It's amazing how labels seem haphazardly put out DVDs these days. For all the potential that the medium holds in terms of storage capacity and sound quality, it's common these days to see frequent DVD releases from popular acts, the quality of which is often less of a priority then simply getting the releases out there.
On The Road With The Dropkick Murphys should therefore be used as a benchmark for all future punk DVD releases, as it's simply packed with interesting and worthwhile stuff. The band's entire catalogue of videos is present, allowing you to follow their various line-up incarnations from the Mike McColgan days onwards. 7 videos later this little disk still has hours of footage, including a live set from the band's annual (and much celebrated) St. Patrick's Day shows in Boston. The footage, from the 2002 shows, is decent as far as punk live footage goes, but the subject matter is consistently interesting. I love watching Marc Orell, as the guitarist simply beams enthusiasm and excitement whenever he's on camera. The band's frequent use of traditional Celtic instruments results makes for more varied visuals than a straight-ahead rock band would. Since the St. Paddys day shows are hyped (and organized) as such unique events, there are a few out of the ordinary occurrences in store, including a troop of highland dancers and an on stage wedding proposal.
On top of all that there are three documentaries on the band and an hours worth of often hilarious b-side footage. Most interesting is an acoustic set that the band plays for the AFL-CIO. Intertwined with this set is footage from the 2001 Warped Tour date in Pittsburgh, on which the band took a stand with striking stagehands. Testimonials from grateful members of that union and the follow up on their story takes an interesting perspective on the working class ideals that the Murphys promote in their music. Seeing such ideals in action and effecting the lives of real people offers a poignant moment you don't usually see on these types of releases. All politics are put aside for "Black And Gold," another feature on the band's November 2003 performance in the stands of a Boston Bruins game. The tone is completely reversed from the Labor Day doc and it serves the band well to show them in such a different, celebratory light.
The same can be said for the longer running "65 Days Of Hell", a much lighter in tone film that follows the band on throughout a summer on the road. The directory managed to cull together a ton of amusing footage of both the band's huge live shows (the crowds drawn on the Warped Tour footages are staggering in number) and various backstage antics (the 4th of July celebration in Calgary comes to mind). My only qualm that taken all at once, it's noticeable that much of the background music on the disc is culled from the same batch of five or six "classic" Murphys tunes, so despite having an ample catalogue to choose from you'll end up hearing tracks like "Boys On The Docks" quite a few times.
For fans of the band there's no reason why you shouldn't own this. It's filled to the brim with hours of worthwhile footage and perfectly bookends the band's career to this point. Bands should strive to make their DVD releases this complete.
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