Album #446 – Cheap Trick At Budokan

Album #446

Cheap Trick At Budokan is another example of an artist recording a live album before they hit it big and then becoming an overnight success because of that live record. KISS and Peter Frampton had the same thing happen to them in the late 70’s. Prior to this album’s release, Cheap Trick struggled to get onto the charts in their home country. They had been a band for 2 and 1/2 years prior to the release of At Budokan. But, the group were HUGE in Japan. Several of their early singles became hits over there so, the band decided to record a series of concerts at the Budokan in Tokyo, the biggest arena in that country. You can hear the crowd screaming and it makes the experience of listening to this album akin to what Beatlemania must have sounded like. Cheap Trick At Budokan was released in the fall of ’78 in Japan and became an instant best-seller. There became a push for the album to be released in North America and it finally got a domestic release in early 1979. Because of Cheap Trick’s success in recording a live album at the Budokan, many rock stars followed suit including Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan, recording and releasing live albums from the famed venue around the same time. The sound of Cheap Trick is pure rock and roll. Power pop is what it became known as. The album cover features lead singer Robin Zander and bassist Tom Petersson in somewhat of a tradition. It would be the third time that Petersson and Zander were on the front cover and guitarist/songwriter Rick Nielsen and Drummer Bun E. Carlos were on the back. Nielsen wrote all the band’s songs and Zander added his touch on them with one of the best voices in rock. The band was a tight unit and knew how to put on a great show. Cheap Trick At Budokan demonstrates that as does the album’s biggest single and their signature song, I Want You To Want Me. The energy in that concert hall is unreal and, at times, the screaming crowd drowns out the band. This album is a must listen because of the power of a great concert. The crowd makes the show as much as the band does and that lesson is demonstrated on Cheap Trick At Budokan. Other highlights include: Hello There (originally written by Nielsen as a way to soundcheck at the beginning of their gigs before they made it, as Cheap Trick didn’t always get one in their early days), Come On, Come On, Need Your Love, a rockin’ cover of Fats Domino’s Ain’t That A Shame, Surrender, Goodnight Now ( a re-worded version of Hello There) and Clock Strikes Ten. Overall, I give Cheap Trick At Budokan, 5 out of 5.

Next: Tusk by Fleetwood Mac

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