March 1: Bob Dylan recorded Live at Budokan in 1978
This is where it started for me.
I am pretty drunk now, but maybe that makes me more honest and more direct about my thoughts about Bob Dylan’s slated live album, At Budokan. I think it has been undeservedly put down by critics and the public in general. It is a good live album!
It was my first real meet with Dylan, my friend Ståle had borrowed it from one of his brothers, he left it at our house and it stayed there for several years! I loved it from the start, I didn’t know what Bob Dylan was all about, I just knew that I liked the album, all of it!
“A lot of the older songs sound changed just for the sake of tinkering. Many of the more recent ones, like “Oh, Sister” and “One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)” and “Shelter from the Storm,” are vastly improved, as if, when they were first recorded, they hadn’t been fully thought through. “Is Your Love in Vain?”, by no means the prettiest song on Dylan’s much-underrated Street-Legal, is prettier still.”
– Rolling Stone Magazine
I have read about it since, in several books and many web-sites, I understand that I’m not supposed to like this album, and still I love it.
I love every take, I know all the songs and I cannot understand how Dylan could better these incredible performances? It is a laid-back masterpiece.
Bob Dylan at Budokan is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 23, 1979 by Columbia Records. It was recorded during his 1978 world tour and is composed mostly of the artist’s “greatest hits”. The performances in the album are radically altered from the originals, using the same musicians that backed Street-Legal, but relying on a much larger band and stronger use of brass and backup singers. In some respects the arrangements are more conventional than the original arrangements and the album was criticized for being so. At the same time that it was criticized for being too polished, it was criticized for being too sloppy. For a few critics, such as Janet Maslin of Rolling Stone, the differences between the older and newer arrangements had become less important.
Live at Budokan on Spotify:
“On his third live album in a mere five years, Bob Dylan brings the big, professional showmanship of Street Legal to the stage, recasting recent and classic favorites into that album’s image — and, he does that over the course of two albums, no less. It’s a bit much, even for the diehards, even if moments work pretty well. Nevertheless, those moments work because of pizzazz, although those are the very moments that will make most long-term Dylan fans bristle. Which, of course, raises the question — who is this for? The dedicated aren’t going to be dazzled by the slickness and the casual fans certainly aren’t going to pay much attention to a live album from 1978. “
– Thomas Erlewine (Allmusic)
The audio recording is from two different shows on February 28 and March 1, 1978. Columbia Records released this double LP on August 21, 1978; the original issue was limited to the Japanese market. Later that year, it was released in Australia. On April 23, 1979, spurred by extensive importing and at least one counterfeit European edition, Columbia released the album to worldwide markets. The shows were the fourth and fifth in an eight-show appearance at Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan.