In an interview with Jim Rotolo on SiriusXM satellite radio’s E Street Radio channel, Ken Casey of the Boston-based band Dropkick Murphys talked about their 6 p.m. May 29 live stream from Fenway Park, which will include a virtual guest appearance by Bruce Springsteen. The band will perform in the empty Boston stadium, while The Boss will join them from New Jersey.
The collaboration, said Casey, stemmed from a conversation between his manager and Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau.
“I don’t know if (my manager) said it as a straight-up ask or tongue-in-cheek, like, ‘Well, we’ve love to have Bruce,’ ” said Casey. But soon Casey found himself fielding a call from Springsteen himself, asking what what the band wanted him to do.
“After all these years, at the level that he operates, to still be one of the most down-to-earth people in rock ‘n’ roll is just mind-blowing,” said Casey. “I always say that every athlete should have to meet (former Boston Bruins hockey star) Bobby Orr, to see how he conducts himself. And every musician should have to meet Bruce Springsteen. Because I think of all the, you know, snot-nosed little shits who think that they’re gonna be the next something, and they’re already acting like it, as compared to someone like him, who’s achieved everything but still maintains his down-to-earth nature, and humility. It’ll never stop being impressive to me.”
Previously during the pandemic — on St. Patrick’s Day, in fact — Dropkick Murphys did another live stream that raised more than $60,000 for the Boston Resiliency Fund, which supports city residents, including first responders and critical care providers, who have been impacted by COVID-19. The May 29 live stream will raise money, via text donations, for the Boston Resiliency Fund as well as Feeding America and Habitat for Humanity.
At the time of the previous show, said Casey, “I think Massachusetts and Boston was at, like, no gatherings of more than 25 people. So we were able to do a concert with 25 people, meaning the band, crew, and then the necessary production people, and pull off a full production show. And I always think we might have been one of the last ones to do it, because then a day or two later, they dropped everything down and then you saw musicians playing in their living room.
“I don’t know, there’s something about that. It bothered me to see, like, Elton John playing in his driveway, or the Coldplay guy playing on his couch. To see the biggest musicians in the world, stuck in the same boat as all of us, was like, ‘Ughhh.’
“So we said, ‘We want to do another one, but we want it to be full band, and we wanna be electric.’ So obviously we knew we would have to kind of wait until there was some positive news, or at least a flattening of the curve, or a downward trend in cases, which there has been in Massachusetts. And then we’d need to be outdoors, to be able to create the space.”
The logical place was Fenway, at which they had played before, and which is obviously not being used, at the moment, for Red Sox games. Casey said the band can only have 35 people in the stadium, including the musicians and others involved in the show and the streaming. The musicians will line up around the infield, with Casey and fellow lead vocalist Al Barr on either side of the pitcher’s mound.
“I don’t know how it will be for the viewer,” Casey said. “But I know, in my mind, when I’m out there singing, I’m going to be pretending I’m charging a bunt in my head. … I definitely will be doing some kind of slide or some kind of antics.”
The concert will be broadcast on E Street Radio (channel 20 on SiriusXM) and will be shown on Dropkick Murphys social media pages: facebook.com/
Springsteen sang on the traditional Irish song, “Peg o’ My Heart,” on the 2011 Dropkick Murphys album, Going Out in Style. He also performed on that song — as well as “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” (a song that Dropkick Murphys members wrote using lyrics by the late Woody Guthrie) and “Badlands” — at a 2011 Dropkick Murphys show at House of Blues in Boston.
Also, in 2009, Dropkick Murphys member Tim Brennan proposed to his girlfriend at a Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston and sang on “So Young and in Love,” and several Dropkick Murphys members joined the E Street Band for “American Land” and “Glory Days.”
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