Al Barr yells as the band thunders merrily.) From the opening moments, a stirring skirl provided by the Boston Police Gaelic Column Pipes & Drums, to a final chant of "Let's go, Murphys!" performed in the wreckage that follows the finale, Live on St. Patrick's Day From Boston, MA is ultimately a raucous, brawling, and sentimental testament of love between a band and their perfectly matched audience.

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