Ramones - Itís Alive 1974-1996 [DVD]
Record Label: Rhino Records
Release Date: October 2, 2007
ď[Punk rock is] rebellious... itís just real and raw and thereís no crap involved.Ē
The Ramones are forefathers of punk rock. The first family of punk began in Forest Hills, Queens, New York back in 1974, and their long, dark hair and leather jackets are as recognizable today as their music. They played rock and roll hard and fast, and with the help of Joey Ramone's sometimes scraggly vocals, they carved out their own genre in music history. Their influence can be felt in countless bands, from The Clash and Black Flag to The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day. But there was no wave to ride, and the Ramones had to tour relentlessly to turn confused onlookers into dedicated fans. Itís Alive 1974-1996, a two-disc DVD released last year through Rhino Records, chronicles the band's decades of touring and features "over four hours of rare and unreleased performances from around the world." Needless to say, this is a must own for Ramones fans.
Itís Alive 1974-1996 is presented in a pink cover slapped with the Ramones' official seal, and I must say the packaging accompanies the contents wonderfully. Venue names, locations, and dates of performances are all listed in the attached booklet, and the shows are nicely arranged in chronological order for easy viewing. Also, before each se tlist (of which there are many), the details of the particular show are flashed on-screen for the benefit of the viewer.
It begins at the venue that would become famous for hosting the Ramones, CBGB's in Manhattan, New York. The grainy black and white footage first seen is the type die hard fans gush over. As the performances continue, it can be seen the Ramones were consistent in their repertoire of quickly rolling through their songs while playing directly to the crowd. Classic Ramones songs are spread throughout the DVD, among them the innocent ballad of sincerity "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" and the Beach Boys inspired tune "Swallow My Pride." Of course there are also the instantly recognizable hits "Blitzkrieg Bop," "The KKK Took My Baby Away," and "I Wanna Be Sedated." If you have a favorite Ramones song, you'll probably find it mixed in one or more set list, and if you don't have a favorite, you'll find more than one before Itís Alive 1974-1996 is over.
There are two discs worth of video footage to be found on Itís Alive 1974-1996, with the first showcasing the band close to home in New York and across the US. The first disc concludes with the "It's Alive" show at the Rainbow Theater in London, England - a 14 song set list. The location of "It's Alive" foreshadows the more sporadic second disc, which finds the Ramones as world travelers, spreading punk rock to countries such as Germany, Sweden, and Spain before returning to The States. It's on the second disc that the line-up changes become more apparent and there's more variety to be seen in the performance locations.
Among the extras on the DVD are interviews, music videos, and photo galleries. The interviews are most interesting, because they tell musical history of the band from those involved, including members of the Ramones and journalist, record executive, and manager Danny Fields. It's here you'll learn of the band's first experience in front of a crowd, when people questioned whether or not the fast-paced rock band before them was a serious act. But if you're looking to be educated on the history of the Ramones, this isn't the best place to start - this is a video narrative of the Ramones rocking on-stage, not a Behind the Music style production.
Fans of the Ramones will go gabba gabba crazy for Itís Alive 1974-1996. There's no question about that. But I also recommend the DVD to the younger crowd that only knows of the Ramones through reputation. Unlike much of the popular music created alongside it, the Ramones' music is a sound that transcends the age in which it was created, and I can see today's youth delighting in the original New York punk rockers; the Ramones' attitude is not something that quells easily. Take it, Dee Dee.
ď[Punk rock is] rock and roll stripped down played with a lot of aggressive energy. Itís music that reflects street culture.Ē
-Dee Dee Ramone
There's a bug (at least I think it should be called a bug) in the review database that causes it to incorporate "N/A" scores into the overall score, causing this review to be listed with a 48% rating. I read through the whole review scratching my head until I realized that, lol.