Written By Braddon S. Williams
Cheap Trick: Live At Budokan
Hordes of screaming Japanese girls and boys led the Cheap Trick revolution, letting the rest of the world know that the Illinois based rock band was a global sensation.
The live Cheap Trick At Budokan (1978) brought the power of Cheap Trick’s explosive stage act to the vinyl format. At times the screaming crowd nearly eclipsed the full throttle sound of the band.
The single I Want You To Want Me was everywhere that summer, and pretty much every song on the album was full of infectious energy, singalong choruses, lean guitar riffs, massive drumsticks, and much, much more.
I saw Cheap Trick for the first time the following year and I can testify that they put on one killer live show. Years later, the cd version was released as Cheap Trick At Budokan: The Complete Concert, and it included a handful of great songs that didn’t fit in the original format. I highly recommend the expanded version, because there isn’t a weak song in the whole show.
On this date in history, 7/13/1996, a pretty cool triple bill featuring Scorpions, Alice Cooper, and Cheap Trick descended upon Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Cheap Trick opened with their always entertaining blend of cleverly rockin’ anthems and Rick Neilsen’s goofy and manic stage presence. Robin Zander sang his ass off and Bun E. Carlos and Tom Petersson held down the bottom end for Neilson and Zander’s guitar work. Their set was brief but filled with energy and no filler.
Alice Cooper was up next and suffered for the lack of nightfall to provide the properly ominous backdrop to his fiendishly spooky performance. Luckily for Cooper, he isn’t entirely reliant on visuals, possessing one of the richest and deepest catalogs of amazing songs in all of rock music. Alice also comes prepared with top notch musicians to provide the spark that ignites his superior stage persona. I personally felt that he should have headlined this show, but he made the best of what he was dealt, the consummate pro.
This was my first and only time seeing the mighty Scorpions, and they were a worthy main attraction. First of all they had a great sound mix, with the guitars blasting those German power riffs and skull ripping leads, thunderous drums and bass, and all of it topped by Klaus Meine’s distinctive and unmistakable voice.
That amazing vocal sound rode easily atop all the power underneath it and the set was a whirlwind of classic rock fury and choruses we all know by heart. Any of these bands can pull in a crowd, but all 3 together was definitely a memorable night of diversity.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA The Concert Critic