Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
on December 30, 2009
No, wait a minute...bloody fantastic is what this is. I was not a big Ramones fan back in the day, probably only because my local radio stations did not expose me to their work, other than Beat on the Brat, and I Wanna Be Sedated. And silly me, I didn't want to believe a band from NYC could be any good. Yes, I was stupid, I learned there are many great NY bands. What made me buy this DVD was seeing their 1985 performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test Volume One DVD (a series I highly recommend).
Captured here is a virtual biography of Ramones performances from the beginning (1974) through the end (1996), and honestly, I didn't even know they were still performing after about 1985. Again, stupid me, but thankfully this catalog of performances is well preserved. While the films of earliest performances are a bit scratchy and fuzzy, so was the musicianship of the band. One can see and feel that something unique is developing, and as the band grows up, the musicianship and songwriting becomes better and more complex (and the film/video improves as well).
Most of this collection is very well preserved considering the age of the media it was captured on. For example, the footage from the 1982 San Bernardino US Festival is crystal clear, bright, colorful, and the audio thunderous. Conversely, on "The Cars Unlocked" DVD, footage from the same festival - of The Cars - is grainy, washed-out, and the sound tinny. Obviously great care was taken by The Ramones and those close to them to preserve these memories.
My old impression of the band was that it was a novelty act with a few clever hits. Watching this, I see the care that was taken in their uniform (jeans and leather jackets), the presentation - the simultaneous movements of Johnny and Dee Dee, the uncluttered stage, and respect for the audience - never facing away, 100 percent music and no idle banter.
A great companion piece to these performances is the biography "End of the Century" DVD. Learning about how the band members met, developed, and put up with each other over the many years is somehow compelling, and heightened my enjoyment of the performances on this DVD. Really, it's a crime that the Ramones were pretty much ignored by US radio stations. Do yourself some justice and buy this.