Mar 12, 2016

Getting your money's worth

This 'review' is a follow-up on the last one.  This one proves the previous one correct.

Let's begin with revisiting how I ended up with tickets to see the 20th Anniversary Tour of Dropkick Murphys at Webster Hall.  A comment made to a friend about the ticket prices for Adam Lambert's tour was the catalyst.  My exact words were "I bet I can find TWO GA tickets for a better show for the same price as ONE NOSEBLEED ticket Adam.  To be honest, balcony seats for the Foxwoods show were $45.  There were actually some mid to rear Orchestra seats for Adam that were only $65 which is what I did end up buying.  However, I did get two tickets for Dropkick for $70.  I also ended up selling one of those tickets and did not rip off my buyer because I knew that people that wanted tickets for this sold-out show are as dedicated fans as I am so I only charged the face value of the ticket.

Ok, so like I just said, this show was sold out. Yes, the venue was a third the size of the Foxwood Theater.  But the Dropkick's show the following night at Mohegan Sun Arena which holds 10,000 to the 4,000 seats at Foxwoods which was also sold out.  There are no seats at Webster Hall so one cannot compare people's complaints about standers.  However, I can assure you that those complaints were not heard at Mohegan in the part of the arena that does have bleacher seating.  In fact if there were complaints the standers would turn and tell the complainers to get up and join the party.  We'll get back to that part later.

Thursday night's show included two opening acts and one headliner.  There were those who queued up much earlier in the afternoon to assure a spot at the barricade.  Those folks and others who showed up by 7 p.m got to experience the first band.  I chose to take a 4:30 train into the city and enjoy the gorgeous weather by walking a little farther east in the Village to enjoy a hot dog at Crif's and a hot fudge sundae at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.  Having missed the 7:40 M8 bus on 9th Street I walked off most of that food and arrived at the venue just before 8.  Apparently Tiger Army went on at 7:45 so I missed a little of their set but what I did catch was so good.  The crowd was definitely into their brand of 50's inspired punk rock.  They definitely had the crowd ready for the headliner whose set started at 8:45 sharp.  Let's compare that the one opening act for Adam who started his set exactly on time at 8 p.m., finished at 8:45 and the headliner making the crowd wait until 9:17.  Keep in mind there was only keyboards and a drum kit to clear from the stage for Alex Newell and most of Adam's equipment was already set up.  Although Tiger Army had very little to disconnect and clear out there was quite a bit to ready the stage for Dropkick Murphys.  Yet the stage was completely turned over in less than 15 minutes.

Dropkick's set started with a photo and video montage of their 20 year history.  It was interesting to experience it in a majority NY/NJ crowd.  My previous DKM experience was at Mohegan Sun so the crowd skewed more New England.  Thursday night there was a lot of boos when images of the Red Sox, the Bruins and the Revolution were projected but one could tell that it wasn't feelings towards the band just that old New England/NY Metro sports rivalry thing.  If there was any doubt, one only had to experience the entire crowd singing along boisterously to "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" which has become the Bruins theme song. 

And there was a lot of singing and dancing and moshing and crowd surfing.  Glasses (plastic cups and beer cans) were raised high for "The Gang's All Here", "The Rose Tattoo" and other favorites.  The band played the first, second and third songs they ever recorded.  They shared a brand new song from the 9th album Ken announced they are going into the studio to record when the tour is over.  Ken and Al worked the crowd shaking hands, high fives, sticking mics in the pit for sing-alongs.  The main set ended at around 10:10 after granting the request of a fan in the pit to come up on stage and play in with the band despite the promise of an "atomic wedgie" if he sucked...he didn't.  Then it was about 4 minutes of cheering and chants before the band came back out for the encore which consisted of three songs included the tradition of "Kiss Me I'm Shitfaced" with the ladies climbing on stage, followed by the rest of "the pit" taking the stage for the last number.  The night ended at around 10:40 so I was able to catch the 11:27 home. 

Yes, I know.  It may not be fair to compare a punk rock GA show to a pop solo artist at a casino theater show.  But there are some merits that can be compared.  First is the crowd.  Since writing that last review it dawned on me that "Glamberts" are there for themselves.  It's all about them and not about Adam or his music.  He can never invite fans on stage due to the chances that at least one would be one of them who would behave completely inappropriately.  However, at both the Dropkick shows I have attended, everyone is there for the band.  So when they are invited to the stage or Ken comes out in the crowd, there are hugs, high fives, selfies taken.  No groping.  No sexual suggestions. No one embarrasses him or themselves even if they are drunk and sing off-key.  It's all fun.

Which brings us to all being connected for that short couple of hours.  There were definite divisions in Adam's base at the show I attended.  Whereas, even though there were people at last night's show that traveled from New England states and there was the sports rivalry thing, when the music started we were all one bonded community.  Nobody got pissy about giving up their spot for a few seconds to let someone who was balancing three cups of beer back to theirs.  No one bitched about getting a little wet and sticky from one of those not quite empty cups flying over their head toward the stage a bit later.  The folks in the pit moved crowd surfers and either joined in moshing or moved to a spot to continue to just watch and sing.  We had a good time, ebbing and flowing, together as a group. 

The only downside of Thursday's show is the one drawback to Webster Hall all the time.  That damned marble staircase.  It is treacherous enough by itself but when it's covered in beer, booze, water, etc. and attempting to be navigated by people who have been drinking the afore mentioned alcoholic beverages it becomes even crazier.  Once out on the street though everything was fine and everyone I heard from the show on the way to the subway had had an awesome time.  No one bitching about the person in front of them being too tall or jumping around too much.  No complaints about a single song encore. 

In conclusion, did I get my $35 worth?  And then some. The staff at Webster Hall is always great.  I could have purchased a t-shirt for under $20.  Or I could have supported the Claddagh Fund and bought one of their shirts for less than $25.  I got a show in a great venue with a great sound system and great techs operating it.  The only time I got lights in my face were the crowd lights when the band wanted to see our happy faces participating in every part of the show.  I got two and a half hours of great music written by the same people who performed it.

I look forward to an equally positive report about seeing Jukebox the Ghost on 3/24 at the Bowery Ballroom.  I've never been to that venue before so I can't say for certain.  But JTG never disappoints.