In 2017 the Dropkick Murphys and Rancid embarked on the Boston To Berkeley tour, which proved to be one the best packaged summer tours. Due to schedules and then a pandemic, it wouldn’t be until 2021 that we see the Boston To Berkeley II tour and just like the first time around the tour proved to still be one of the best packaged tour.
For the 2021 tour, there was only one opener from coast to coast unlike the first tour which was split with different bands on each coast. Let it be because of schedules or having less people on tour due to the pandemic, this year’s opener was The Bronx. A few days before the Philadelphia date The Bronx would have released their latest album, VI which if you know the Bronx this album is another great straight up rock and roll hardcore album. The Bronx are a band that gets in and gets out, but not without getting the crowd moving around. Unfortunately, again due to the pandemic, lead singer Matt Caughthran will go into the middle of the crowd for two songs and sing with everyone while moshing around. In this case Matt asked the crowd to jump as high and much as they could to make up for him not going into the crowd. Even though Matt didn’t join in the crowd, the energy was still felt and the Bronx did a great job warming the crowd up for Dropkick Murphys.
Unlike the previous Boston To Berkeley Philadelphia tour date Dropkick Murphys weren’t the headliner and instead came on after The Bronx. In April Dropkick Murphys released their tenth studio album Turn Up That Dial which is a personal favorite out of all their albums. At least seven songs from the album were performed and during the set Ken Casey said they have been giving out two vinyl copies of the album to kids. Philly got four free albums though because there were birthdays being celebrated, but in Philly fashion the crowd badger the each other and asked to see I.D.’s. Ken’s response to this was, “really, an I.D. on a five your old?” Philadelphia can be a tough crowd and Ken explained that’s why he likes Philadelphia. Reminds him of home, both cities are tough and have a strong bond to their sports teams, even though we know which one is the best. This comment brought the boo’s, but it was in all good fun. As Dropkick Murphys continued through their set, playing the new songs had a great reaction from the crowd, which proves how loyal their fans are. “Mick Jones Nicked My Pudding” had one of the biggest pit going besides “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” and “The State of Massachusetts”. However, one highlight of the set was the sober ballad “I Wish You Were Here”, the slowest song in their set, but a beautiful song that I’m glad it was played. As Dropkick Murphys ended their set with “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”, Ken Casey said he only had one regret for tonight and that was not having the Philadelphia Phillies mascot Gritty come on stage. Philly beat Boston in having a better mascot, and maybe next time when the boys from Boston come back to Philly Gritty can join them on stage.
Rancid closed out the night with a lightening fast 25 song set. Since they didn’t have a new album out during this run, their set list was primary filled with …Out Come The Wolves. About 11 songs from the album was played, but Rancid made sure to touch on at least one song from each album. Half way through their set Ken Casey and James Lynch of Dropkick Murphys joined in on “Harry Bridges”. As Ken put it both bands are working class bands and the song Harry Bridges is about a working class citizen and that is the song they wanted to sing together on. The rest of Rancid’s set was quick, but the crowd didn’t give up in dancing through each number and the band played flawlessly to the last note. This show proves yet again that this tour is one of the best co-headliner tours out there, and hopefully we don’t have to wait another four years for it to happen again.