RAMONES 30TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY 2004-09-12 HOLLYWOOD, CA
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September 12, 2004 I attended the very famous Ramones 30th Anniversary Party in Los Angeles. I received several weeks advanced notice from two different sources (one being Arturo Vega) about this show. Tickets went on sale on August 14th and sold out in just a few minutes. There were so many fans that could not get tickets, I fortunate to get three tickets. This was going to be an all-star tribute to the Ramones. I had a few email conversations with Arturo Vega but I only limited them to what items he was going to sell at the show. My plan was to buy every item. The countdown began and there were 29 days until show day.
It was one week before the show and I already had a box of things to get autographed by any of the artists I would see/meet. I had many records and cd inserts to get autographed. I was hoping to get everything autographed.
It was show day and my beautiful wife Yoly, my brother Javier and I arrived in Los Angeles (from San Diego) around 12PM and decided to go visit our dear friend Dee Dee Ramone. We arrived at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and there were two people already there. We gave them their privacy and then got close to them. One of them came up to me and said that the person he was with is Danny Fields. As soon as he said that I almost passed out. I went up to him and introduced myself to him. He was very nice and began to comment on Dee Dee's headstone. I explained to him a little history of his cemetery site. I told him that before the beautiful headstone that there was a plastic sign that said Douglas Colvin on it. During this time he mentioned that this is where Johnny is going to be. I asked him how Johnny was doing? He said that he was not doing too good and that it would not be too long.
That hit me very hard. After we spoke to him, I asked him if I could take a photo with him next to Dee Dee. He agreed and took many photos with me. He also signed my "Something To Believe In" Promo record. This record was perfect for autographs because it is blank in the back. I later found out that the guy with Danny was Michael Alago, the guy who signed White Zombie to a record contract. I thanked them both and both parties left. As we were leaving the cemetery I had the idea of going back to Danny and Michael to asked them if they needed a ride to the venue. It was too late and I saw them get into a taxi. Just imagine if we arrived to the venue with them? How cool would that be?
We arrived at the venue before 1PM and there were only about 10 people waiting there. We saw many people coming from and to the backstage entrance. So we waited and waited for a while and did not see anyone famous. We took off and came back around 3PM. At this time there was a lot of action happening. There were a lot of people waiting in line and tons of people by the backstage entrance. I had my camera and promo record ready for autographs. One of the first people I saw was Arturo Vega. I took a photo with him and he signed my record. Then I saw Monte Melnick (photo and autograph). Then Seymour Stein (autograph). Then Tim Armstrong (autograph). During this time we could hear a band conducting soundcheck, I heard "I'm Against It". After the music stopped we noticed Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers come out. Anthony had security escort him to the parking lot. Chad took off in a loud motorcycle. Sometime during our wait, I saw a very tall guy with long hair and a huge backpack. It was my good friend Jari-Pekka. It was the first time we met and I took a photo with him. He was very nice and we spoke for a long time. After that a taxi arrived and I almost passed out when I saw Tommy Ramone come out of it. I was standing next to the backstage gate and asked if he would sign an autograph. Unfortunately he couldn't. I continued to wait there and Arturo Vega passed by again and I kindly asked him if he could get Tommy to sign my Rocket To Russia CD insert. My exact words were "I will go home very sad if I leave without getting an autograph by Tommy Ramone". I actually asked him in Spanish...it did the trick. He came back a few minutes later with autographs from Tommy and Danny Fields.
It was now time to go inside the venue. We went up some stairs to the memorabilia area. There were so many people there. I could not believe all of the extremely rare items that were on display. My brother stayed outside so that I could give him all the items I was about to buy. He called me and told me that he just got Marky Ramone's autograph. I was kicking myself for not being outside. My wife and I bought a few sodas and walked around. There was a big crowd next to someone that was coming towards us. It was Henry Rollins, I got close to him and accidentally spilled my soda on him. I thought that he was going to punch my lights out. He was cool about it and left. Next, another crowd. This time is was for Tommy Ramone. He was signing autographs and this was my chance. As soon as I got next to him, he said that he had to leave and no more autographs. We continued to wait and the doors opened and we headed down to the t-shirt stand. I told the guy that I wanted one of each shirt he had for sale. I also bought a few programs and picked up a few free posters and postcards. I then gave them to my brother and we headed up to the seating area. There were tons and tons of people by the stage and it was very difficult to get up close. I could not believe that I was standing in the same room where the Ramones played the FINAL SHOW!
It was show time. On stage came out Rob Zombie and began to speak to the crowd. He introduced the band X to stage and they played for a while. Then he introduced The Dickies. After they played and we waited for a while. He came back on stage and introduced the special guest....Red Hot Chili Peppers. They played all Ramones; I'm Against It, I Wanna Be Sedated, I Just Wanna Have Something To Do and It's A Long Way Back.
During the evening, Rob called Johnny Ramone via his cell phone and read a prepared letter from Johnny. We chanted Hey Ho Let's Go! It was a great feeling to know Johnny was on the phone.
During one of the intermissions, Rob came back out and introduced Tommy Ramone. Tommy gave a great story of the history of the Ramones. His speech was very entertaining and informative. He has a great way of communicating. The speech lasted about 10-15 minutes.
It was almost time for Marky Ramone, CJ Ramone and Daniel Rey to come up and perform. Before Rob introduced them he explained that Johnny Ramone was not able to attend the show due to his illness. Therefore Rob gave Johnny a call on his cell phone from the stage. Rob was telling Johnny how great the show was going and the Rob asked the crowd to chant "Hey Ho, Let's Go" for Johnny. That was very special because it made you feel that Johnny was really there. I still remember shouting at the top of my lungs "Johnny, you're the greatest!"
It was now time for what everyone was waiting for...Rob introduced Marky Ramone, CJ Ramone and Daniel Rey to the stage. CJ and Daniel came out first.
Then Marky came out and spoke to the crowd. He thanked everyone for 30 great years. He also asked for another "Hey Ho, Let's Go" chant.
All of a sudden, CJ shouts out 1-2-3-4! and they started with Durango 95. That just drove everyone crazy. It felt so good to hear that song again live. It was a long time since I heard it.
Durango 95 (Marky, CJ and Daniel Rey)
Wart Hog (Marky, CJ and Daniel Rey)
Strength To Endure (Marky, CJ and Daniel Rey)
KKK Took My Baby Away (w/Robert Carmine of Rooney)
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (w/Robert Carmine of Rooney)
Don't Come Close (w/Pete Yorn)
I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (w/Peter Yorn)
My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) (w/Dickie Barrett and Lawrence Katz of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones)
Cretin Hop (w/Tim Armstrong of Rancid and Brett Gurewitz of Bad Religion)
I Believe In Miracles (w/Eddie Vedder)
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (w/Eddie Vedder)
Judy Is A Punk (w/Henry Rollins and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols)
Commando (w/Henry Rollins and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols)
Blitzkrieg Bop (w/Henry Rollins and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols)
Pinhead (Marky, CJ and Daniel Rey)
The energy throughout the show from the artist and audience was very apparent. Everyone had a great time and it made the show feel very short. I wished it would have lasted all night!
Before exiting the venue, I made sure that I had proof that I was at the show.
The show ended around 11PM. After the show we rushed outside to the backstage exit to wait for any of the Ramones or anyone famous to come out. I was able to get autographs from Rob Zombie and Pete Yorn. Steven Jones is a JERK. I asked him for an autograph and he said no because I was going to sell it. He sucks and the Sex Pistols suck anyway. Then came out Marky Ramone and signed many autographs for me. There was a big crowd for him and my tiny little beautiful wife Yoly was the only girl in a sea of guys next to Marky. I still remember her asking Marky for an autograph with her small voice. Marky was very nice and I also took a photo with him. Then we saw Daniel Rey and he signed many autographs for me and I took a photo with him. He was really cool.
I still needed one more person to get autographs from. I was told that CJ Ramone was still inside. So we waited, waited, waited and waited outside for him. Jari-Pekka was also waiting there with me. It was over 2 hours after the show and still no CJ. It was really late and we had to leave. Later I found out that CJ came out about 30 minutes after we left.
I am so grateful that I was part of history. There are no word to explain how great the show was. The fans were so excited to see the performers as were the performers were to see the fans. The show was LOUD as they always were!
A special thanks to Arturo Vega and Joe Sib for producing such an excellent show.
Congratulations to the Ramones and Ramones Fans for 30th amazing years! May we have another 30!