Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

The Ramones

It's Alive 1974-1996 (Warner Music/Rhino)

This exhaustingly complete live video history of The Ramones has been four years in the making by drummer Tommy Ramone, and if you manage to plough through both discs (four hours plus and 119 songs) in one sitting it'll feel like you've lost four years of your life you'll never get back.

It hoovers up just about every available scrap of live footage of the band, beginning with three songs from the legendary CBGB's in New York from September 1974, and ending at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires 22 years later. As an archival and historical document it is undoubtedly important and just about unbeatable, but with multiple versions of songs and sound and picture quality that on much of the early footage is worse than amateurish it leaves a lot to be desired as a musical experience.

It is completeness for completeness sake. In just about every sense - sound, look, performance - The Ramones were a one-trick pony; it was a trick of a certain dumb genius and hugely influential on a whole generation of bands, but it was just the one trick and, at this interminable length, it soon becomes wearing. Did nobody get the irony of a four hour plus retrospective for a band who made a speciality of saying all they needed to in two minutes of concentrated energy and attitude?

Disc one takes the story up to New Year's Eve 1977, and previously unseen film of their Rainbow Theatre gig in London, but the second disc has the one performance that distils the purest essence of their magic - 11 songs, and 21 minutes, on German TV show Musikladen in 1978.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Nightlife Galleries


Latest Entertainment News

Latest Music News

Latest Film & TV News

Latest Eating Out News


Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant


This is a great time to go shopping. You'll find some clothes, furniture or artwork that seems tailor made to your taste. Don't worry about spending more money than usual. The things you buy will give you years of pleasure. If you're looking for work, volunteer at a charitable organisation that is close to your heart. This will lead to a paying position that is emotionally fulfilling. You're tired of dead end jobs that leave you cold. It's time to move in a more rewarding direction.More