Opening Allentown Fair’s 170th year was Dropkick Murphys and The Bouncing Souls. Two influential bands that could’ve easily made this show a co-headline show. However, The Bouncing Souls stuck to a quick 45 minute set, and played some of their most well known songs. From “Hopeless Romantic” to “Kids And Heroes”, as the sun set in the background, the fairgrounds started filling up and crowd surfers caught a few waves. Ending their set with “Gone” couldn’t have been more perfect, with the sun setting in the background the only thing missing would’ve been the sound of the ocean.
As the sun disappeared and the night took its place, the Dropkick Murphys exploded onto to the stage with “Cadence To Arms”. However, when they played the “The Boys Are Back”, it was like the crowd increased their energy 100% more, which only makes sense since the last time Dropkick Murphys played Allentown was in 2007 at now demolished Crocodile Rock. The Allentown crowd has been waiting for the boys from Boston to come back, but before they played their cover of “We Shall Overcome” originally by Pete Seegar, Ken Casey took two minutes to speak his mind. What he said would eventually become viral, but what isn’t shown is prior to his speech Ken asked a fan in the crowd to take off his shirt in order for him to give him a Dropkick Murphy’s shirt. What was on the shirt was never said, but based off Ken’s speech about how they support the police and military, but not the “Greatest Swindler in History”, it can only be assumed what was printed on the shirt. The amount of times I’ve seen Dropkick Murphys, I’ve never seen this energy come out of the band, but Casey drove home the fact, while pacing back and forth, that this band is a blue collar band that had Irish family migrate to America to make a life here. The pride and integrity Ken showed is something that has been missing at concerts, and hopefully the crowd took note of this. After the speech, the Dropkick Murphys played two songs from their upcoming album This Machine Still Kills Fascists, out September 30, which the title is an ode to Woody Guthrie. The songs are more acoustic based, but they still bring the spirit like all their other songs. Casey explained since they are down one member, Al Barr is taking care of a family member, they wanted to try something different on this new album. For the rest of the show Dropkick Murphys kept the enthusiasm going including Ken trying on different objects from the crowd from party hats to bright green glasses. Ending their set was the always beautiful and hardship take “Rose Tattoo”. Then for an encore they played their biggest songs “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced”, two songs that no matter how late the show ends, the crowd will muster up enough power to give it all they got. Allentown proved in Ken Casey’s words, “you are the best crowd that we ever played to…at a county fair.”