Friday, February 26, 2010

430 Cheap Trick at Budokan- Second time lucky

Album: Live at Budokan.

Artist: Cheap Trick.

Year: 1978

Genre: Rock.

  1. Hello There
  2. Come On, Come On
  3. Lookout
  4. Big Eyes
  5. Need Your Love
  6. Ain't That a Shame
  7. I Want You to Want Me
  8. Surrender
  9. Goodnight Now
  10. Clock Strikes Ten

There are some artists who crop up fairly regularly in this countdown. Releases by The Beatles are a bit thin on the ground in the lower reaches of the charts but trust me they’ll be back with a vengeance in the upper echelons along with The Stones and Dylan who make up a trinity than seems to dominate almost half the countdown. The Velvet Underground and Big Star have their full discography here somewhere and lots of other artists make repeat appearances. But so far only one band has managed to break into the countdown twice with pretty much the same set of music. There are ten tracks on Live at Budokan, six of which have already appeared on In Color , the album I reviewed a few albums back.

None of those six tracks are what you’d called reworked in any way. They don’t feature extended jam passages, massive changes in tempo, added string sections, changed lyrics, spoken word interludes on the current political climate or a choral backing. They’re pretty much straight ahead versions of songs they’d already recorded in the studio. The only difference is the constant backdrop of screaming Japanese girls which almost drowns out the performers.

Amazingly a steady wash of pre-pubescent Orientals was all that these songs needed to boost sales in America. While In Color sold badly, Live at Budokan, which was supposed to be a Japan only release, was imported into the states so often it eventually got a local release and sold massive amounts. Pretty much the same songs with added high-pitched squealing managed to outsell the originals by a factor of around 100. It’s a wonder other artists didn’t catch onto this: “I’ve got it! I know what this track is missing. Whack on some screeching Japanese girls- there’s your X-factor right there!”

While I could be as cynical as I like about all of this I have to say that I’m not immune to the strange, hirthero unexplored, mystical allure of the screaming Japanese girl effect. I listened to In Color and was under whelmed. It didn’t really do anything for me but Budokan was a much more enjoyable experience. The standout track on both releases is the catchy I want you to want me which was released as the lead single on In Color. It was launched on the unsuspecting world who proceeded to greet it with tidal waves of rampant apathy. The single didn’t chart at all in the US but in Japan it went to number one and was brought by thousands of young girls who took it home and screeched at it. After In Budokan started going places the live version of I want you to Want me was released again and went top ten in the US. Same song but totally different response.

If you listening to In Color triggered your "Meh" response then try giving Live in Budokan a spin. You might find it enables you to get in touch with your inner Japanese teenager. And she deserves to be let out once in a while.

Highlight: I want you to want me.

Lowlight: Goodnight Now.

Influenced by: The Beatles and waves of Japanese adoration.

Influenced: Lots of Japanese pop bands.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This album goes down in the history as one of the greatest live recordings, ever. I recently went to Japan and saw Judas Priest at Budokan (Boo Dough Con, not Boo Duh Con). It was a chilling experience to walk up to this temple like structure...walk inside and imagine what happened inside there in 1978. I was walking back stage in the hallways...and I could imagine Robin Zander warming up vocally...a tinge of nervousness and absolutely no clue what was about to happen. Magic."

-I suspect Zander may have had at least an inkling of what was about to happen. Granted he may not have known the album would take off like it did but I'm pretty sure he knew there was an audience out there on the seats expecting him to play music. Otherwise it must have come as a hell of a surprise when he went out on stage.

So are you willing to give them another go or is having the same songs in the coutndown twice just a Cheap Trick? Let me know below.

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