The Ramones were, among other things, the harbingers of punk rock in America and beyond. Throughout their career, they played more than 2,000 live shows. A few short years after their final gig in L.A. in 1996, Joey Ramone died of cancer. In the next three years, both Dee Dee and Johnny passed away, too. So if you weren’t present at one of those 2,000 shows—if you didn’t catch the scraggly rockers in a smoky venue sometime during the ‘70s, ‘80s or perhaps ‘90s—you never will. But, thankfully, you can still hear some of those shows, including one taped on this day (Jan. 7) in 1978.
A week after recording the live album It’s Alive in London on New Year’s Eve 1977, the Ramones played a Saturday night show at the Palladium in New York City. At the top of the set, the band skips the banter and dives right in with the amped-up “Rockaway Beach,” and the crowd is likewise fired up. This set, while meaty, is a story in efficiency: In just under an hour (around 55 minutes, to be exact), the band play through 27 songs from their first three albums, Ramones, Leave Home and Rocket to Russia, which had only just been released a few months prior. Wolfgangs’ Kurt Loder writes that this set sees each of the band members at the top of his game:
I guess we can thank the King Biscuit Flower Hour engineers for capturing this performance with such admirable clarity, allowing us to thrill anew to Joey’s every lovable faux-Brit vocalism, Dee Dee’s inevitable “one-two-three-four” kickoffs (or “ein-zwei-drei-vier” – Dee Dee had a thing about Germany), and Johnny’s breathtaking speed-king Mosrite mow-downs. Drummer-by-default Tommy Ramone is still on-board here (he would shortly step back into producing), and his endearingly unadorned thwap-bap propulsion is still a mini-wonder.
Listen to the Ramones’ 1978 concert in New York City below. Further down, watch The Ramones play in California later that same year via the Paste vault. While you’re at it, read our ranking of their best songs.