Thursday, 31 July 2008

Beatles at Budokan


Video/Laserdisc Only released in Japan.
This laserdisc contains one of the Beatles' concerts in Budokan Hall,1966, in colour, as well as black and white documentary stuff from the Beatles visit to Japan.
As the story goes, VAP released this as a VHS and a Beta video cassette in Japan in the eighties and got away with it. When they wanted to release it on laserdisc, Apple got involved. It was eventually released with their approval, as witnessed by the Apple logo on the sleeve. But only released in Japan for the domestic market.
Still, a copy found it's way to a specialist import store here in Oslo, Norway - and I was able to pick it up and take it home to my collection for a mere £70 or thereabout. I had invested in a laserdisc player for the sole purpose of being able to play "The Beatles First' US Visit" (which was only available in that format at the time) and Disney's "Mickey Mouse - The black and white years," which was also a laserdisc-only release.
Then DVD happened, and Disney did the sensible thing, releasing my laserdisc Mickey Mouse collection in the new format. Apple also came around regarding the Beatles First U.S. Visit, and - lo and behold - they even included more footage as bonus material. It was a beautiful release, and much recommended by me!
But Budokan still hasn't happened on DVD. Not in Japan, even. My old trusted laserdisc player doesn't work any more, I'm sad to say, but it was still in working condition by the time I bought my first DVD recorder, so I was able to transfer it to DVD before it was too late. Legislation here in Norway states that as long as you own an original, you can make as many digital copies for personal use as you care. So with the contents of the laserdisc transferred to DVD, all I needed to do was to scan the laserdisc sleeve and reuse the art to make a DVD cover for it. And since I've already done that, I've saved you other people from the trouble. Here it is:

I haven't a clue why Apple hasn't got around to release this as a DVD yet. Incidentally, even though the photos on the laserdisc cover is from the superior July 1st concert (often referred to as "the white suits" concert), the actual concert on the disc is the inferior opening concert on June 30th (The Beatles wearing black suits), the one that Brian Epstein didn't permit to be broadcast because Paul's microphone was behaving badly, and the band delivered an abysmal performance. Brian took home with him a copy of the good concert, and who knows where it's at now. A few bits of it was shown on The Beatles Anthology.

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