Ramones: It’s Alive 1974-1996

I have but one complaint about this DVD although I have no reasonable solution to remedy it: I wish the DVD was made up of complete concerts rather than songs culled from various shows over the years. Of course the sacrifice would be the variety of shows that a career overview should cover, so it’s a fair trade-off. That being said, I can find no other fault with it.

The double DVD captures the Ramones from their earliest days at CBGB’s up to their final months playing together. Just as the Ramones best and most important albums came out in the 70s, so this compilation of performances also focuses on that decade with well over half of the performances culled from those years. Obviously, some of the early footage is extremely raw, but what it lacks in quality, it makes up for in historical significance. The earliest clip shows an almost entirely incompetent band with such confidence nonetheless that it’s no wonder they went on to become one of the most influential bands in rock history.

As time passes over the course of the video, the Ramones seem never to grow old. Even as their significance waned over the latter part of their career, they seemed to never be at the end of the road. That makes it even more shocking now that not only is the band defunct, but 3/4 of the original members are no longer with us. It’s weird when they always seemed like a bunch of kids just beating the crap out of their instruments in true rock n roll style. In addition to the concert footage, there is also a few music videos and some goofy, but insightful interviews provided in the bonus section.

It’s Alive 1974-1996 is essential viewing not just for Ramones fans, but for anyone who enjoys rock n roll distilled into its purest form.

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