Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Battle of the live albums (part 1) Cheap Trick vs Slade

At Budokan

Slade Alive!

Slade “Slade Alive” vs Cheap Trick “Live at Budokan”

Slade and Cheap Trick: UK Glam rockers Slade are said to have inspired US hard rocking power poppers Cheap Trick’s choice of band name.  From the 70’s, Slade were a household name in their homeland but US success eluded them.  Cheap Trick’s success really hit in 1978 when they played in Japan and “Live at Budokan” is a documentation of the event.  Both bands had two studio releases under their belts when their first live albums saw the light of day.   Today Slade have a trio of live albums whereas Cheap Trick still has only the one.

“Slade Alive” definitely feels like the live album taken straight from the sound board without any studio trickery and Cheap Trick’s ‘Live at Budokan’ has more of a studio feel with the band’s music blasting clearly over the speakers. There’s a short tuning break on “Slade Alive” which adds to the rawness and gives a genuine live feel.  It may well be due to the year it was recorded.  A belch is left in on “Darling Be Home Soon”.  The crowd seems somewhat reserved.  During the early spoken parts on the Slade album, it sounds like there are about ten interested people at the bands show however from the intoduction of “Lookout” Cheap Trick are treated as major stars with huge applause.  SLADE frontman Noddy Holder encourages the crowd to yell out anything they like to add to the atmosphere.  The clapping on the breaks in “Need Your Love” gives “Live at Budokan” more of a convincing live feel.    Hell, I always feel like clapping along to the power pop of “Big Eyes” although the cheesiness on “I Want You to Want Me” is cringeworthy.  Eventually on the Slade, “Keep on Rocking” convinces that the crowd was bigger with a participation track.    Years of seeing bar bands covering Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” has made it a difficult song to get excited about but during the seventies Slade’s standard ending was obviously a treat as the crowd lap it up.  When Cheap Trick plays “Good Night Now”; it’s easy to place yourself in the crowd begging for an encore.    “Slade Alive” is just a night out with a band whereas “Live at Budokan” is an event.

WINNER: Cheap Trick


biopunk said...

Oh, come on... Cheap Trick? No.

Other than both bands had failed to chart in America, the comparison is grossly unfair:

- Budokan is a 14,000+ seat arena in Tokyo.

- Studio One was a large room (and over-capacity at 400+), in Command Studios, London.

Yeah, one is "an event" (foreign band at the in town for a night...) and the other is "a night out" (local transplants from "up north" playing a theatre just around the corner...), but:

- 'Cheap Trick at Budokan' was 10 tracks with 1 cover tune.
- 'Slade Alive!' was 7 tracks, and 4 of them being covers.

Slade did more with less.

'Slade Alive!' also didn't need the inclusion of the band's "hits" like 'Cheap Trick at Budokan' did, either.

No need for an encore after you've been 'Slade Alive!'

Slade wins this. No contest.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Slade win. there are tracks that haven't been released from the recording that'd be great to hear. A close approximation cane be found on the DVD Pop Shop 1971 which was recorded just before Alive was released. I'd LOVE to hear more from the crowd in the studio sessions of ALIVE!

Chris said...

I was assigned to write this for a webzine a couple of years ago and the winner was the one I ended up for reaching for most. I hadn't really listened to either album previously.

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