Bob Dylan At Budokan: Opinions?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Siegmund, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    This 1978 live albums gets a terrible pasting from some critical quarters. The principal charge against it seems to be that the 'big band' arrangements of old songs don't work; there is also the accusation that these arrangements smack of a Las Vegas floorshow. At the time, some critics even accused Dylan of attempting to 'Springsteenize' his sound (on the basis that he included a sax player - and not just any sax player: Steve Douglas, no less).

    Personally, I think this is one of Dylan's more interesting live albums. There is a lot more light and shade than on the rather hectic Before The Flood; and he has more accomplished musos backing him than on Hard Rain. And a lot of the new arrangements DO work, often for unusual reasons (I always found Dylan totally failing to hit the notes on I Want You strangely moving). I expect everyone to disagree but I think the hard rock version of It's Alright Ma is a bit of a triumph (I'll never forget how stunned I was the first time I heard it).

    There are 'political' issues surrounding this album that are old news now (Dylan was apparently playing to a setlist largely dictated by his Japanese promoter); and I'm sure I'm not the only one to wonder about the 'sweet girl in the Geisha house' and what she might be doing now.....
  2. ampmods

    ampmods Forum Resident

    Boston, MA, USA
    "It's alright ma... daddy's alright... they just seem a little weird... it's life and life only."
  3. bluesbro

    bluesbro Forum Hall of Shame

  4. hutlock

    hutlock Forever Breathing

    Cleveland, OH, USA
    dalem5467 likes this.
  5. majorlance

    majorlance Forum Resident

    Collingswood, NJ
    dalem5467 likes this.
  6. cublowell

    cublowell Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    I'll never understand why Street Legal sounds so good (I know a lot of people bash that one as well, but I really enjoy it), but Budokan sounds absolutely lifeless. Coming only 2-3 years after the Rolling Thunder Revue tours, which I consider to be some of the best live Dylan ever, Budokan sounds terrible. If he needed a paycheck, you'd think he'd have just gone solo acoustic instead of taking a huge band.
    illwind64 and Shak Cohen like this.
  7. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    The first time I saw Dylan was on that tour in what was it, 1978? when they came to the States. It's not all bad, but there are plenty of cases where the arrangements do seem to clash with the songs pretty horribly. Not an album I'm terribly interested in listening to these days that's for sure.
  8. schelti

    schelti Forum Resident

    I want you, so bad, to want me...

    Seriously, I like album, one of the first Dylan albums I heared (1987 or so)
    Mrsharko and ampmods like this.
  9. I saw this tour in 78 (two shows) and yes it is an over the top live vegas style concert production, but I got say the show was so much more enjoyable and better sounding than the five Dylan shows I've seen over the past 7 years. He now mumbles and stands with his keyboard facing side ways. I loved the Budokan record too. And I know most people don't seen to like it. But I also LOVE Self Portrait.
  10. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe
    Seasoned Dylan-watchers who saw the 1978 tour still maintain that he reached his peak as a live performer on this schlep.

    And everyone I know who saw him on that tour maintain that this live album doesn't do justice to the heights he reached later on. It's been said before but the so-called 'Alimony Tour' needs its edition in the Bootleg Series

    Does anyone know if the show at Blackbushe Aerodrome was professionally recorded?
    duggan likes this.
  11. Joey_Corleone

    Joey_Corleone Forum Resident

    Rockford, MI
    Awful....Bob in his "Neil Diamond" phase that was thankfully short lived. Awful arrangements, awful performance. Just...awful. For completists only in my opinion. I would have to play it to remember which of the tracks if any have any sort of redeeming quality
    JRM likes this.
  12. Joey_Corleone

    Joey_Corleone Forum Resident

    Rockford, MI
    Wait! I thought of one redeeming quality. I do have a spot in my heart for the version of "Is your love in vain" on this record. "Here's another unreleased song...let's see if you can guess which one it is."
    GowG, phillyal1 and DmitriKaramazov like this.
  13. toptentwist

    toptentwist Forum Resident

    Houston, TX
    I taped this album off the radio back around when it came out.

    Radio stations used to do that - but they stopped either because they were forced to - or it just became frowned upon.

    I remember listening to the tape often and enjoying it. I was a new Dylan fan at the time (about 10th grade).

    The songs didn't bother me. I knew that side 5 of the Bangla Desh album (my first taste of Dylan) was superior
    but I didn't feel like this album was blasphemous.

    I read a recent thread on here about Martha Quinn and I searched out her 1984 interview with Bob backstage at
    Wembley. He must have liked Martha - because he was pretty congenial during that interview. He mentioned
    some stuff about the "Street Legal" album and tour - and how it "confused everyone... but he liked it."
    His comments about passing the hat (to get paid) during his Greenwich Village days are interesting. Ditto for
    his comments about the few times he tried to skip paying for a meal by offering an autograph. He learned
    that doesn't work. Living legend or not, meals aren't free - LOL

    I saw Dylan live three times.

    1.) Live Aid. That just confused me. It seemed like a lost opportunity - but I don't have a bad memory of the
    gig because it was such a brief moment in a long day. I couldn't complain about not getting value for my concert
    ticket that day.

    2.) Dylan/Petty tour. This was a great great night. I had a soundboard tape from a different night on the tour
    and used to listen to it often. This tour is the one that I think most needs to be covered by a "bootleg series" release.

    3.) First tour after Dylan/Petty. I think 1988. G.E. Smith was in the band. I thought this was horrible,
    partly because I swear he was gone in approximately 30 minutes. I've never had the courage to pay for a Dylan
    ticket since. It was THAT bad.
    Solace likes this.
  14. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I don't remember all that much about the show I saw, it wasn't that memorable aside from the opening version of "I'm Ready" and as I recall a closing version of "Changing of the Guards." I've seen better Dylan shows of more recent vintage.
  15. JuhaS

    JuhaS Forum Resident

    Slick and lifeless. Shows from the European leg are much better, with the arrangements getting some meat around their bones, and US gigs may be even more intense. This tour certainly needs to be rehabilitated via Bootleg Series.
    jay.dee and 3rd Uncle Bob like this.
  16. bubba-ho-tep

    bubba-ho-tep Forum Resident

    Are you referring to the Street Legal remix from the '90s? It sounds wonderful while I always thought that the original mix sounded horrendous.
    DaveJ, ohnothimagen and stef1205 like this.
  17. cublowell

    cublowell Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    That remix is amazing, it kind of reinvented the album. But I was actually referring to the performances themselves - Street Legal sounds like a fired-up band, excited to navigate through those great new songs, whereas Budokan sounds like the musicians are half-asleep.
    bobdylansbarber likes this.
  18. Siegmund

    Siegmund Vinyl Sceptic Thread Starter

    Britain, Europe

    Street Legal was recorded after Budokan, so the band had probably gelled more by that point; Jerry Scheff had also replaced Rob Stoner on bass.
  19. bubba-ho-tep

    bubba-ho-tep Forum Resident

    Ah. I misunderstood what you were saying. Agreed about the performances, though.
  20. ReadySteady

    ReadySteady Custom Title

    Budokan? I thought it was recorded in Branson?
    Dr. Mudd, 905, heatherly and 2 others like this.
  21. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Not that Stoner wasn't great in his time with Dylan, but Jerry Scheff is one of the all time rock bass players. His work with the TCB band in '69-'70 is flat out killer.
    andy75 and erikdavid5000 like this.
  22. C6H12O6

    C6H12O6 Senior Member

    My lab
    I don't listen to anything Dylan did in 1978 anymore. Once was one time too many.
  23. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    I LOVE the version of "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" on this album.

    On the other hand I was less shocked by the Born Again phase that followed because (like Blonde on Blonde) this record is the sound of a man in extremis and about to hit a brick wall at high speed.
  24. PaulFJ

    PaulFJ Forum Resident

    Solihull, England
    Huge let-down. Had to wait some time for the Japanese recording to hit the UK but rarely play the album now.
  25. funknik

    funknik He who feels it.

    Gorham, ME, USA
    this. I had this album in high school and really liked it, before I knew much of the Dylan catalog . . . now I like it far less in the shadow of his greater work, but some of the reggae arrangements and stuff are fun for a lark.

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