REVIEW: “Willie Nelson Live At Budokan” Is A Testament To His Greatness


In early 1984 Willie Nelson and his band recorded a concert at the legendary Nippon Budokan theater in Tokyo, Japan which had previously been available only as a LaserDisc in Japan and has long been out of print.

This Friday November 18th that all changes with the release of Wille Nelson Live At Budokan on Legacy Recordings in a two CD / one DVD format.

Altogether it is a wonderful time capsule of Nelson and his band at the top of their game and will become an immediate must-have for all of his fans.

All of the classic songs you would expect to be on a live collection from Nelson from this time frame are here including “Always On My Mind,” “On The Road Again,” ‘Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” “Good Hearted Woman,” “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” and his signature tune “Whiskey River” as well as others. The set also includes outstanding covers of songs from fellow Highwayman Kris Kristofferson, fellow Nashville legends Rodney Crowell and Lefty Frizzell and has always been his custom – various songs from the American songbook such as “Blue Skies”. “Mona Lisa”, and “Georgia On My Mind.”

There has always been a multi-layered greatness to Nelson with his songwriting abilities, unique and supremely expressive voice, his underrated guitar picking, and his superior ability to make virtually any song he is singing his own. This new re-release serves as a sterling reminder of all of these qualities and why he is rightly revered and considered to be one of the all-time greats. Pick up this record and experience the greatness that is Willie Nelson.

A broadcast edition of Willie Nelson Live At Budokan is part of special programming premiering on PBS stations beginning Saturday, November 26, 2022 (check local listings). 

Credits: Willie Nelson – Vocals, Guitar; Paul English – Drums; Grady Martin – Guitar; Bobbie Nelson – Piano; Jody Payne – Vocals, Guitar;  Mickey Raphael – Harmonica; Bee Spears – Bass; Produced by Mickey Raphael.

Willie Nelson Live At Budokan will be available November 18th on his website.

Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Willie Nelson “The Willie Nelson Family”

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