There Goes The Budokan (Zion-027)
Budokan, Tokyo, Japan – May 18th, 1981
Disc 1 (44:41): Opening, Meadows, In The City, Over And Over, Band Introduction, A Life Of Illusion, The Bomber, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Dreams, Theme From Boat Weirdos
Disc 2 (59:13): You Never Know, Rivers (Of The Hidden Funk), Life’s Been Good, Rocky Mountain Way, Funk #49, All Night Long, Get Back
When The Eagles broke up for the first time in 1980 amid threats of backstage pugilism, the individual members all carried on afterwards with their solo careers. Joe Walsh was the first to release a solo album when There Goes The Neighborhood was released in March 1981 which shouldn’t be surprising since he carried on a solo career concurrently in this time with the band.
It is surprising to see a silver pressed Walsh title from Japan. Released the same time as The Eagles Gonna Last Forever (Zion-026), it has similar sound quality and probably comes from the same taper. It is slightly more distant than The Eagles’ tape and has a bit more echo, but is still a very nice recording of a very rare show.
The tape opens with a short tune up before the old Barnstorm song “Meadows.” The mid-tempo deceptively catchy tune is played closer to the four-minute The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get arrangement instead of the seven-minute live version found on You Can’t Argue With A Sick Mind.
Walsh follows with “In The City” from The Eagles’ latest album followed by “Over And Over” from But, Seriously Folks… He quickly introduces the band before “Life Of Illusion,” his current hit from his latest LP.
The audience grow a bit impatient and start yelling out “ROCK AND ROLL” and song requests. Clearly not pleased, Walsh follows with the old James Gang song “The Bomber.” Live versions include the extended “Bolero” section and Vince Guaraldi’s mid-1960’s “Cast Your Fate to the Wind.” It’s such a great performance that, when Walsh afterwards tells the audience that he’s going to play “a few quiet songs,” the crowd becomes quite impatient and continue to shout “ROCK AND ROLL.”
Sitting at the piano he introduces the next as a song that is a “very important song for humanity in general and I’d like to share it with you now.” He plays an off-beat version of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” the familiar chorus only. Although not stated, he might have included this piece as a protest against the looming strike that year in Major League Baseball in the US. It was supposed to start two weeks after this show on May 29, but eventually started on June 12th and lasted six weeks.
“Dreams” is another slower song and the audience howl in protest, begging for “All Night Long” and “Rocky Mountain Way.” Walsh assures them those songs will be played, “but we have a whole bunch of songs to play before that” before another slower song “Theme From The Boat Weirdos.”
With the mellow set of songs over, Walsh begins the second half of the show with “You Never Know” from the new album. It features a funky improvisation in the middle, pushing the song past its studio counterpart. It’s a scorching song, but Walsh almost loses the audience with the slower “Rivers (Of The Hidden Funk).” At the end the audience become agitated and beg for rock and roll and “Life’s Been Good.”
He hears them and says, “OK, time for rock and roll, huh?” Receiving the biggest ovation of the night, “Life’s Been Good” is augmented by various sound effects and extended jams on both guitar and piano. Walsh even changes the last line from “everybody’s so different / I haven’t changed” to “everybody’s so different / I am insane.”
“Rocky Mountain Way” begins “Spent the last year / in Tokyo Japan way” and is another loose, bluesy jam which entertains the audience. Walsh has much fun with the talk box, and there is even a short boogie woogie piano interlude before Walsh’s slide guitar heroics.
The show ends with the old James Gang song “Funky 49” and the song they’ve been begging for all night “All Night Long.” The band return one more time to play a faithful cover of The Beatles’ “Get Back” including the little keyboard solo in the middle.
Walsh was at a peak in the early eighties and the set list bears so many hits another other great songs that it’s always fun to hear. There Goes The Budokan is packaged in a slimline jewel case with various photographs from the era. It is worth having alone for the rarity of having a Joe Walsh concert, but it is also a fun show to hear.