In celebration of the birthdays of both Johnny and C.J. Ramone, here’s 13 minutes of live Ramones in their early prime.
YouTuber Mike Gilman uploaded the clip back in 2019 and described it like this: “Shot on Super-8 Sound film at the Granada Theatre in KC, KS. Unseen in over 40 years!” The homemade title card before the footage starts rolling reads: “RAMONES 7-29-78 Granada Theatre K.C.” And once the footage starts rolling, it’s 1978 all over again.
In the grainy opening shots, you can barely make out the space save for a few stage lights. Or maybe they’re lights from the band’s equipment. You hear Joey bark into the mic to test it out, you hear the squeal of Johnny’s guitar, you hear the rest of the band join in. I’m guessing this is what passed for a Ramones soundcheck back in 1978. Then, at the 45-second mark, you get that patented Dee Dee Ramone count-off: “1-2-3-4!” And they’re off.
The band opens the ’78 K.C. set with their cover of “Rockaway Beach.” And, as was always the case with the Ramones, the tempo is quite a bit faster live than it is on record. From there on, it’s about 13 minutes of vintage Ramones. High energy, breakneck speed, the template that all punk would draw from–consciously or subconsciously–for years to come.
Watch Live Ramones From 1978
And the kicker? For a clip that’s almost 45 years old and was shot on Super 8 in a dingy club in the late ’70s, the audio is surprisingly good. I’ve heard bootlegs of present-day punk shows that are worse. For a time, the Ramones were my favorite band in the world. I even snuck in to see their last-ever Boston show at Avalon on Lansdowne St. on Valentine’s Day back in 1996. So this clip is giving me life. I hope it does the same for you, too.