The Real Budokan (Tarantura TCDCH-1 – 1, 2)
Budokan Dai-Hall, Tokyo, Japan – April 28th, 1978
Disc 1 (49:59): Opening, Introduction, Hello There, Come On Come On, ELO Kiddies, Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace, Big Eyes, Lookout, Downed, Can’t Hold On, Oh Caroline, Surrender, Auf Wiedersehen
Disc 2 (43:07): Need Your Love, High Roller, Southern Girls, I Want You To Want Me, California Man, Goodnight, Ain’t That A Shame, Clock Strikes Ten, Stranger (Tape) – Billy Joel
Cheap Trick already had three moderately successful albums for Epic when they traveled to Japan. The six night tour resulted in what witness said was akin to Beatlemania. The two Tokyo shows on April 28th and April 30th were taped, edited, and packaged as their most successful album Cheap Trick At Budokan.
The performances were raw and exciting, played with thousands of screaming Japanese girls in the background. The performances were not necessarily better than the studio recordings, but screaming girls certainly add to the appeal.
The Real Budokan on Tarantura contains a new and previously uncirculated Mr. Peach recording of the April 28th show. Like most of his tapes, this is very loud, clear, detailed and exciting. This is the first Cheap Trick concert documented by Tarantura and hopefully won’t be the last.
Cheap Trick play the same set list as the other shows. With no alterations in the set, it’s the same series of songs found on the official Cheap Trick At Budokan: The Complete Concert. The second show on April 30th was broadcast on television, but no evidence that this one was filmed nor how much of this show was used on the official LP in 1979.
Disc one opens with the roar of the crowd and the band’s introduction before their little introductory ditties, “Hello, There,” “Come On, Come On” and the new wave “ELO Kiddies.” Rick Nielsen serves as mc throughout the show and introduces bassist Tom Petersson who plays a rudimentary bass solo before the Terry Reid cover “Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace” from their first album.
Nielsen gets into a humorous story before “Can’t Hold On,” explaining that the first thing he did when he arrived in Japan the previous week was to buy a “Japanese guitar.”
The highlights of the set includes the catchy pop numbers such as “Surrender” and “I Want You To Want Me.” They are quite rightly their biggest hits and it’s great to hear them from the perspective of the caterwauling girls on on the excellent audience tape.
But even more interesting are times when the band become more adventurous like the dark “Auf Weidersehen,” the overtly dramatic “Need Your Love” and their jam code to the Fats Domino tune “Ain’t That A Shame” in the encore set. Even at the height of their initial success they were trying to grow past the power-pop image of their hits and establish themselves as serious artists.
The tape ends with “Clock Strikes Ten” and, after the band leave the stage, Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” played over the PA as the audience leaves the venue.
The Real Budokan is packaged in a gatefold cardboard sleeve with various photographs from the first Japanese tour. Tarantura, who are always assiduous in their attention to detail in the packaging, also utilize the typewriter font from the first couple of Cheap Trick albums and have a photo of Mr. Peach’s actual cassettes.