February 14, 1996. I spent Valentine’s Day with the band I loved the most, even though it took some shenanigans to get into the show.
Ramones released their final album, ¡Adios Amgios!, in July of 1995, and followed it up with a farewell tour that would eventually bring them to Boston on Valentine’s Day 1996 for a headlining set at Avalon on Lansdowne Street. I was an undergrad at Northeastern at the time, and they were my favorite band in the world. Problem was, the show was 21+.
The good news? Back then, you could buy concert tickets for 21+ shows at Coconuts Music (remember them?) I bought a single ticket at the Stoneham Coconuts in Redstone Plaza, no problem at all. The problem was, how was I going to get into the show? I was only 18.
I was sharing my conundrum with some of the kids in the Northeastern Jazz Band when the drummer piped up: he had a fake ID and was happy to let me use it. Problem was, we looked nothing alike. He had long hair, blue eyes, and glasses. But in the picture on the ID, he was wearing a scally cap. And I had a cap just like it.
So I rolled the dice and rolled up to Avalon on Valentine’s Day with my ticket and my fake ID and my scally cap and hoped for the best. I guess the Rock & Roll Gods were smiling on me that day, because when doors opened, they let those of us who had tickets in straight away…and didn’t ID any of us. I was in.
I immediately bought a t-shirt to commemorate the occasion. And ditched the scally cap for a RAMONES winter hat, which I still own and rock to this day. The band came out on stage to “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly,” ripped into “Durango 95,” and proceeded to play every damn song I loved for the next two hours. To this day, it’s one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen.
And I wasn’t even supposed to be there.