Very nice live show from the Roxy Theatre, Hollywood California, January 4, 1987. This is the same show as the CDs In The Flesh, Hollywood Babylon and One For The Road and the video Panic On Sunset Strip. Good sound, the band is hot and Johnny sounds tight. Tracks 9-13 are Johnny solo on acoustic guitar and the rest are with the band. This has all the faves except Chinese Rocks!
Hollywood Babylon and One For The Road are 72 minutes long. In The Flesh and Panic On Sunset Strip are only 63 minutes long. The shorter CDs are missing the audience noise and a lot of Johnny talking at the end of the tracks. I think it adds to the show so would prefer the longer CDs.
Being a devoted scholar of the New York Dolls school of rock'n'roll has two main drawbacks:
Fortunately the first problem has been mitigated in recent years with an increasing number of releases of material - both studio and live - relating particularly to the Dolls and to Johnny Thunders, although it is still far too sporadic for my liking.
The second problem has not really gone away, although the development of the Internet has proved a considerable help, particularly when site like this one exists. However, every so often you pick up on a real gem which makes your life all the better for living .and I'm glad to say that Thursday, 14 December 2000 was one such day.
I was searching through the HMV website and thought I'd have a look at the Thunders section just out of interest. I then noticed an album listed as Panic On Sunset Strip although no other details were available. I wasn't sure whether this was a new release, an old release I'd just never picked up on or even some previously available material which had been merely re-packaged, which is often the case.
As I was intrigued by the title, and still hungry as ever for more new Thunders material, I hot footed it down to HMV in Manchester at lunchtime to check out the CD racks. Much to my surprise, I found this very CD in the Thunders section. However it was still sealed up and the cardboard cover only gave so much information away. The 18 tracks suggested it was a live show. It was also obviously from the late 1980's as the band comprised Johnny on guitar and vocals, Arthur Kane (the "Killer" himself) on bass, Jerry Nolan on drums and Barry Jones on guitar. It didn't look anything like any CDs that had previously been available so I stumped up the required £12.99 to take it home.
When I got to unseal the package, things looked even more promising. It was a show recorded at the Roxy Theater, Los Angeles on 4 April 1987. The liner notes, written by Bill Holdship in February 2000, suggested that "there has never been an excellent live document (of Thunders) officially available until now". Well I've heard that one before! In any case what about Live at the Speakeasy from 1977, which is undoubtedly one of the most important rock'n'roll documents ever released and which is certainly the definitive representation of Thunders work. Admittedly no other release has really come anywhere near close to this but we live in hope. Anyway, I put the CD in the machine, which clocked the show at about 60 minutes. I'm very happy to say that the hour that followed was probably one of the best hours I have had since I last saw Thunders play live back in 1987!
The CD is an absolute must for any Thunders fan, indeed anyone who is anything like serious about rock'n'roll. The set list is a fantastic collection of Thunders material drawn from all the important phases of his tempestuous career, including a number of personal favourites. The sound quality is fantastic. The performance of Thunders and his tight band is awesome. For me this is a truly definitive rock'n'roll document which I will play until my CD player wears out. From beginning (a classic version of Pipeline) to end (a storming version of Born To Lose), including Thunders acoustic set in the middle, the band just rock and enjoyment oozes from every corner of the Roxy. I can say little more other than go and buy it as quickly as you can .oh and well done to Munster Records for digging this one out .lets hope there is more where this came from.
|Johnny Thunders - Panic On Sunset Strip|
|CD||Spain||2000||Munster MRCD195||cardboard sleeve (no jewel case)|
|LP||Spain||2000||Munster MR195||picture disk|