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The Ramones
NYC 1978
BY BRETT MILANO
Stars graphics

The folks at the King Biscuit radio archive probably had a few live Ramones shows at their disposal. So you have to wonder why they released this one, which was recorded exactly one week after the bandís first official live album, Itís Alive. The two sets arenít just similar, theyíre exactly the same save for an additional song ("Judy Is a Punk") thatís one of the encores on Itís Alive. It doesnít seem to have mattered that Itís Alive was recorded on New Yearís Eve in London whereas this one was done for a home-town NYC crowd: the Ramones played the same wherever they were, and even the stage patter on both discs is almost identical. Since drummer/producer Tommy Ramone (replaced by Marky soon after these shows) was around to mix Itís Alive, the sound is marginally warmer on that set, but you wonít find much difference there either.

If fans need another live album, they could probably use one from a little later in the bandís career, since the first few years with Marky ó definitely their live peak ó were captured only on a few songs for the Rock íní Roll High School soundtrack. You donít need to ask whether the music on NYC 1978 is any good, since the set list amounts to two-thirds of the bandís first three classic albums. If you saw the Ramones only in their declining years, after CJ took over for Dee Dee on bass, you may be surprised at how much better they once were: NYC 1978 was back when Joey was still making sure he got all the words right, Dee Dee was chiming in with harmonies, the tempos were fast but not rushed, and Johnny was even making one or two attempts at a guitar solo. If you donít own NYC 78 or Itís Alive, just pick up whichever one you can find cheaper.


Issue Date: September 19 - 25, 2003
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