Album Review: The Ramones – “Live at German Television: Musikladen Recordings 1978”

The Ramones
Live at German Television: Musikladen Recordings 1978

(Sireena Records)

On a September day in 1978, just two year after their debut, The Ramones played their first European TV show in on a pretty expansive stage in Germany. The 25-song set was filmed and recorded – available on vinyl and an accompanying DVD – for the first time, is a rambling, chaotic set with the vocals mixed too loud and the band clearly rushing to get through the commitment as quickly as possible. And that’s exactly how it should be.

The Ramones, the first real American punk rock band (but, but Iggy Pop… but, but Richard Hell…) were sloppy, most likely drunk and/or high during most of their shows (as we’ve learned from just about every band members memoirs), but were still capable of putting on a fantastic, yet brief, concert. This one appears to be no exception, with the band, each member cemented in their spot despite playing on a pretty large stage, barreling through nearly two down songs in just about 50 minutes, pausing just long enough between songs for Joey Ramone to plug their album (Road to Ruin) and for Dee Dee to count off “1, 2, 3, 4.”

At this point in their career, there was no “I Wanna be Sedated” or “KKK (Took My Baby Away)” yet, but they still had plenty of songs on the set list that would go on the become classics more than three decades later (“Blitzkrieg Bop,” “Sheena is a Punk Rocker,” We Are a Happy Family,” etc.), each one delivered here with the same rush of intensity.

It may not be pretty, but in 1978, this was punk rock at its zenith. (John B. Moore)

Purchase Live at German Television: Musikladen Recordings 1978 on Amazon here.

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