Punk Rock was always meant to be a flash in the pan. The Sex Pistols
never intended to be playing concerts in their 60's, they wanted to make
the world sit up and take notice so they could flip it the finger.
That's pretty much what happened to the Pistols, recording only one album,
albeit a classic one, in their short career. Another influential
punk band that only lasted a short while was the Dead Boys. Starting
in Cleveland in 1975 but soon moving to New York (at the urging of Joey
Ramone) the Dead Boys took the Big Apple by storm and quickly gained fame
and notoriety in the world of Punk Rock. Four years and two albums
later they would disband. In 1986 the group reunited for a Halloween
Night concert at The Ritz in New York which was recorded. While not
at the absolute top of their game, but group still had a lot of the energy
and intensity the made them famous. This short (running only 50 minutes)
but exciting event has now found its way onto DVD on the aptly titled Return
of the Living Dead Boys: Halloween Night 1986.
with a presumably consumer-grade camcorder from the back of the concert
hall, this show starts off with a quick introduction to the group by Joey
Ramone. The group launches into their most famous song, "Sonic Reducer"
first, which they also close the gig with. It takes the group a couple
of songs to really get their bearings, though that may be because it took
them a bit to get used to lead singer Stiv Bators rather odd outfit.
He's dressing in black leather including elbow-length gloves and leather
Dress aside, Stiv and the boys put on a great show. The audience
really gets into the set and has a great time. People climb onto
the stage, dance around with the band for a bit before diving back into
the mob, the performers seemingly oblivious.
The set itself really rock if you're into (or can remember a time when
you were, which is my case) hard thrashing punk. The group is in
top form after a couple of songs and stays there for the rest of the show.
They do great version of Son of Sam and 3rd Generation Nation off of their
second album as well as I Need Lunch and Down in Flames from their first.
They even do a cover version of the Stooges "Search and Destroy" which
is very energetic.
songs included are:
All This And More
Caught With The Meat In Your Mouth
Calling On You
Won't Look Back
What Love Is
I Need Lunch
Ain't Nothing To Do
Down In Flames
Son Of Sam
3rd Generation Nation
Search And Destroy
High Tension Wire
The disc offers both a stereo and a DD 5.1 track, the latter of which
throws a lot of the audience noise to the rears. Not the last word
in high fidelity, the audio is acceptable but not much more than that.
The range is rather limited and the sound isn't as crisp as it should be.
Punk wasn't about crisp clear sound however, so that's not a huge defect.
While there's a touch of distortion here and there, it was very minor,
and there wasn't any background noise or tape his noticeable at normal
The video wasn't too impressive. Filmed with a camcorder from
the back of the hall, the image quality is about what you'd expect given
its origins. The picture is very soft, the detail is lacking and
the there are some video dropouts and tape tracking errors. The disc
isn't horrible however, I've seen a lot worse in my time. Definitely
watchable it's a nice record of a historic performance.
The only extra is an old VHS dub of a TV interview from 1980 with band
members Stiv Bators and Frank Secich from Good Morning Youngstown. This
15+ minute clip starts off with a video for "Sonic Reducer" and then has
some local TV personality interview the pair. The whole setup was
funny starting with the bland and innocuous theme song of the morning show
to the (white) interviewer's afro. Fans of the group will get a kick
out of this.
This concert is an archive from a lost time. This concert
by one of the important US Punk bands is a great flash from the past.
Though the video quality is only marginal the songs sound good and that's
what it's all about. Aging punks and those who've just discovered
the music form should check this out. Recommended.