BOSTON TO BERKELEY II TOUR: A Parent's Perspective (Show Review)
On Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 veteran punk rockers Dropkick Murphys and Rancid rolled into the rainy and dreary steel city of Pittsburgh, well Washington PA to the Wild Things baseball stadium. It was the first time that any of the bands, including opening act The Bronx, have been back to the city since before the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 hit. It was however the second time that the seasoned punks teamed up to deliver one hell of a show with the first Boston to Berkeley Tour back in 2017.
At around 6pm the doors opened to the Washington Wild Things stadium. Drenched and eager punk rockers who stood in line with the rain pelting them for nearly an hour, piled into the venue looking for shelter, maybe a clean shirt and a $16 beer. The layout of the Wild Things Stadium was something special. It was my first show at the baseball field and a hope to be many more. The dugout was lined with merchandise tents and places to buy alcohol while directly across the outfield stood an erect stage with amplifiers and speakers covered in giant sheets of plastic as a protection from the onlooking storm.
Mother Nature doesn't stop punk rock as the opening act, The Bronx took the stage. With amps still wrapped in plastic, the band put on one hell of a set, inciting the ever so classic punk rock mosh pit, while humbly thanking the fans for showing up on such a dreary day while getting pelted in the face with rain themselves. The band and fans dealt with the relentless storm as there was a clearing just as the band finished their last song.
In between sets, the plastic was peeled back and a roar from the fans seemed enough approval as a green drumset with the Rancid logo appeared from behind the drapes. After the brief intermission, of course, the rain started back up just before Rancid took stage who ripped through over 25 years of punk rock music. The band played all of the usual suspects with songs like Maxwell Murder and Ruby Soho from ...And Out Come The Wolves to songs with that familiar Hammond B-3 organ sound like Hooligans and Fall Back Down with singer/guitarist Lars Fredericksen joking that "this next song wouldn't sound as cool without our keyboard player, so give it up for him." The rain came to an abrupt stop right as Rancid played the last few remaining songs of their set, thanking fans for putting up with the rain and welcoming Rancid back with open arms after such a bad year in 2020 as well as always thanking them for "their time, their patience, their voices, and their applause."
In between sets, the floodlights to the Wild Things Stadium turned on to a small abrupt "approval roar" from the crowd. With the lights lit, it was amazing to see all of the faces of fans, most notably the multi-generational demographic of the audience. It was great to see 75-year-old tattooed punks who not only brought along their sons and daughters to the show but also grandkids who sported band shirts and studded punk vests while during the Murphys set were all seen singing along together, even being a 7-year-old singing the lyrics to "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" next to his dad and grandfather.
The boys from Boston hit the stage with not a drop of rain falling from the sky to an erupt crowd of Washington Wild Things Park opening with, appropriately "The Boys Are Back" with Al Barr and Ken Casey dishing out dueling vocals on the mic. The band ripped through 3 tracks L-EE-B-O-Y, Turn Up That Dial, and Middle Finger from their newest album "Turn Up That Dial" before darting back into the sing-a-long catalog with songs "The State of Massachusettes" and "Worker's Song". The set was a good mixture of old and new, sporting familiar tunes with new ones from Turn Up That Dial in the mix.
The band thanked all of the fans for coming out, admitting it was their first time back in The Steel City since before the pandemic, and enjoying the previous day off in the city. The back half of Dropkick's set were all fan favorites with Johnny I Hardly Knew Ya, Rose Tattoo, and Going Out In Style before closing out with the ever-so-popular and aforementioned "I'm Shipping Up To Boston."
The Boston To Berkeley II Tour was my first show back post-pandemic as well as a lot of concertgoers that day. Rain or shine, fans flocked by droves to see their favorite punk band proving that live music and punk rock will never die.
Rancid and Dropkick Murphy's with The Bronx are on tour now. Check out a list of tour dates below!
You can check out info on RANCID & DKM in the links below:
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