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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008

Cheap Trick

Budokan! (Epic/Legacy)

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There should be little argument that Cheap Trick's 1979 live album, At Budokan, ranks among rock's seminal live recordings, paving the way for practically every band that dared call itself "power pop." No wonder Epic Records has reissued numerous versions of that April 1978 concert at Tokyo's Nippon Budokan arena over the years. But none comes close to Budokan!, the Godzilla of reissues, featuring three CDs and one DVD that mark the original album's 30th anniversary.

The audio discs include Cheap Trick's complete and previously unreleased second concert at Budokan (the original album was culled from multiple shows) and 1998's repackaged At Budokan: The Complete Concert. But the holy grail is the DVD: the band's one-hour, 15-song set from that second night, broadcast once on Japanese television and never officially seen in the United States. Although the camera work and lighting is of its time, it nevertheless remains a compelling slice of rock history, with the four original Tricksters looking unbelievably young and confident, though not quite expecting to conquer the world with their last-minute addition to the set, "I Want You to Want Me." Nothing was ever the same again.