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Cheap Trick

Budokan! (Epic / Legacy)

Reviewed by Dan Oko, Fri., Dec. 12, 2008

Box Sets

Cheap Trick

Budokan! (Epic/Legacy)

Thirty years ago, 14,000 Japanese schoolgirls went crazy. And with good reason. "The Budokan made us famous, and we made the Budokan famous," explains Cheap Trick songsmith and lead guitarist Rick Nielsen of the concert that turned his late-blooming Illinois proto-punks into household names worldwide. Polished again after a 20th anniversary repackaging of the show as The Complete Concert, the newly mixed and remastered 3-CD/1-DVD 30th anniversary edition still has plenty to recommend it. Highlights include a never-before-available DVD taken from Japanese television showing how singer Robin Zander played Daltrey to Nielsen's pick-flicking Townshend. It helps to remember how many dinosaurs still walked (and ruled) the earth back in 1978. Into this generation gap stomped Cheap Trick, singing of the strangeness of suburban American life, reckless youth, and wild romance. Model-handsome Zander, dressed for success in a sharp white leisure suit, his blond tresses flowing, is backed by cutie-pie Tom Petersson, a virtuoso on the 12-string bass, and chunky, chain-smoking drummer Bun E. Carlos, while Nielsen plays the foolish American schoolboy, spazzing out onstage. The original live LP introduced now-classic cuts "Surrender," "I Want You to Want Me," and a heavy cover of Fats Domino's "Ain't That a Shame." Long lost tracks such as the faux-British anthem "Elo Kiddies," a soaring cover of Terry Reid's "Speak Now (or Forever Hold Your Peace)," and the battering beats of "Lookout" sound great, too. The four discs include an audio-only version of the television broadcasts, the DVD, and the virtual gatefold of The Complete Concert spread across discs three and four. A 40-page booklet and looking-back interview footage provide context for the uninitiated.

***.5

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