Anytime I tell people that I saw The Ramones and Social Distortion share a bill back in 1992, their jaws usually drop and follow up by saying “That’s fucking killer!” Well, for those that were in attendance that night they can undoubtedly attest to that. Social D was touring behind their “Somewhere Between Heaven & Hell” album and The Ramones were touring behind the “Mondo Bizarro” which to me was their greatest album since “Road To Ruin” and in my opinion still is.
This bill was a kick in the face rock & roll show and this pairing couldn’t have been more perfect. Me and two buddies secured our place front and center for Social D as they took the stage opening with “Cold Feelings” and these guys were bad to the fucking bone. Looking like a bunch of greasers straight out of a Happy Days episode, Social D played with a swagger and cockiness as they knew they were fucking killing it. I even managed to take a shoe or three to the back of the head courtesy of crowd surfers and Social D tore through of a set of songs like “Bad Luck”, “Making Believe” and “Ring of Fire” but it was the finale of “Ball and Chain” that had everyone singing along and roaring with approval at an amazing set. Social D was without a great show but really,I was waiting for The Ramones to take the stage and really kill it.
The Ramones took their places as if gearing up for battle as the theme from “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly” filled the room. CJ Ramone counted off “1-2-3-4” as they launched into “Durango 95/Teenage Lobotomy” and next thing I knew I was being lifted off the floor and flipped over the barricade. So much for my front and center slot. I made me way back into the crowd and stood stage right out of harms way to take in the rest of the show. What I remember most is that The Ramones were playing with this youthful hunger of a band 1/2 their age as they tore through song after song. Not much for killing time by talking, stage banter at a Ramones show is kept to a bare minimum. Joey Ramone addressed the audience just before going in to “Blitzkrieg Bop” and aside from the count off “1-2-3-4” before each song, The Ramones chose to let their music to the talking.
The Ramones never played a show half assed and they always played as if it was going to be their last show ever. The songs from Mondo Bizzaro sounded awesome and the crowd was just going ape shit as they spat out hits like “Blitzkrieg Bop”, “Do You Remember Rock & Roll Radio?” and “I Wanna Be Sedated.” “We’re A Happy Family” had this rabid audience chanting the chorus back to the band like a battle cry. The band left the stage only to kick us more with a 3 song encore of “Strength To Endure”, “Beat On The Brat” and “California Sun” before saying good night.
An hour and ten minutes and 31 songs later I walked out of that show exhausted. I would see The Ramones another 4 times after this show before the band would eventually call it a day. I never saw a bad Ramones show. They were a band that knew what their fans wanted and they gave it to them x10 every time they performed. The Ramones are still one of my favorite all time bands and this show has so many great memories for me as do they all. At a Ramones show, we were all family. It was one big ass dysfunctional family reunion where instead of playing games, we passed each other over our heads, we ran in circles and screamed things like “Hey Ho Let’s Go!” and “Gabba Gabba Hey!” Our own family, our own language and our own band. They are dearly missed.
Ramones Set List
Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio
I Believe In Miracles
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment
Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
I Wanna Be Sedated
I Wanna Live
Bonzo Goes To Bitburg
Tomorrow She Goes Away
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
I Wanna Be Well Glad To See You Go
Take It as It Comes
Somebody Put Something In My Drink
Judy Is A Punk
Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World
We’re A Happy Family
Strength to Endure
Beat On The Brat