You knew Ken Casey would go there at some point.
"Just wanted to mention that we won the World Series!," the singer gloated to the sold-out crowd at Stage AE, before tossing in. "Did I mention that we despise the Penguins?!"
It's a Matt Cooke/Marc Savard thing that the Dropkick Murphys founder and singer, sporting a Bruins jersey, will never get over. It prompted a round of boos and a "Let's Go Pens!" chant, and then it was right back into the good spirit of the music.
If we didn't love the Dropkick Murphys, we'd probably hate them.
The Boston band has a second home here, having played Pittsburgh over a dozen times in its 18-year career, and it gave fans a little extra on Saturday night on its St. Patrick's Day tour.
Although the Murphys came with last year's still fresh "Signed and Sealed in Blood," it was a "Do or Die" kind of night with the boys from Boston reaching back to their hard-knuckled debut for no less than nine songs, including both "Finnegan's Wake" and "(F)lannigan's Ball."
Casey and Al Barr traded off raw, growling vocals and led the crowd in barroom sing-alongs while the band roared with that old punk rock vigor. This, by the way, was the first time I remember seeing the Murphys with a screen projecting images rather than just a plain backdrop. Add some flashier lighting and you got a slicker, more professional presentation, for better or worse.
They did four songs from the new album, "Signed and Sealed in Blood," including opener "The Boys Are Back" and "Rose Tattoo," a sing-along that is already greeted like an old classic.
Although you want the show to last, at a Dropkick Murphys gig you look forward to the finish line a little more than usual. After revving up with "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," the band did its classic-rock thing by closing the set with a hearty "Takin' Care of Business," capped with "We're an American Band" and the hey-ho's of "Blitzkrieg Bop."
The girls already knew they had an open invitation on stage for "Kiss Me, I'm S---faced," sung by Casey with boozy swagger. The band was overrun with fans for a particularly wild encore set that rolled on with "Skinhead on the MBTA," AC/DC's "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and the punkest song of the night, "Citizen C.I.A."
Judging by recent set lists, this had to be one of the better climaxes on the tour, which goes to show that the musical bond is stronger than the sports rivalry.
The Murphys got solid support from Skinny Lister, the kind of British folk band that can play Warped Tour, and Lucero, a Southern-fried heartland band from Memphis led by rugged singer Ben Nichols.
The Set List
The Boys Are Back
Black Velvet Band
Famous for Nothing
The Warrior's Code
Far Away Coast
Which Side Are You On?
3rd Man In
Jimmy Collins' Wake
Deeds Not Words
Caught in a Jar
Fields of Athenry
Boys on the Docks
Out of Our Heads
I'm Shipping Up to Boston
Takin' Care of Business/We're an American Band/Blitzkrieg Bop tease
Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced
Skinhead on the MBTA
Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)