On April 28th and 30th, 1978, Cheap Trick performed at Tokyo’s Budokan Hall before a wildly enthusiastic audience. The show was recorded with the idea of releasing a live album for the Japanese market.
From their second studio album, “In Color,” they launched into “I Want You To Want Me.” The studio version of this song is good, but it comes off relatively lifeless when compared to the live version.
The audience in unison contributed enthusiastic backing vocals. There was an unbridled joy. The band and the audience were in top form. It was one of those rare moments when magic struck.
“Cheap Trick At Budokan” eventually sold over three million copies and was Cheap Trick’s best seller.
Half of Cheap Trick looked like a conventional ‘70s Rock band. It was the other half – drummer Bun E. Carlos (Brad Carlson) and guitarist Rick Nielsen – that broke the mold. Carlos looked a tad over-weight, with a receding hairline and a droopy mustache was described as looking more like somebody’s brother-in-law or an accountant, than a member of a major group.
Then there was Nielsen, a world class musician, with his sweater, bow tie and short hair covered by a baseball cap. He looked like a grownup version of everybody’s mischievous and annoying kid brother. He also had a tendency to play outrageous looking guitars. Nielsen, Carlos and bassist Tom Petersson had played together but it wasn’t until vocalist/guitarist Robin Zander joined that they became Cheap Trick.
They followed their Budokan success with studio albums “Heaven Tonight” and “Dream Police,” and scored with the Fats Domino song “Ain’t That a Shame” (also recorded live). “Dream Police” contained the title track and classic “Surrender.”
In ‘80, Petersson left to start a group with his wife but he was back in ‘88 for “Lap Of Luxury” which included a cover of Elvis Presley’s biggest hit “Don’t Be Cruel.” It did the trick for Cheap Trick too.
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Budokan concerts, “Cheap Trick At Budokan: The Complete Concert” was released in ’98. The band also undertook an anniversary tour/victory lap.