Justin’s Japan: Cheap Trick Brings Budokan to the Bowery

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

On April 28, legendary American rockers Cheap Trick played an invitation only, packed to the gills performance at the John Varvatos boutique in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The occasion: a tuneful recreation of the band’s debut concert at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan arena, 35 years to the day of that historic gig.

Originally recorded for a Japan-only live album (where the band enjoyed a Beatles-like following at the time), Cheap Trick at Budokan was released in the U.S. the following year, igniting the band’s popularity at home. It remains their best-selling album at over three million copies sold, and hits like “I Want You to Want Me” and “Surrender” remain classic rock staples.

Held at the former site of another storied rock venue, CBGB, and hosted by Varvatos himself, Cheap Trick was in fine form throughout the 90-minute set. Sponsored by Sony, the entire show was professionally filmed and posted on Livestream.com. Original members Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson (with Nielsen’s son Daxx providing the beat) still continue to radiate the energy, chemistry and charisma that make them one of the best live acts among their ’70s peers.

New Yorkers can enjoy Cheap Trick’s next area performance for free on July 12 as part of the Seaside Summer Concert Series at Coney Island. For more information, visit www.cheaptrick.com.