At Budokan (1978)

1.Hello There 2.Come On, Come On 3.Lookout 4.Big Eyes 5.Need Your Love 6.Ain't That a Shame 7.I Want You To Want Me 8.Surrender 9.Goodnight Now 10.Clock Strikes Ten


One of the most famous live albums ever, and it almost never even saw the light of day. The history of this release is as follows: The band, never having quite made it in the U.S. is extrememly popular in Japan. They play a series of concerts at the famed shrine for their screaming Japanese admirers. A decision is made to release a live recording in Japan only, probably since, well, the thought is that no one else anywhere else would probably want the thing. Upon release, everyone else in the world finally realizes what they have been missing and the import version of the album sells better than anything else the band has ever released. It's then released worldwide to staggering results.

The three most well known "classic" tracks by the band lead off (what was then) side 2 - Ain't That a Shame, I Want You To Want Me and Surrender. Those three alone are worth the price of the package by itself, yet the whole album is very powerful. Oddly enough, the songs that were picked for this record were the "tamer" songs in the band's catalog, since this is what their Japanese audience seemed to favor. There's nothing at all from the Cheap Trick album and there's only one song (Surrender) from Heaven Tonight which Robin Zander introduces as "off our new album". Of the rest of the songs, half of In Color is featured here, which was definitely the band's softer side.

Live albums, especially single albums, haven't particulary aged well. It's hard to get into a 40 minute concert since many bands now release entire shows on multiple discs. This one is no exception. When you figure that Goodnight Now is essentially a carbon copy of Hello There and that Need Your Love is one of the band's slower (i.e. usually not as good) pieces that clocks in at almost nine minutes, it's very easy to dismiss the album as far from perfect. To the band's credit, they released the complete concert on 2 discs many years later, At Budokan - The Complete Concert,that remedies the above mentioned issue. Several years before that, in 1994, they released Budokan II which featured all the other songs, along with 3 other songs from a different show one year later. This original release may not even be available anymore since At Budokan - The Complete Concert is now available. Anyway, the main thing was that now everyone finally knew what all the fuss was about from Rockford, Illinois.

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