Between 1976 and 1978, the Ramones
could seemingly do no wrong, and It's Alive
, the album that preserved their 1977-going-on-1978 New Year's Eve show in London for the ages, captured the pride of Forest Hills at the peak of their form, turning three-chord downstroke into the stuff of magic. By 1990, the band's albums were generally good but not great, and it seemed as if their days of studio glory were behind them. But anyone who ever saw the Ramones
live will tell you that right up to the end, they never failed to deliver on-stage, and if Loco Live
isn't quite up to the same level as It's Alive
, it proves these guys always gave their fans the sweat, muscle, and cool tunes they came to see. The buzz of Johnny Ramone
's guitar is still gloriously relentless, Joey
yelps like he means it (and if he has a little more to say between songs, most of it's cool), Marky
remains King of the Big Beat, and C.J.
plays at least as well as Dee Dee
(and is nearly as good at yelling "wuntootreeFAH!"). And if the presence of "Mama's Boy," "Someone Put Something in My Drink," and "I Believe in Miracles" don't exactly give Loco Live
an edge over the first-three-albums set list of It's Alive
, the truth is nearly all the newer songs sound stronger (and faster) on-stage, and the old stuff is, as always, a joy to behold. If you're going to buy a Ramones
live album, the blazing It's Alive
is the one to get, but Loco Live
proves these old soldiers never gave up the fight -- 13 years on, they were still loud and proud, and you can't help but love 'em for it.