Joey Ramone Tribute Concert : New York Hammerstein Ballroom

Joey would've been proud...

Life’s a gas. When Joey Ramone realised he’d never make his 50th birthday party, he made family and friends promise to follow his plans to have the best celebration possible. Tributes came from the New York punk rock old guard, including Richard Hell, Joan Jett, Tommy Ramone, Danny Fields, Legs McNeil and John Holmstrom of [I]Punk[/I] magazine.

Tonight, Blondie make a special return to the live arena and play a set that belts through everything from ‘Hanging On The Telephone’ to ‘Rip Her To Shreds’, climaxing with an achingly romantic cover of The Ramones’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’. Later, Cheap Trick confide that their final song of the night, ‘Surrender’, had always been Joey’s favourite, but it’s surprise headliners The Damned who bring the house down with storming versions of ‘New Rose’ and ‘Neat Neat Neat’.

Backstage, the bar is like a punk rock high school reunion and, true to form, it all ends in chaos when two people burst out of a giant cake. Within seconds, birthday cake is flying around, triggering memories of the Ramones movie Rock’N’Roll High School. To top it all, Joey’s mum Charlotte sends everyone home with goody bags of punk rock posters and badges.

Joey would’ve been proud.

Penny Brignell

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