The Beatles “Budokan 30.6.1966 Reel Recording”
Remaster : Introduction / Rock and Roll Music / She’s A Woman / If I Needed Someone / Day Tripper / Baby’s In Black / I Feel Fine / Yesterday / i Wanna be Your Man / Nowhere Man / Paperback Writer / I’m Down / Outroduction
Reel Direct : Rock and Roll Music / She’s A Woman / If I Needed Someone / Day Tripper / Baby’s In Black / I Feel Fine / Yesterday / I Wanna be Your Man / Nowhere Man / Paperback Writer / I’m Down
The Beatles Japanese concerts have been bootlegged time and time before and generally from the video soundtrack or laserdisc released commercially in it’s own country. This version of the release purports to feature the audio taken from the original Sony Type-7 reel to reel tape ( presumably straight from the TV stations own masters ) and also adds, for good measure, a remaster of the reel itself. As you might expect, for the best part, it sounds fantastic.
A little background behind the Japanese concerts first – The two shows were held at the Budokan hall and were the first by a musical popular act to be held there. Though concerts by other rock acts have been staged there since there were repercussions against the band forcing them to stay within the confines of their hotel between nights. Although Eastern concert goers are usually noted as being a little more more reserved that their western cousins Beatlemania had obviously struck at the heart of the nation as much as it had done the rest of the world and the girls and boys are no less ardent than the familial scenes from the other Beatles live appearances or their films.
This show begins with the Japanese introduction by the MC, who then repeats himself in English, followed by a little warming up by the band straight in to “Rock And Roll Music”, the tape slips from a slightly shallower sound to a full mono and the tape continues in the same vein from there. There are little idents that remind the listener that we’re in the land of the rising sun ( Note Macca’s solitary Japanese word “Domo” after “She’s A Woman” ) and that we’re in the land of fun that the fabs would inhabit on stage when their unique personalities and foibles would present themselves ( As with John’s gibberish take on Japanese before “Day Tripper”. )
It goes without saying that the band are obviously fired up to put on a good show after their imposed incarceration and the shunts of previous touring. On their rockier songs, the Beatles really take off. On the slower songs, they’re still raring to go.
The remaster sounds a little more even and rounded than the direct reel transfer but as the tape was, as mentioned already, excellent mono, either of the two masters would suit the casual fan just fine.
Rather strangely the direct reel transfer omits the spoken introduction and outro so I might have to suggest that this was either shipped in from another release or was cut from this master for whatever reason (This may also account for the rise in quality post introduction.)
The artwork is handsome enough – a mock up of the Memorex case that the reels appears in on one side of the front slip along with a mainly grey scaled collage on the rear. The back of the case features an artfully faded photo of the band on stage on the same night and – thank goodness – not a white suit oversight to be seen.
While discussion rages to which release is the best of the Budokan concerts this this release shouldn’t be ignored. I would have taken a double disk version if both reels were present to have been remastered but if you need only one souvenir from these shows this is a very good and affordable release.