Ramones

It's Alive [40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition]

(CD - Rhino / Warner Bros. / Warner Music #46045)

Review by

No band so richly deserved the adjective "unrelenting" as the Ramones, especially on-stage. On their studio albums, the band occasionally threw in some overdubs and production niceties to mix things up, but in concert, they were like a big-block hot rod thrown into fifth gear -- your best bet was to hold on, because they weren't slowing down any time soon. There is no better recorded document of the Pride of Forest Hills showing an audience what's what than 1979's It's Alive, recorded at London's Rainbow Theatre on the last day of 1977 as they wrapped up a U.K. tour. If you're looking for nuance or variety, you're going to be let down, but that was never what the Ramones were about. Their purpose in life was to provide high-energy fun fueled by downstroked guitar, a loud snare on the two and four, and lyrics that could have been lifted from Mad Magazine, and It's Alive delivers those goods in plentiful supply. The set list collects the highlights from the group's first three albums, with the arrangements stripped to the essentials and played with the taut authority and sweat of a seasoned band hitting their marks. The performances on It's Alive are tight enough to harness the full power of the Ramones and their songs, but with just enough flexibility to make this stuff swing hard. This was the last Ramones album to feature the original lineup of Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee, and Tommy, with Marky Ramone taking over on drums in 1978, and with It's Alive they went out in style -- it's not only the best Ramones live album, it's one of the best and most effective live albums in the rock canon, and every bit as essential as Ramones, Leave Home, or Rocket to Russia. [In 2019, Rhino Records celebrated the 40th Anniversary of It's Alive's release with a Deluxe Edition box set. The set included the original album in its original two-LP format, making its first appearance on vinyl in North America, as well as four CDs, containing the original It's Alive as well as three other complete, professionally recorded shows from the same British tour. While the audio on It's Alive brought out a certain grandeur in the performances and made the band sound suitably big, the mixes for the three bonus shows are far more straightforward, with a tone that's more raw and the audience far less audible, and the set list is essentially the same on each gig. But the music confirms the Ramones were on point throughout the tour, and each show is a blast to hear. The package also comes with a book featuring essays from producer/engineer Ed Stasium and fan Steve Albini, and this should warm the heart of anyone who ever loved this great band. Hey Ho, Listen Up.]

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:23
2 01:53
3 02:06
4 02:22
5 01:49
6 01:35
7 02:32
8 01:39
9 02:14
10 01:34
11 01:40
12 02:54
13 02:19
14 01:52
15 01:34
16 01:44
17 01:21
18 02:49
19 01:38
20 01:27
21 02:01
22 02:01
23 01:12
24 01:51
25 02:06
26 01:38
27 01:19
28 02:09

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:27
2 01:58
3 02:06
4 02:26
5 01:52
6 01:45
7 02:27
8 01:38
9 02:26
10 01:41
11 01:53
12 02:53
13 02:21
14 01:45
15 01:37
16 01:47
17 01:23
18 02:43
19 01:43
20 01:30
21 02:21
22 02:04
23 01:56
24 02:03
25 01:44
26 01:22
27 02:10

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:27
2 01:52
3 01:59
4 02:19
5 01:47
6 01:33
7 02:23
8 01:37
9 02:22
10 01:38
11 01:46
12 02:57
13 02:18
14 01:43
15 01:34
16 01:43
17 01:20
18 03:13
19 01:39
20 01:28
21 02:33
22 01:55
23 01:53
24 02:15
25 01:39
26 01:19
27 02:10

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:27
2 01:53
3 02:02
4 02:24
5 01:48
6 01:34
7 02:23
8 01:40
9 02:23
10 01:34
11 01:49
12 03:05
13 02:15
14 01:42
15 01:34
16 01:44
17 01:20
18 03:00
19 01:36
20 01:27
21 02:40
22 01:57
23 01:52
24 02:37
25 01:40
26 01:18
27 03:09
blue highlight denotes track pick