The remaining LEAVE HOME Expanded CD bonus offerings comprise an entire live performance at the ROXY in Hollywood from August of 1976-- indeed, their first major trip away from 'HOME.' It reveals the band honing their early stage attack, and spotlighting a handful of tracks from their upcoming sophomore LP-- at that point still a half year away from being released. The set displays blooming confidence and an already noticably accelerating drive (two selections from this recording, CALIFORNIA SUN and I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU eventually found their way on to 45 b-sides.) But although undoubtedly capturing a pivotal point triggering the soon-to-explode L.A. punk scene, this very good (but not exceptional) show is bound to compare unfavorably with IT'S ALIVE and other readily available performances featuring the original lineup. With several notable original demos still uncollected, and the added single track SHEENA IS A PUNK ROCKER inexplicably nudged off the program for eventual appearance elsewhere, the wisdom of including this complete show remains debatable. (Certainly, for example, on the IT'S ALIVE dvd collection, a tendency towards cherrypicking from key shows as opposed to using all available tracks would dominate.) Sonically only slightly better than bootleg level quality, this material is perhaps best absorbed as a snapshot of the band at exactly the midway point between their inception and initial peak. For our purposes here-- focusing on recording and composition-- a brief assessment shall suffice.
The standard opener of their embryonic era kicks off with JOEY's humorous audience greeting, where a polite introduction is contradictorily followed by an immediate admonishment to shut up. A new, powerful musical assurance is plainly tangible.
17. BEAT ON THE BRAT
One of IT'S ALIVE's most glaring omissions, the live potential of this debut favorite is happily realized and documented, despite a few shaky moments from TOMMY.
BEAT ON THE BRAT
18. BLITZKRIEG BOP
Taken at what now seems like an almost sluggish tempo, the single "on SIRE records!" is met with a disconcerting lack of audience participation.
19. I REMEMBER YOU
Surprisingly early in the set, the band slows it down a notch. JOEY gives it his all in his featured, crooning highlight.
I REMEMBER YOU
20. GLAD TO SEE YOU GO
Ample evidence of the wealth of material the band still had on tap for their second release, this effortless go at the still unrecorded GLAD TO SEE YOU GO flies by flawlessly.
GLAD TO SEE YOU GO
The sturdy first lp "love song" proves dependable.
22. 53RD & 3RD
The pathos of DEEDEE's psychodrama are predictably milked, even at this early stage.
53RD & 3RD
23. I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND
An astoundingly long pause before the group trots out this pleading favorite to all of the "special girls" out there. From here on out though, it's a Blitzkrieg all the way.
I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND
24. HAVANA AFFAIR
They punch all the way through their "salsa" number with panache. Lamentably, over the years JOEY's inclination to crack non-sequiturs between songs diminished almost completely.
25. LISTEN TO MY HEART
Precision abounds in these performances, although later--as the live material is grouped into small bursts-- this song will be programmed into a spot which will flaunt the opening guitar figure more impressively.
LISTEN TO MY HEART
26. CALIFORNIA SUN
"Hot doggers, hang ten!", then blastoff into one of the band's most rehearsed covers. Along with I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU, this appeared as the 45 b-side to I WANNA BE YOUR BOYFRIEND in America and I REMEMBER YOU in the UK.
27. JUDY IS A PUNK
The set starts to hurtle towards the end aboard a barrage of debut album crushers, starting with JUDY IS A PUNK, whose odd key protrudes conspicuously.
JUDY IS A PUNK
28. I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU
Pauses in between songs fade away, and DEEDEE dominates--thumping relentlessly on bass and grabbing all the glory of the final line of lyric, leaving him almost without breath for the next 1-2-3-4. In German, naturally.
I DON'T WANNA WALK AROUND WITH YOU
29. TODAY YOUR LOVE, TOMORROW THE WORLD
Only a slightly messy coda mars the set closer, which more than fulfills its role as designated explosive climax.
TODAY YOUR LOVE, TOMORROW THE WORLD
30. NOW I WANNA SNIFF SOME GLUE
The suddenly measurably increased tempos carry through to the encore, as unexpectedly TOMMY counts things off. Breathtaking.
NOW I WANNA SNIFF SOME GLUE
31. LET'S DANCE
What sounds like a shabby edit fails to cover up a rare opening error from perfectionist JOHNNY. Nonetheless, as the RAMONES feverishly finish the show, they have obliterated nearly any notion that their brutal minimalism could not be delivered with dazzling, potent cohesion.