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Music Review: Cheap Trick – BUDOKAN!: 30th Anniversary Edition (1 DVD/3 CDs)

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Cheap Trick, an American rock band from Rockford, Illinois, officially formed in 1974 with Rick Nielson on guitar, Tom Petersson on Bass, Bun E. Carlos on Drums, and Robin Zander on Vocals. They spent the next few years primarily touring the Wisconsin and Northern Illinois/Chicago areas and recording a pair of well reviewed, but low selling albums.

In 1978 the band released their third album; Heaven Tonight, which contained the song “Surrender.” This was the band’s first song to make the Billboard singles chart, peaking at #62. As a side note, this album was also the first to use a 12-string bass guitar. During this time, while none of the band’s three albums had made it into the top 40 in the U.S. (In Color peaked at #73, while Heaven Tonight peaked at #48), all three albums went gold in Japan.

It was for this reason that the band decided to tour Japan and to do their fans there the honor of recording a live album at one of the most revered sports stadiums in the country.

It was a two night stand at Budokan, and its impact catalyzed the world. Now, three decades later, Epic/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG, has released Cheap Trick – BUDOKAN!: 30th Anniversary Edition, a four disk set that contains one DVD and three CD’s, a booklet, and poster.

On the DVD you get the video recording of the second night (April 28th 1978), a one hour 15 song set that was broadcast on Japanese television only once, over 30 years ago. It contains a new studio mix and 5.1 Surround Sound done by the original producer Jack Douglas and engineer Jay Messina.

There are several bonus features on the DVD. One is “Looking Back,” a new conversation with the band about their original experience. There is also video of one more song from 1978, “Come On, Come On” and two songs; “Voices” and “If You Want My Love” from their April 2008 30th Anniversary return concert.

The second disk (first CD) contains the audio from the DVD, and the third and fourth disk (CD 2+3) contain the 20th Anniversary (1998) double CD Live at Budokan that has been further re-mastered using 2008 technology.

First off, let me say that the quality of content of this fabulous. It looks good and sounds good. The video, shot with multiple cameras using a very professional production crew. It is fun to watch the band, especially Nielson bouncing around the stage, and hearing Zander and the rest of the band perform the songs as we have heard them on the original vinyl and subsequently the CD’s. The extras are also a big bonus for the Cheap Trick fan.

The only problem that I can see is the packaging that houses the DVD and CD’s is a slip-case cardboard that could easily scratch the CD and DVD. Mine had a couple of marks that were not quite scratches, but if not careful, could become some. That said the quality of the CD’s were just as crisp and clear as the DVD, and just as much fun to listen to. I give this package four and a half stars.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
  • Glen Boyd

    Yeah I hate those damned sleeves. The paper sleeve on my “deluxe” copy of Dylan’s Modern Times scratched the CD so bad, I had to buy a new one. Nice review though.