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At Budokan [Live In Japan, February, 1978] Live

4.0 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, August 2, 1987
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  • Bob Dylan: "The 'Queen of the Folksingers,' that would have to be Joan Baez... The sight of her made me high. All that and there was her voice. A voice that drove out bad spirits. It was like she'd come down from another planet." Read more musical excerpts from Chronicles, Vol. 1 on our Music You Should Hear page.


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

As he'd recently done on Street Legal , Dylan employed a bevy of musicians and backup singers for this 1978 show in Japan. Check out these one-of-a-kind arrangements of Love Minus Zero/No Limit; I Want You; All Along the Watchtower; Knockin' on Heaven's Door; Blowin' in the Wind; Don't Think Twice, It's All Right; Like a Rolling Stone; I Shall Be Released; Forever Young , and more!

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It was Dylan himself who said "the present now will later be past" and there's no better proof of it than this bizarre live collection of his old hits performed in big band versions where nothing seems to mean what it originally did. There's something going on here and even Dylan doesn't know what it is. Following the success of Cheap Trick and Neil Diamond--who both scored with Japanese live albums--Dylan took his Las Vegas revue with him and handed up "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," "Mr. Tambourine Man," "Shelter from the Storm," and even "The Times They Are A-Changin'" without the vehemence that made them anthems for a past generation. Weird. --Rob O'Connor

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Mr. Tambourine Man
  2. Shelter From The Storm
  3. Love Minus Zero, No Limit
  4. Ballad Of A Thin Man
  5. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
  6. Maggie's Farm
  7. One More Cup Of Coffee (Valley Below)
  8. Like A Rolling Stone
  9. I Shall Be Released
  10. Is Your Love In Vain?
  11. Going, Going, Gone

Disc: 2

  1. Blowin' In The Wind
  2. Just Like A Woman
  3. Oh, Sister
  4. Simple Twist Of Fate
  5. All Along The Watchtower
  6. I Want You
  7. All I Really Want To Do
  8. Knockin' On Heavens Door
  9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
  10. Forever Young
  11. The Times They Are Changin'


Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 2, 1987)
  • Original Release Date: August 2, 1987
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Live
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000025GP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,227 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas E. Davis VINE VOICE on March 8, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Why not sing clearly, in time and in tune? Why not a horn section? Why not back-up singers? These live recordings are arrangements for a large band, yes, but they're not over-arranged, and they have drive and style to spare. Stiff-necked rock purists were horrified by the recasting of Dylan's songbook, just as overly-reverent folk purists took umbrage at his electrification. But they're missing out on one of the man's most musical moments and discouraging others from listening with an open mind. Don't make the same mistake.

Dylan was not surly or angry on this tour. He was expansive and approachable and -- dare I say it? -- happy! If joy is antithetical to the spirit of rock, then I'm not a rocker. Don't pay attention to those sniffing that the music wasn't honest at this point or that Bob had gone Vegas. Lyrics don't have to be droned in a ragged voice to rate as poetry. If you want to hear the originals (and you should have most of Dylan's original albums from the 60s and 70s), then listen to them. But give this 1978 recording a try and enjoy a change of pace. It's yet another phase of our preeminent rock-poet's always-daring reinvention.
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Format: Audio CD
Critics said Dylan's Live At Budokan was too "slick" and "Las Vegasy." But then again, whever Dylan expanded his music, or added a new note of variety, he was criticized. Greatest Hits fans and critics alike wanted him to remain forever a folk musician, never growing, changing, or maturing. This album definitely has a big band sound, but there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, this live album has some of the best versions of some of Dylan's greatest songs. "All Along The Watchtower," "Shelter From the Storm," and "Mr. Tambourine Man" are all better here, I think, than in their original versions. The album contains a great selection, from love ballads to rocking political commentary. This is not just Dylan's best live album, it is among his best albums--I would even venture to place it somewhere among his top ten.
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Format: Audio CD
The maliciousness that has been directed at this album over the years is an open testament of the way in which Dylan fans desire to own their idol, to constrict him, and to demand him to peform and record in ways that are their own, but not his....

"Live at Budokan" was my first Dylan album, miraculously discovered twenty five years ago as a window into a magic world.

Ever since I've heard bile and venom from innumerable sources about it's 'Vegasy' feel, and its 'commercialism'.

But Dylan is a song and dance man, mercurial and a mystery -

the minute you define him and place expectations on him he will inevitably disappoint.

Above all he is a true entertainer, who paradoxically brings everything to his performances and yet nothing, like it's always gonna be new.

The songs on this album are all like that, all stone cold classics, but elastic, sweet, wry, still timeless.

After twenty five years of listening to all the rubbish reviews, I still recommend this album for any newcomer to Dylan.

For one thing, there is booklet of lyrics to the great songs which is really helpful for new fans, as it was for me so many years ago, and the album photos still talk of the irresistible mystery that is Dylan.

'Budokan'is like an old road map on which the street signs are still right.

It truly gets better like old wine.
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Format: Audio CD
It seems that people here either love Budokan or hate it. It all depends upon who you are and where you're coming from in your "Dylan experience." I originally bought this album when it came out in the late 70's. Since it was only the second Dylan album I had ever heard (after Blood on the Tracks), I really didn't know the original versions of these songs. If you are a relatively new Dylan fan, or are looking for a place to start, Budokan is not for you. At least not yet. The best way to get to know any artist, writer, film maker, etc is by experiencing their work in the order in which it was originally released. Having done that, Budokan still comes off as a bit of an oddity. On one hand, yes, some of these arrangements are a real shock to the system after you've heard the originals for years. On the other hand, artists have the right to re-invent themselves, and Dylan has been doing it for years. (How would YOU like to sing "Blowin' in the Wind" the same way for nearly 40 years?) Budokan is simply a chapter in the Dylan catalog. For me, some of the songs work, some of them don't. But say what you will, at least Dylan took a chance. You never know what he's going to do. And isn't that half the fun of listening to Dylan?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Dylan's enigmatic. Folk hero, hooray. He went electric, and people cried. He got religion, and people freaked. He got other religion, and everyone panicked. He got married. He got divorced. He got drunk. He got sober. He got more drunk. He went country. The thing about Bob Dylan is that either he is actually utterly gonzo and has no choice but to follow his muse in spite of himself, or he is completely pulling our leg almost all the time, possibly in on the joke, and possibly not. My vote is a little of all of the above. He is aware of his own inertia but somewhat powerless to stop it...you tell him left, he's either going hard left or harder right. People complain about his more recent tour versions of his tunes...I saw him in Bklyn last fall and loved it, garbled jumbles and moody rambles and Knopfler and all. But the truth is people complain about Bob no matter what. At Budokan represents an immensely listenable, frequently fun, show tunes style romp through most of Dyan's classics. Then...it was a sell out, a disaster. But these days, when everyone from Santana to Motley Crue do Vegas "residencies" it's easier to enjoy the record on its own terms, and on those terms, it's sweet. Why? Upbeat riffs, chick singers and flutes can be fun. Bob actually singing. Nice orchestration. A groove but not an attitude. If you ONLY like acoustic Dylan, ONLY like protest Dylan, ONLY like drunk Dylan, etc, skip it. Wrongly maligned and highly listenable.
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