What hasn’t been said about the Ramones? Most people rave about them, either because they truly enjoy the band’s music or because they’re trying to make up for their hopeless geekiness by name-dropping the band to gain some supposed cred.
Whatever the case, it really is in the ear of the listener as to whether they were punk icon geniuses or junkie fuck-ups who got lucky. For me, it’s a little of both. I don’t go around all the time extolling their virtues and I can’t bring myself to say they were amazing musicians, but I do own and enjoy their records. Having said that, all of you punker-than-thou idiots all poised to flame me for my insolence can get bent.
Brass tacks, this particular live recording, committed to tape at Billboard Live August 6, 1996, is awesome. Most of the songs get the shouted 1-2-3-4 intro (whether the band responds accurately to it or not) and all are played at top speed… they fit 32 songs plus some stage banter into 64 minutes – you do the math. They even had guests join them, like Dee Dee Ramone, Lemmy (of Motorhead), Tim and Lars (Rancid), Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), and Chris and Ben (Soundgarden).
The Ramones took a long time to say goodbye, like the Who, and KISS (repeatedly). And so on. This was apparently their last concert, but I’m no expert on the accuracy of such things. And now most of them have died too young, may they rest in peace.
Look, all you need to know about this is that it’s absolutely relentless, one song counting right into the next with little time to breath let alone collect your thoughts, and it’s just about every Ramones song you’d want to hear in one sitting. So, either you own this and love it like a religious relic, or you say you do while hoping people won’t see through your pose and beat you up.