DERRY — For their St. Patrick’s Day show, the Dropkick Murphys traded the House of Blues in Boston for a production studio in an industrial park in New Hampshire.
“Are you ready, Boston? Are you ready, America? Are you ready around the world?” singer Ken Casey shouted before the band’s first set. “‘The Irish Rover!’”
The roar the Irish-American punk rockers created onstage was met with just a few hoots and hollers from the 20 people watching the show. They were too busy operating video cameras, soundboards and lighting equipment.
Welcome to the coronavirus concert experience. On Tuesday, “The Rocky Road to Dublin” circled back to Derry.
In a world that is shutting down nearly every place where people gather, the only way to reach your audience is to go virtual. The Dropkick Murphys streamed their performance for free on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook Live at 7 p.m.
The numbers were staggering. On Facebook Live alone, the concert, which is still available for streaming, was viewed nearly 7 million times as of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Capacity of the House of Blues in Boston: 2,500.
The “Boston” show was recorded at Events United, an audio and video company on the same street as Tupelo Music Hall — among the countless concert venues that have gone dark over the past week.
Events United owner Tim Messina, who has watched his bookings vanish, hopes the studio creates a new revenue stream during the desert days ahead and has been working with groups that have had to forego live events, including churches. But he also has long-range plans: attracting more production work to the Granite State.
“The whole purpose of what I’m doing is to make New Hampshire more of a destination than it has been, make more reasons for people to stay,” Messina said. “Everyone knows it’s beautiful being here. We have good tech and medical industries here, but we don’t have a lot of big creative stuff that is going on.”
Messina divided his time Tuesday between the studio and monitoring the seven camera operators shooting the concert from a flatscreen TV down the hall, where he directed production from a headset.
The Dropkick Murphys raced through a setlist with few breaks, performing a show that included “The Boys are Back,” a cover of “I Fought the Law” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” which Casey dedicated to the band’s “friends in Italy.”