What else can be said about The Ramones that hasn’t been already? Credited with kicking off punk as part of New York’s famous CBGB’s scene, they were a massive shot in the arm to the 70s music scene. Songs barely lasted more than a couple of minutes (if you were lucky) and were played at what seemed like 1000mph.
My first introduction to the band was the “Loco Live” album recorded live in Barcelona. Still my favourite ever live album. It was a number of weeks until I heard the band’s recorded versions of these songs which I had played on a continuous loop for that period of time – and I wasn’t sold. They sounded like ballads compared to the “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” style of their live show. Over time I grew to appreciate the recorded versions as much as the live versions but it took me a while!
I was just about to start university the following week from this gig in what would be an ill-fated Chemistry degree course. Seeing The Ramones would be a last hurrah as I left the world of having money to having none at all for 9 months. As bad as it sounds. The support for the gig was Goodbye Mr Mackenzie, a band who were only really famous in Scotland but perhaps best known for their members Shirley Manson who left to form Garbage and Big John Duncan who was in The Exploited and played guitar with Nirvana at some of their early 90s shows. Unfortunately we missed them as we got there late however.
The Ramones were every bit as good as I’d hoped they’d be. They played a very similar set to “Loco Live”, so much so that I probably pissed my mate Kev off telling him what the next song would be after every single song. I was right nearly every time too.
This was the last time the band ever played in Scotland. They only played one more date in the UK on their farewell tour in 1996 at Brixton Academy in London. I considered going but the usual problems of getting someone to go with me got in the way. It’s somewhat ironic that a band who infamously had their frontmen at loggerheads for most of their career managed to not only stay together but go out with a planned farewell tour rather than imploding. All of the founding members died within a few years of the end of the band. Sad really. I like to think they couldn’t live without each other.
This gig will always rank as one of my top 10 gigs ever and is certainly one of my proudest “I was there” moments. Legends.