CHEAP TRICK At Budokan (Friday Music)
“At Budokan” is less a live album, more like listening to teenage hormones run riot for 42 minutes. Somewhere beneath all the screaming the Trick’s music plays like that of a lobotomised, monosyllabic Aerosmith, rarely rising above the lowest common denominator. It’s empirical stuff, evidenced by the way they derive two songs, “Hello There” and “Goodnight Now”, out of effectively the same music and lyrics. There’s not a great deal of subtlety or depth to Cheap Trick’s loud, bubblegum rock, but maybe if you were growing up in America (or Japan) at this particular moment in time (1978) hearing it again would push all the right nostalgia buttons now. There’s but one song amidst all this that hints at the band’s unrealised potential: “Surrender”, with its tale of hipster parents, is invested with a little meaning, and in actually being about something shows up the rest of these songs as the empty vessels they are.
The involvement of mastering supremo Kevin Gray in Friday Music’s vinyl reissue of “At Budokan” is a signifier that care and attention has been applied to make a record that sounds as good as the source tapes permit, but although I have no reason to doubt this is the case the end result is more tinny trebly buzz than full frequency enlightenment. I suppose it could be charitably said that the sound and music deserve each other, though.