Cheap Trick’s live album, ‘At Budokan,’ recorded in 1978 and released in 1979, is widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time. The album captured the energy and excitement of the band’s performances at the historic Budokan arena in Tokyo, Japan, and helped catapult them to international stardom.
Originally intended as a Japan-only release, ‘At Budokan’ became a surprise success in the United States, thanks in part to the popularity of the single “I Want You to Want Me.” The album eventually went triple platinum and remains Cheap Trick’s best-selling release to date.
The Budokan arena, located in the heart of Tokyo, has long been a prestigious venue for musicians from around the world. Built in 1964 for the judo competition during the Summer Olympics, the arena quickly became a popular destination for rock concerts due to its excellent acoustics and capacity of over 14,000 people.
Cheap Trick’s performances at Budokan were a turning point in their career. The band had already released three studio albums at the time, but it was their live shows that truly showcased their talent and charisma. The energy and enthusiasm of the Japanese audience, combined with the band’s electrifying performances, created an unforgettable experience for both the band and the fans.
‘At Budokan’ features a selection of Cheap Trick’s best-known songs, including “Surrender,” “Hello There,” and “Ain’t That a Shame.” The album captures the raw power and tight musicianship of the band, with lead vocalist Robin Zander’s soaring vocals, Rick Nielsen’s blistering guitar solos, Tom Petersson’s melodic bass lines, and Bun E. Carlos’ thunderous drumming.
One of the standout moments on the album is the live version of “I Want You to Want Me.” Originally released as a single in 1977, the song became a massive hit when the live version was included on ‘At Budokan.’ The crowd’s enthusiastic response to the song, captured on the recording, adds an extra level of excitement and energy.
‘At Budokan’ also includes a cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame,” which became another hit for the band. Cheap Trick’s version of the song stays true to the original while adding their own unique flair, showcasing their ability to put their own stamp on classic songs.
‘At Budokan’ not only solidified Cheap Trick’s status as a top-tier rock band but also helped pave the way for other live albums to achieve mainstream success. The album’s success inspired countless bands to release live recordings, and it remains a benchmark for the genre.
The album continues to resonate with fans, both old and new, and serves as a testament to the enduring power of Cheap Trick’s music and their electrifying live performances.
Cheap Trick’s ‘At Budokan’ is a landmark live album that captured the energy and excitement of the band’s performances at the historic Budokan arena. With its memorable songs, tight musicianship, and enthusiastic audience, the album remains a classic and a must-listen for any rock music fan.
Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to Cheap Trick’s music, ‘At Budokan’ is a testament to the band’s talent and the enduring power of live music.