The festival season is not too far away and we will be inundated by lots of Led Zeppelin t-shirts (did they ever have any official ones back in the day?) and lots AND LOTS of Ramones t-shirts. One of our festival chums holds the opinion that only people who actually saw the Ramones can wear a t-shirt. Of course, many of the wearers were not yet born when the Ramones finished, never mind started. And have probably no idea who they were. So this review is mainly for them.
Over their 22 year career, there were quite a few official live lps. For me, they all give a better idea of what the fuss was all about than even their first studio lps. However, in recent years there has been a glut of ‘semi-official’ cds ( from a range of artists) on the market, sourced from radio broadcasts. This one from da brudders came out in 2016 and features the Joey/Johnny/Marky/CJ line-up in a 1994 gig in Uruguay.
In the latter half of their career their set list had become pretty standard. The shows were about 60 minutes, with about 30 songs including a few from their most recent lp. Dee Dee/CJ got to exercise their tonsils briefly in the second half of the set. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ recorded intro preceded the instrumental ‘Durango 95’ and the first 20 minutes-ish of the set was a high-speed aural blastathon. It includes the wonderful segue of ‘Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High School’ which alone is worth the price. This tour was on the back of their covers disc ‘Acid Eaters’ (about which Johnny had mixed feelings) and there are songs from the likes of Love, Dylan and CCR here amongst their tried and tested favourites. ( ‘The KKK took my baby away’ seems to have been rested.)
The set is maybe slightly longer than usual and there is about 10 minutes of DJ chat before the gig , plus the odd comment during the show which isn’t too distracting.
The sound on these types of releases can sometimes be poor but this is pretty good. As is the performance. Purists tend to stick to the official ‘It’s Alive’ as the ultimate example, but this is about 20 minutes longer if nothing else. Yes, they were pretty much on automatic pilot in their second decade but if you are curious about what a phenomenon they were, you could do worse than this. These discs appear regularly on Ebay and at record fairs for a few quid, so put your hand in your pocket, part with some cash, and put it on. But go for a pee first, turn it up to 11, crack a tinny or two, maybe skip the DJ stuff at the start and give it some welly.
And if anyone asks you which gig you bought the t-shirt at, tell them that yours truly wears Beatles t-shirts but he never saw them. So b*gger off!