Desert Island Discs: “Cheap Trick at Budokan” (1979)Posted: November 23, 2011
By 1978 Cheap Trick had released three LPs in the US. They’d gotten some critical acclaim, but were still being road dogs and touring their asses off. In the meantime, however, all three releases had gone gold in Japan. Hastily a tour was launched, featuring two concerts at a Tokyo sumo wrestling stadium called the Nippon Budokan.
Epic Records recorded the two shows and issued it in 1978 for Japanese release only. However some of the tracks found their way stateside and Epic released it worldwide in early 1979. My roommate and I had this album on the turntable at our place all summer long.
As Robert Christgau once observed, all live albums suck unless you’re a fan. Excellent live albums, I think, are rare. This is one.
Cuts from this album were all over the radio that spring and summer. “I Want You To Want Me” hit the top ten, and a cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame” hit the top forty. “Surrender” became a mainstay at album oriented rock stations, and still is. But the song that made this album for me is “Come On Come On.” It wasn’t till years later that I heard the studio version, and the Budokan version still sounds like the right one to me.
“At Budokan” put Cheap Trick on the map here. They’re still going strong. Listen and you’ll know.