Originally released in Japan in 1993, then in the U.S. after the band's "Woke Up With A Monster" cd, with little fanfare (although Spin magazine gave it a good review) in '94, Sony's "Budokan II" is comprised of outtakes from the original, legendary "At Budokan" album, and also contains three tracks taken from the following year- '79 Japan tour, as well. Production wise, the bass and bottom end is way up in the mix here, and this album is much louder than any other "Budokan" Cheap Trick album, then and now. Yes, the audience noise and screams are a tad loud, but that adds to the wild and crazy vibe of it all.
This is Cheap Trick at their best. Every song rocks up a storm, and the song list includes some of the band's heaviest, classic material from the first 3 albums. The only slow tempo number is the bluesy, and effective "Can't Hold On", which was originally on the "Found All The Parts" EP. Scorchin' hot versions of "Elo Kiddies", "Southern Girls", "Downed", "Oh Caroline", "California Man", and the ultimate pop-punk rock explosion - "Auf Wiedersehen", are the instant highlights, but really everything here flows perfectly, and this overlooked, now out of print, live cd is a hidden gem in Cheap Trick's awesome catalog. Live rarities like "Stiff Competition" and "How Are You" (from the '79 tapes) are a real treat as well. If you've never heard this-pick it up if you can find it. You will thank me. Even if you have "At Budokan-The Complete Concert" get this, it's a 5 star monster classic live album, from one of the greatest ROCK bands of all-time.