Friday, December 15, 2017

The End: Surrender

Cheap Trick: Surrender (live)
[purchase the full concert—it’s cheaper than the original version!]

When you Surrender, it is The End, right?

I’m willing to bet that the first time that most of us heard the word “Budokan,” it was because of the release of Cheap Trick’s 1978 album, Cheap Trick at Budokan.” There was a slightly earlier release, Live at the Budokan by the Ian Gillan Band, so if you were a metal head or Deep Purple fan, you might have heard of that one first (John Gustafson, the bass player in the Ian Gillan Band, also played on Roxy Music’s “Both Ends Burning,” the subject of my last piece, which is a total coincidence.)

The Budokan is, according to Wikipedia, “an indoor arena located in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan.. . .originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, hence its name, which translates in English as Martial Arts Hall.” The Beatles were the first rock band to play there, in 1966. Also according to Wikipedia, a couple of dozen or so live albums have been recorded there, by artists including Bob Dylan, Dream Theater, Quincy Jones, Avril Lavigne, John Hiatt and Sheryl Crow.

But I think that Cheap Trick’s album is the most well-known, and it is the only one that made Rolling Stone’s list of the 50 greatest live albums of all time (#13). Like 1976’s Frampton Comes Alive (Rolling Stone’s #41), the live set helped to break an act that had not really clicked with the public into the big time.

“Surrender” is a great, anthemic song, that appears to be about teenagers discovering that their parents aren’t as “uncool” as they believe—and, in fact, may even be cooler than they are. It is sort of an illustration of that point in your life when you realize that your parents actually are people, with experiences, who might have some wisdom that is worth listening to. What you are supposed to be surrendering to is, I think, unclear, especially since the chorus is:

Surrender, Surrender, but don’t give yourself away.

Away to what?

It really doesn’t matter, does it?

"Surrender" is a song that you can listen to over and over and over, and the live version has that little edge of excitement that the best live performances add to a song.

I remember listening to this with my kids when they were young, and bouncing around and singing at the top of our lungs:

Mommy's all right 
Daddy's all right 
They just seem a little weird 

Are we, though?

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