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Budokan!: 30th Anniversary Edition
Artist: Cheap Trick
Label: Epic/Legacy Recordings
Set Includes: DVD + 3 CD Package, Scrapbook, Poster

What do you think is the best rock live concert album of all time?  For sheer number of plays for me it’s Cheap Trick At Budokan, and the stellar new "Sight & Sound” deluxe box set Budokan!: 30th Anniversary Edition reinforces that belief in mind-blowing multi-disc glory. 

The Budokan! package kicks off with a never seen in the US DVD release of a concert broadcast only once on Japanese TV.  This fantastic DVD artifact sheds a gigantic spotlight on the concert—after listening to Cheap Trick tear up Budokan live over the last 30 years fans at last get to see and experience first hand the tremendous energy created that special evening on April 28, 1978.  The show features an infectious mix of an ebullient Japanese crowd and Cheap Trick in fine form, smiles plastered across their faces as they feed on the frenzied enthusiasm of the audience.  The boys from Rockford had finally arrived, and you can hear it in their playing and see it on their faces.  The band surprises with their energy and spot-on tightness: Robin Zander sings with a commanding abandon (and plays more rhythm guitar than I thought), Tom Petersson provides powerful low-end and rhythm with his big ol’ eight string bass, Bun E. Carlos looks like a banker but plays like a madman (love the big drum sticks towards te end of the show), and Rick Nielson steals the show with his absurdly frenetic activity and jaw-dropping guitar pyrotechnics.  The DVD concert features a brand new stereo mix by original 1978 producer Jack Douglas and the results are crisp, clean, and sonically stunning.

The DVD also features some nice bonus features:  “Looking Back,” a new documentary interviewing the band about the ’78 Budokan experience in vivid detail, as well as videos of another 1978 performance and several from the 2008 30th anniversary return concert from Budokan in April 2008. 

Disc two includes the complete audio of the DVD produced by Jack Douglas (early Cheap Trick producer who also produced songs on Cheap Trick’s solid Rockford LP) and Jay Messina.  This represents an interesting alternate sound to the At Budokan album that fans are accustomed to hearing.   The sound is bigger and boomier on this version of the concert and the crowd noise is pushed back slightly in this mix, better highlighting the Trick’s rock-solid performance. 

Disc three and four showcase a newly remastered version of the 1998 20th anniversary (1998) double live CD Live at Budokan.  Some fans might quibble that the original At Budokan single disc should have been included, but all of those songs are incorporated in these two discs, as well as additional songs taken from the concerts.  This 2008 remaster (produced by Cheap Trick and Bruce Dickinson) features a deeper sound with sharper highs and booming lows compared to the 1998 version.

All of this rock and roll goodness is wrapped up in sturdy bookshelf-sized box with cool graphics (including the trademark Cheap Trick black and white checkerboard pattern).  The box includes a full color scrapbook with liner notes and a striking, suitable for framing concert-style poster.  This is the essential Cheap Trick multimedia package, an exhaustive trip down memory lane that in infused with an infectious energy and unforgettable rocking moments.  At Budokan has been Rock School 101 for 30 years, Budokan!: 30th Anniversary Edition should be required for a future generation of rockers.

Barry Nothstine hosts Soul Frequency Radio (, a weekly freeform FM radio show showcasing progressive rock, instrumental rock, power-pop, psychedelic rock, rock classics, blues, and more—great rock for the ages! 


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