Milton keynes bowl 22-06-85
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Hands Across Your Face
Do You Remember The First Time???
It was one month after my seventeenth birthday and four years since I had first heard ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’, the song that introduced me to the Ramones. In those four years I had purchased almost the complete Ramones back catalogue (missing only Blitzkrieg Bop with picture sleeve) and had researched and read everything I could find about the Ramones.
At the age of thirteen I had enrolled into ‘Rock’n’ Roll High School’ and now, after four long years of constant studying, I was ready to sit my first practical exam!! But it wasn’t going to be easy...
I had considered having an early night in preparation for the big day, but the chance of some last minute revision in the form of Dr. & the Medics and The Damned at Leicester proved to be the best option. Then before I knew it I was standing in a field with seventy thousand other lucky candidates waiting to begin.
The day had started well, the sun was shining quite happily when we arrived in Milton Keynes and I was enjoying Spear of Destiny. However, keeping one eye on the stage and the other on the bottles that seemed to black out the sky above me was a lesson I had to learn very quickly in order to avoid a serious plastic bottle injury! That was until Billy Bragg arrived on stage, when all of a sudden without any apparent provocation the bottles seemed to be redirected at him.
Although the day began sunny, it had been trying to rain all day, but it wasn’t until about 5:00pm that we found out what the rain was waiting really for. Just as the Ramones hit the stage, with Johnny and Dee Dee standing on their boxes thrashing out their new instrumental “Durango 95”, the rain started to piss down. I was about ten rows from the stage and for the first time in the day, the crowd had been awoken. They were going wild...
I had never experienced anything like it. Forget worrying about getting hit on the head with a bottle, concentrate on keeping yourself standing upright. It seems the crowd had missed the Ramones over the last four years as much as I had longed to see them. Then what appeared to be about a hundred people were lying on the floor around me, and I was standing on my own trying to pull people back to their feet. I still wonder how I managed to keep my balance, I think it was just the fear of getting trampled to death and lost forever in the mud that was fast developing beneath my feet.
Well, by the time I dared to glance another look at the stage, Joey was welcoming us all to Vietnam and then to Woodstock, while Dee Dee was counting us into what according to Joey was the Ramones adaptation of “We are the world” (Blitzkrieg Bop) and more mayhem down at the front. So it was Hold tight, Grit your teeth and Hey Ho, Let’s Go...
I have fond memories of Joey telling us we didn’t give a shit about the rain and that we really knew how to kick the summer off right. I can remember how warm it felt in amongst the crowd (although very unsafe indeed) as the rain came down and the steam rose from the heat of the tightly massed bodies, we really were “Generating steam heat” that day!!!. We were generating a lot of mud too, and things began to get very slippery underfoot. The crowd slipped from side to side as we attempted to move in some wet form of pogo dancing amongst all the chaos that was engulfing everyone down at the front.
So the songs thrashed by, most notable “Carbona not Glue” in the encore (the only time I ever remember hearing it live), and as the Ramones left the stage at the end of a twenty-eight song set the rain remarkably STOPPED, for a few minutes at least!!
And that was that, I’d taken my first exam towards earning my PhD and becoming a “Teenage Lobotomy”...
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