Ramones Newcastle City Hall 28th September 1978 and 29th January 1980
I have already written about the first time I saw the Ramones, which was at Newcastle City Hall in 1977. For completeness, and as I come towards the end of acts whose names begin with the letter “R”, I am including an entry on a couple of other times that I saw the band. The Ramones returned to the City Hall in 1978 and 1980. By 1978 Tommy Ramone had left the band, his drum stool being filled by Marky Ramone. Their music had also developed a little further. Although most of their songs remained the very fast short crash bam bop slabs of pure rock ‘n’ roll, they were starting to venture further into pure pop, and their albums also includes, shock horror, some slower songs and even some, dare I say it?, ballads. However, their live shows remained largely unchanged. A night with the Ramones was guaranteed to be a night of fun with Da Brudders playing a set of lots of short hectic songs all in quick succession, and Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee up front singing and playing like there was no tomorrow. Both of these concerts were great fun. Support for the 1978 tour was the excellent vocalist Snips, who had previously fronted Sharks with Andy Fraser. The 1980 show was opened by The Boys, who were one of the first and legendary punk bands; a three piece featuring Casino Steel, Matt Dangerfield and Honest John Plain.
Setlist from the 1980 show: Blitzkrieg Bop; Teenage Lobotomy; Rockaway Beach; I Don’t Want You; Go Mental; Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment; Rock ‘N’ Roll High School; I Wanna Be Sedated; Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?; She’s the One; I’m Against It; Sheena Is a Punk Rocker; This Ain’t Havana; Commando Baby, I Love You; I’m Affected; Surfin’ Bird; Cretin Hop; All the Way; Judy Is a Punk; California Sun; I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You; Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World; Pinhead; Do You Wanna Dance?; Suzy Is a Headbanger; Let’s Dance; Chinese Rock; Beat on the Brat
Archive for the ‘Ramones’ Category
Ramones Newcastle City Hall 28th September 1978 and 29th January 1980
The Ramones: Da Brudders hit Newcastle City Hall, 20th December 1977. I’m jumping out of sequence in my blogging over the next few days, as there are a few gigs that I am need to write about for another project I am working on, and focusing on them here will help me along my way. The first of these are my reflections on the first time that I saw the Ramones. Da Brudders had played the UK a couple of times before they ventured up north to Newcastle. They first came across to play a couple of gigs in London in July 1976; one at the Roundhouse as support for the Flamin’ Groovies on 4th July, and a headlining gig at Dingwalls the following evening. The influence of the Ramones on UK punk rock can’t be understated, and these gigs are widely recognised as being seminal in the birth and growth of the UK scene. The Guardian (in their “History of Indie Music”) listed this gig as one a key event: “On Independence Day 1976, the Roundhouse in London hosted the veteran San Francisco band Flamin’ Groovies. All the young punks came out that night, but not to see the headliners. They were there to see and (in the cases of the Clash and the Sex Pistols) meet the support band, the Ramones, who had inspired the first wave of UK punks, and whose appearance here would galvanise many more.” This concert took place just as punk rock was emerging in London, and before it started to spread to the rest of the UK. The Ramones toured the UK in May 1977, missing the North East; the closest they came was to play at Leeds University Refectory (wish I’d gone to that 🙂 ). Way “Up North” in Newcastle we had to wait until their second UK tour of 1977, which brought the boys to Newcastle City Hall on 20th December. The gig took place a few days before a triumphant return to London where they played a monumental set of 28 songs to a packed Rainbow Theatre. The Rainbow gig was recorded and released as the “It’s Alive” double lp. In fact four concerts during the UK tour were recorded (I think one of these may have been Newcastle), but the New Year’s Eve performance was chosen “because ten rows of seats were thrown at the stage after the concert and it was considered the best of the performances at the venue”. (Wikipedia).
So on 20th December 1977, the North East finally got to see the Ramones. We’d heard “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and all sung along to “Blitzkrieg Bop”, and we’d read so much about this band. Now we finally got the chance to see them. The City Hall was packed. It seemed everyone in the region who was into punk rock was there, including several who had already formed bands, and many others who were no doubt inspired to go and do so. Support came from Scotland’s The Rezillos (note spelling error on the ticket) who blended an image lifted from 60s Scifi B movies with frantic and fast surf rock, and featured lively singer Fay Fife. This was before they hit the charts with “Top of the Pops”. They put on a suitably crazy and fun performance and warmed the crowd up admirably for the arrival of our comic book heroes. I’d gone along with a group of mates, and we had seats pretty near the front, with a clear view of all the action. The Ramones lived up to everything we had read and heard. They must have played at least 25 songs and yet they were probably on stage for less than one hour. The pace was fast and furious; 1. 2. 3. 4. and straight into the next song, each one a minor classic of teenage rock’n’roll angst. Joey held high a sign proclaiming “Gabba Gabba Hey” (I still don’t understand what the hell that means). Johnny frantically, yet effortlessly, buzzed those furious rock’roll chords out of his guitar, which was placed elegantly down on his knee. It was like nothing else I have seen before or since. These guys had speed down to a craft; it was almost as if they were willing themselves to play each song faster than the one before. By the time of this concert the Ramones had released three albums, and the tour was to promote their “Rocket to Russia” lp. The four brothers looked so cool in their denims and Lewis Leathers jackets (I always wanted a Lewis Leathers jacket; I had a cheap copy at the time but it just wasn’t the same 😦 ). From the Lewis Leathers website: “..in the ‘70s when the Ramones were wearing their leather jackets, the English Punks wanted to do the same, including the bands. The Clash went there, Brian James, Rat Scabies of The Damned, Steve Jones. Sid Vicious had an old Dominator jacket that he got off Viv Albertine of The Slits. The leather jacket was something to be seen in.” The set consisted of tracks from all three of their albums. Before we knew it..Phew..it was all over far too soon, and we were left to reflect on what we had just witnessed, and for many to go back home and try to play as fast as those guys.
From the programme: “Dear Joey, I think you’re the best Ramones brother. Are you really brothers?…They were once called the “perfect band”….The Ramones are now recognised as innovators of a healthy British Scene.”
In 1977 the Ramones were, of course: Joey Ramone – lead vocals; Johnny Ramone – guitar; Dee Dee Ramone – bass; and Tommy Ramone – drums. Setlist from the Ramones gig in Glasgow, which took place a couple of days before the City Hall show: Rockaway Beach; Teenage Lobotomy; Blitzkrieg Bop; I Wanna Be Well; Glad to See You Go; Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment; You’re Gonna Kill That Girl; I Don’t Care; Sheena Is a Punk Rocker; Carbona Not Glue; Commando; Here Today, Gone Tomorrow; Surfin’ Bird; Cretin Hop; Listen to My Heart; California Sun; I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You; Pinhead; Do You Wanna Dance?; Chain Saw; Today Your Love, Tomorrow the World; Now I Wanna Be a Good Boy; Suzy Is a Headbanger; Let’s Dance; Judy Is a Punk; Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue; We’re a Happy Family. I saw the Ramones on two further occasions at the City Hall, in 1978 and 1980, and will write a little about those gigs on another day. Hey Ho! Lets Go! Hey Ho! Lets Go!