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We're Outta Here: the Ramones' Last Show - Ramones

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Genre: Punk / Artist: Ramones / Label: Eagle / Released: 01.05.2002

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      10.11.2011 14:15
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      Punk rock lives on with the Ramones' last ever show.

      "We're Outta Here" is the Ramones' 4th live album and was recorded when the band played their final show of their career, the 2,263rd in total. It was released in 1997 on Eagle Rock Records. The line-up for the album was Joey Ramone (vocals), Johnny Ramone (guitar), C.J. Ramone (bass) and Marky Ramone (drums).

      So this was it, the end of the greatest, and first, punk rock band. Recorded live at the Palace in Los Angeles, California, 6th August 1996, a legacy came to a close. Helping the band through the 32-song set was Lemmy, Dee Dee Ramone, Tim Armstrong, Chris Cornell, Eddie Vedder, Lars Fredriksen, and Ben Shepherd.

      "Durango 95" is an instrumental which still rocks even if it doesn't have Joey's voice on it and the background to it is very interesting. The album cover for "Too Tough to Die" is a sort of reimagining of the "A Clockwork Orange" film with the four band members in an alleyway dressed in white. In the film, Alex DeLarge and the gang steal a car which happens to be a Durango 95, and that's where it gets its name from.

      "Teenage Lobotomy" is yet another storming Ramones song. Two minutes long, three chord guitar and classic drumming - it doesn't get much better than this. It's another follow-up to the mental health themed songs the band had been writing, and was a staple part of the majority of Ramones gigs. This is easily one of the best songs on the album and graces many a punk rock compilation album.

      "Psycho Therapy" is without doubt on of the most famous Ramones song and was very popular when played live. It has a meaty riff and stonking bass line that goes along with Dee Dee and Joey's wonderfully crafted lyrics that you can't help but like. It's a song that goes back to the youth of the narrator who's an unruly child and his parents want to take him to a shrink to find out why his behaviour is so bad.

      "Blitzkrieg Bop" has the staple Ramones chant, 'Hey! Ho! Let's Go!" in the lyrics. The song is a good introduction to the world of punk rock music, and is about the ferocious speed of which someone would dance to the music the band plays on stage. "Blitzkrieg Bop" was certainly a live favourite which goes down well here and Rolling Stone magazine placed it No.92 in their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

      "Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?" is a song about how good music once was and how it's all become too diverse, straying from the roots of rock and roll. The Ramones are basically saying it's up to them to change this for the better by referring to artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis, T. Rex and Alan Freed. The song is a throwback to that 50s and 60s rock and roll style with an interesting saxophone sound playing over the guitar on the studio version.

      "I Believe in Miracles" is a song written by Dee Dee about life in general. What he's saying here is no matter what he's done in life he's had a good time and he just can't believe he's still there to do it all again. That luck would run out on him in 2002 when he died of a heroin overdose. The first thing that's noticeable is that the Ramones are heavier than any previous album. It's still classic Ramones three chord riffs but it has that extra kick to it and Joey's singing is as good as any song on the album.

      "Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment" is one of the best Ramones songs, ever. It has some great verses with a catchy chorus and is about a former girlfriend of Joey's who was sectioned in a mental hospital and after so many shock therapy sessions didn't even recognise who he was.

      "Rock 'n' Roll High School" is up next and again we get some more pure punk rock, but it's in small doses as the song is what you've come to expect by now with some fun rock and roll guitar licks but nothing out of the ordinary goes on here. It's played well and is generally well received but it's one of those songs that doesn't quite grab me.

      "I Wanna be Sedated" is an absolute classic of a song with a an excellent slab of punk rock that deals with the constant pressures of touring the world and how Joey in particular was burning out and needed a break. This is one of the best Ramones songs ever, no doubt about it. The video to the song has the band sat at a table while chaos resumes all around them.

      "Spider-Man" is a punk rock version of the theme tune to the cartoon series about the webbed Marvel superhero. I like this song a lot, because it brings more life to the character - almost as if he's a punk fan himself. Joey sings this well and it's clear he's enjoying it to the fullest. This was a song on the console game, "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock" and while it's relatively easy to play, it's still very enjoyable, nonetheless.

      "The KKK Took My Baby Away" is one of the finest punk rock songs ever, but is a song that may not have even come around had certain events not happened. It's really about how Joey's ex-girlfriend, Linda, left him for Johnny. He's not saying Johnny is a KKK member, but he's saying that the two were so far apart politically, that he put them both together to make it sound like he's not being so obvious as to what it's about. I really like the vocal harmony on the chorus of this song, and the guitar sounds great, too.

      "I Just Want to have Something to Do" is another gem in the collection of the Ramones, but I think that's just because Joey manages to get the line "eating chicken vindaloo" into the song. I do like the very catchy chorus, too, even if it is mainly just Joey singing "tonight" over and over. It's a song about hanging out with friends but having nothing to do because of poverty.

      "Commando" is another of my personal favourite Ramones songs, with one of the catchiest choruses on any record. It was written by Dee Dee about the Vietnam War which was going when he was younger and his experiences when his dad was in the army based in Germany. It's a song the Ramones played live many times and never failed to get the crowd going.

      "Sheena is a Punk Rocker" is one of the most iconic Ramones songs of all, and one of the best they ever wrote. It's basically a song in the mould of "Judy is a Punk" in a the way that Sheena abandons her friends that are all going to disco, in order to listen to punk rock. This is another Ramones song which is reminiscent of the Beach Boys style of music.

      "Rockaway Beach" is a song about a beach in Queens, New York, bear to where all four Ramones members grew up. It was written by Dee Dee about how they would hitchhike to the beach instead of catching the bus, because the bus would play disco music. It's a great song with some neat guitar playing, and if you imagined the Beach Boys playing punk rock, this track would be something like what you would come up with.

      "Pet Sematary" was written specifically for the Stephen King film of the same name, which was released a month before this album. It's no secret that King was a huge Ramones fan and it's not the first time he's used a heavy band in his works as he worked with AC/DC on "Maximum Overdrive", too. It's a good song but if I'm to be critical of it, I think it's too commercialised and not heavy enough. It's been overdubbed too much on the chorus and the guitars just aren't loud enough. I do like the lyrics, though, which fit the novel and film quite well.

      "The Crusher" is a song about wrestling. The hero of the track is an up-and-coming grappler and he's about to wrestle the Russian Bear in Madison Square Garden. He tells us what he's going to do to his opponent. By the end of the song he's having second thoughts and doesn't want to go out there because he fears he'll be annihilated. This is another song on which C.J. takes lead vocals, and I especially like Joey's backing on the chorus. This song is the Ramones doing what the Ramones do best, and that's punk rock in the style that only this band can do.

      "Love Kills" is a song about Sid Vicious, the late Sex Pistols bassist. Dee Dee wrote it as a tribute to his friend and as a warning to fans out there that think drugs are acceptable. The following verse is quite prophetic, too:

      "When you're hooked on heroin
      Don't you know you'll never win
      Drugs don't ever pay
      You really did it your way"

      It's prophetic because Dee Dee himself died of a heroin overdose in 2002. Dee Dee's replacement in the band after he left, C.J., provides the vocals for this song and his bass sounds really good.

      "Do You Wanna Dance?" is a cover song, first recorded by Bobby Freeman back in 1958, but has also been recorded by the likes of the Beach Boys, Eddie Cochran and Cliff Richard. It's a song originally recorded to dance the twist to and has been altered for that classic Ramones song. The kids at the concerts were likely not performing the twist when the band played this live!

      "Somebody Put Something in My Drink" is song written by Richie about a true story. The drummer was out partying with Joey when his drink was spiked with hallucinogenic drugs when things started to get a little hazy. The sound on the studio version was a little different than normal, though, and I think that's down to the production of Beauvoir. Joey's vocals were harsher, making it sound like he had a cold or something and the guitar was tuned down a notch or two. Other than that, it's a good song and a live favourite, and Joey does sing it in the same style, live.

      "I Don't Want You" takes us back to punk rock chords and is basically a love song with the narrator saying he's damned if he does, and damned if he don't, as the woman he had was cheating on him and he'd had enough. It's a song which is meant to sound serene but I think it's a good cheerful song instead.

      "Wart Hog" is one of the best songs the Ramones ever wrote, or Dee Dee in particular. In his autobiography he states that his therapist wanted him to write a love song to find his inner self, and the aggressive "Wart Hog" is what transpired. It's sung by C.J. and is as punk as punk can get. Johnny's crashing guitar riffs are great but it's the manner in which the vocals are applied that makes it the song that it is.

      "Cretin Hop" is an anthem amongst Ramones songs, which is a tribute to the band's fans at the time that would pogo up and down at gigs. The cretin element of it wasn't meant to be derisory towards the fans, more like that's what everybody else thinks they were. I like the guitar playing on this song with its classic three chord riff that is so simple yet so effective in the way it's played.

      "R.A.M.O.N.E.S." is performed in the best way possible - a tribute to the band which was originally written by Lemmy and recorded by his band, Motörhead. The lyrics are all about the band, past and present members included, and how much they rocked on record and on the stage. It's a very fitting tribute from one of Joey's best friends and Lemmy himself plays bass on the song and sings backup vocals with C.J. taking lead.

      We come to one of the best live Ramones songs now, and we're counted in with the legendary "1, 2, 3, 4" intro, which was uttered many times in many Ramones concerts. "Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World" has an incredibly catchy chorus and one of the best endings to any song I've ever heard. You can feel the band is tight on this song and the passion they had for playing music is evident.

      "Pinhead" is perhaps in the top 10 of most recognisable Ramones songs, and a staple live song throughout the band's career. It's about acceptance in society and how some people look at you as if you've got three eyes or something. The now infamous Ramones chant of "Gabba gabba we accept you we accept you one of us" kicks the song off into pure punk rock bliss.

      "53rd and 3rd" is a street corner in New York City where male prostitutes attempt to make money. Some have said it's directly related to Dee Dee but I'm pretty sure it isn't, and is just about someone he met attempting to buy drugs. It's another Ramones classic which was covered by Metallica, although it sounds nowhere near as good as the original.

      "Listen to My Heart" is a song by Dee Dee about breaking up with a girl with simple lyrics. Not to say they're stupid lyrics, but it's a true representation of how easy the bassist wrote things. It's another of those classic three chord wonders with an almost slow tempo, but it has its punchy moments, too. It's sung in that style only Joey Ramone could and is one of the highlights on the album.

      "We're a Happy Family" is one of my favourite ever Ramones songs, and is probably the best on the album for me. It's about the all-American family and the typical life they live. The song has a great riff and is kept in time wonderfully by Tommy's drumming. On the studio version, the song fades out to a frantic household going about their daily duties, people having breakfast, waking up, looking for socks, etc.

      "Chinese Rock" is a song written by Dee Dee with Richard Hell about being addicted to heroin. This is one of my all-time favourite songs - not just the Ramones, but of any band I've ever listened to. The band, at first, refused to play it, but once Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers recorded it for their debut album, "L.A.M.F.", Dee Dee knew it had to go on a Ramones album. It's one of the heaviest songs the band ever did and the chorus is insanely catchy without being too obvious about its subject nature.

      "Beat on the Brat" is a song written by Joey about all the spoiled kids he saw when he was growing up in Queens. Johnny's three chord riffs are ever present in the track, and Joey's vocal style is a little different to some songs, but he still delivers it well. The band would pass out bats with the words 'use on a brat' on them at early gigs.

      The album ends with "Any Way You Want It", which is a cover of the Dave Clark Five's 1964 UK hit single and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder joins the band on-stage to sing with Joey. I am unsure as to why the band chose to end their career with this song but I can only imagine it would have been one of Joey's favourites from when he was growing up.

      In summary, this is a Ramones album no collection is complete without given the significance of it all. 5 years later Joey died of lymphoma, ensuring the band would never perform live again. Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, Tommy, Marky, Ritchie, Elvis and C.J. left a lasting legacy for all generations of punk rock music. R.A.M.O.N.E.S. Ramones!

      1. Durango '95
      2. Teenage Lobotomy
      3. Psycho Therapy
      4. Blitzkrieg Bop
      5. Do You Remember Rock 'n' Roll Radio?
      6. I Believe in Miracles
      7. Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
      8. Rock 'n' Roll High School
      9. I Wanna be Sedated
      10. Spider-Man
      11. The KKK Took My Baby Away
      12. I Just Wanna Have Something to Do
      13. Commando
      14. Sheena is a Punk Rocker
      15. Rockaway Beach
      16. Pet Sematary
      17. The Crusher
      18. Love Kills
      19. Do You Wanna Dance
      20. Somebody Put Something in My Drink
      21. I Don't Want You
      22. Wart Hog
      23. Cretin Hop
      24. R.A.M.O.N.E.S.
      25. Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World
      26. Pinhead
      27. 53rd and 3rd
      28. Listen to My Heart
      29. We're a Happy Family
      30. Chinese Rock
      31. Beat on the Brat
      32. Any Way You Want It

      My rating: 9/10

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