One of the last living members of THE RAMONES rocks out in Dallas.
1, 2, 3, 4!, he yelled from center stage. CJ Ramone launched into the track Understand Me? from his latest album, Last Chance To Dance and the crowd at Three Links in Dallas, Texas was electrified. To be only the second night of the tour, the band sounded top notch.
The crowd was full of middle-aged punks and rockers who’d gathered to bear witness to one of the last living members of THE RAMONES. Some members of the crowd even showed up dressed as members of the band, in wigs and leather jackets. Although not an original member, CJ, who joined the band in 1989 after the departure of founding member Dee Dee Ramone, played with the band until their final show in 1996.
Other former Ramones members Marky Ramone and Richie Ramone are still active and touring, but the fact that CJ Ramone was also an occasional lead vocalist for the band lends some additional level of nostalgia to his shows. In many ways, his live sound is as close to live THE RAMONES as we will ever get again.
As he and his band powered through the set list at breakneck speed, almost every era of the band was covered. He also played quite a few of his solo efforts. Early in the set, CJ stopped to address the crowd. He reminded everyone that it was April 15th, Joey Ramone’s birthday. He then led the crowd in a heartfelt rendition of Happy Birthday To You and then dove back into the music everyone came to hear. When he launched into The KKK Took My Baby Away a violent mosh pit like the good ol’ days formed. People were punched, pushed and knocked to the floor. The audience was having a blast.
It wasn’t the intensity of the pits I grew up with, but for a bunch of middle-aged people who had to be at work the next day, it was pretty respectable.
CJ and his bandmates pummeled the crowd with favorites like Rockaway Beach, Blitzkreig Bop and I Wanna Be Sedated and the energy never waned. In true THE RAMONES fashion, when the show closer, R.A.M.O.N.E.S. came to an end, CJ screamed Ramones forever! and walked off. The crowd was exhausted and satisfied.
I’ve kept this short and sweet. I could go on about how great the show was, but I won’t. When dealing with anything tied to THE RAMONES, that just wouldn’t seem appropriate.