Scott Kucharski

PHOTOS: Dropkick Murphys, The Bombpops, and The Rumjacks at Santander Arena in Reading, 02/21/22

PHOTOS: Dropkick Murphys, The Bombpops, and The Rumjacks at Santander Arena in Reading, 02/21/22
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Over the last two years, Dropkick Murphys held some of the best live streams of any band stuck inside during quarantine, but nothing compares to seeing them in person, especially leading up to their favorite holiday.

This year, thankfully, the Celtic punk band was able to bring back their annual St. Patrick’s Day Tour, starting with a raucous show at the Santander Arena in Reading on Monday, Feb. 21 with The Bombpops and The Rumjacks.

Supporting their latest LP, 2021’s “Turn Up That Dial,” the group was in top form from the time the curtain dropped, revealing their two-tier stage setup with a larger-than-life boombox backdrop featuring their new DM logo.

Most diehard fans knew in advance that co-vocalist Al Barr would not be with the band for this show or the remainder of the ’22 trek. Barr recently announced that his mother was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia and he’d be staying behind to help care for her. For those who may not have realized, vocalist Ken Casey addressed the situation early on when, between songs, he said that he gets lost in the moment sometimes while singing and just expects Al to be there singing his parts, so if he forgets to sing sometimes, the crowd should tell him to “SING!” He went on to explain Barr’s absence and reminded the fans that, with the Dropkick Murphys, family always comes first.

The punk rock icons went on to rip through a 30-song set that featured a few surprise covers as well as guest appearances by openers Jesse Ahern on “Blood,” Bombpops guitarist/vocalist Jen Razavi on “The Dirty Glass,” and The Rumjacks joining the band for “Worker’s Song.”

Even though it’s about a month away from the actual St. Patrick’s Day, the Boston natives and their fans, many decked out in kilts and green and white from head-to-toe, were filled with Paddy’s Day spirit on this cool February night in Berks County.

The 22-date St. Patrick’s Day Tour will run through March 20 with four nights in their hometown; the last will feature Pennywise singer Jim Lindberg, who will take the place of The Bombpops that evening.

Dropkick Murphys setlist, Feb. 21, 2022, Santander Arena, Reading:

The Lonesome Boatman (The Fureys cover)
The Boys Are Back
Do or Die
Barroom Hero
Blood (with Jesse Ahern)
The State of Massachusetts
Caught in a Jar
Get Up
The Warrior’s Code
Your Spirit’s Alive
Smash Shit Up
Middle Finger
Going Out in Style
We Shall Overcome
Queen of Suffolk County
Good as Gold
The Dirty Glass (with Jen Razavi)
Worker’s Song (with The Rumjacks)
The Legend of Finn MacCumhail
Caps and Bottles
Boys on the Docks
In the Streets of Boston
Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya
The Body of an American (The Pogues cover)
Rose Tattoo
Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced


You’ll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers and Hammerstein cover)
I’m Shipping Up to Boston
Police on My Back