Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Dec. 21, 2007
RamonesIt's Alive: 1974-1996 (Rhino)
From black-and-white video of a young band arguing onstage at CBGB in 1974 to an automatic stadium show more than 20 years later in Buenos Aires, It's Alive is the holy grail of filmed Ramones' performances. Over two discs, Dee Dee barks, "1-2-3-4!" almost as many times as Al Pacino says the F-word in Scarface. The Queens quartet's earliest shows have the same look and feel of 1,000 subsequent punk acts, only in this case, the wheel is actually being invented. Austinites will appreciate the inclusion of two Armadillo World Headquarters shows from 1977, but seeing the band take over TV land with appearances on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and Germany's Musikladen is even more exciting. Their seminal 1977 New Year's Eve show in London is another highlight. Although the Ramones' set list ossified in later years, It's Alive squeezes in as many live rarities as possible between repeats of "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "Pinhead."