Ken Casey is a big deal. As the co-lead singer of Dropkick Murphys, Casey is a Boston hero. But he’s not Bruce Springsteen.
Next week Dropkick Murphys will do something unprecedented when the band broadcasts its fully electric charity performance, not just from Fenway Park, but from the baseball diamond on the field. To make the unique spectacle even more special, the Dropkicks will be joined by the Boss via the park’s jumbotron.
“Our manager brought it up to his manager, Jon Landau, because I was afraid to ask Bruce,” Casey said with a laugh. “Last Saturday I got a call, ‘Ken? It’s Bruce. I guess we’re doing something.’ I though, ‘Well, I guess he said yes.’”
“The key to maintaining friendships with people like him or Bobby Orr is you never ask for anything unless it’s for charity,” Casey added. “Bruce is such a charitable guy, I guess he had to say yes.”
The rush of this news — Dropkicks! Fenway! Springsteen! — tends to overwhelm the senses so let’s slow down and get into how truly awesome this May 29 event will be.
Dropkick Murphys’ first livestream concert during the COVID-19 pandemic, “Streaming Up From Boston” on St. Patrick’s Day, has been watched more than 13 million times and raised over $60,000 for the city’s Boston Resiliency Fund through the band’s charity, The Claddagh Fund.
Looking once again to thrill their fans and give back (the show will raise funds for the Boston Resiliency Fund, Feeding America and Habitat for Humanity), the guys aimed high for “Streaming Outta Fenway.” It will be the first livestreamed music performance from Fenway, the first full set of songs performed on the infield and the first concert without an in-person audience at a U.S. venue this large. Yes, the Dropkicks will play to an empty park and will even observe social distancing during the show.
“Guitars will be at first and third base, bass at second base, banjo at shortstop, drums on the second base bag, then me and Al (Barr) roaming around the infield on either side of the pitcher’s mound,” Casey said. “It stinks that we have to be distant as a band but being positioned like the infield seems kind of cool to us.”
The Dropkicks are taking smart precautions all the way from rehearsals to the show.
“Nothing will check your lung capacity like rehearsing for three hours in a N95 mask,” he said. “I tip my hat even more to all the doctors and nurses wearing those for long shifts because I feel like I just finished Navy Seal training any time I come out of rehearsal.”
Pulling this off will be a logistical miracle, and Casey cheers everyone that’s making it happen. Fenway is letting them use the park for free, minus a few operational costs like the lights — “And those aren’t cheap, so I have to thank local sponsor (Boston tech company) Pega for their help.” They are limited to a couple dozen bodies in the park so production will be limited. And they need to figure out how to transport Springsteen from his house to Fenway digitally.
“It makes me depressed to see stars playing from their couches, so it will be great to perform as a band, and we thought, ‘Do we need more production? Do we need pyro?’ But in Fenway, the park is the production,” Casey said.
With a new album coming this fall, Casey realizes it will be hard to create a release party better than “Streaming Outta Fenway.”
“We would have to play on the top of the Pru,” he said with a laugh. “Of course, just getting to play for people in person will top anything we do streaming.”