Blitzkreig in Athens

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With their own slew of official live albums already preserving the Ramones' admittedly (if delightfully) limited live repertoire, one wonders quite what Insect were hoping to prove with this effort -- unless it was part of a plot to thoroughly trash the band's reputation. The welter of incorrect song titles on the track listing is only the first indignity; the Ramones themselves are scarcely any more accurate, pounding with jaded sloppiness through a greatest-hits set they had long since lost interest in. Certainly vocalist Joey sounds distinctly out of sorts, while the trademark count-in before each blitzkrieg is delivered with a laryngitic throatiness which defies medical treatment. Of course, 1989 was scarcely a vintage year for the Ramones; finally emerging from the hardcore chrysalis which derailed them through the mid- to late decade, they were now contending with both bassist Dee Dee's imminent departure, and the end of their career-long pact with Sire Records. If they seem to be playing a little faster than normal, it's not the gig they want to get out of the way, it's the entire tour.

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