Willie Nelson’s 1984 Tokyo Performance To Be Released as a Live Album

by Clayton Edwards

Willie Nelson is a country music icon who has been just about everywhere. For decades, Nelson has been taking his brand country to fans all around the globe. Later this year, we’ll get to hear the Red-Headed Stranger’s Tokyo debut from back in 1984.

Willie Nelson Live at Budokan captures Nelson and his band playing Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. According to Music Row, the album will feature a classic lineup. Most significant to Nelson’s fans will be Bobbie Nelson and Paul English. Willie’s late sister plays piano on the album and his long-time friend has his usual seat behind the drums. Additionally, Live at Budokan features Jody Payne (vocals/guitar), the late Bee Spears (bass), Grady Martin (Guitar), and Mickey Raphael (harmonica).

Raphael also produced the album which will be available on November 18th via Legacy Recordings. Willie Nelson Live at Budokan will be available digitally and on CD and DVD. However, if you want to get the album on vinyl, you’ll have to wait. It will be available as a double-LP on November 25th. However, you’ll only be able to get it from independent record stores because it is part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday event.

Willie Nelson on Live at Budokan

In the liner notes for the album, Willie Nelson reflected on the power of music to bring people together. “I believe that music, not only country music, but I believe that music is a great communicator,” Nelson wrote. “I think that it crosses all boundaries and I think that the people, regardless of whether they understand what I’m saying or not, they would feel what I’m saying and they will hear it in whatever language they are listening.” Nelson concluded, “I think that’s the great thing about music.”

Willie Nelson is right and the upcoming live album is proof. Nippon Budokan is one of the most popular venues in Tokyo. The 14,000-seat arena usually holds martial arts competitions and other sporting events. The fact that Nelson played that big of a venue in a non-English speaking country says a lot about the power of music to cross barriers and pull people together.

Live at Budokan Tracklist

  • Whiskey River
  • Mona Lisa
  • Good Hearted Woman
  • Down Yonder
  • If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time
  • Workin’ Man Blues
  • Help Me Make It Through the Night
  • Me and Bobby McGee
  • Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  • Under the Double Eagle
  • Blue Skies
  • Georgia on My Mind
  • All of Me
  • Stardust
  • My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys
  • Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys
  • Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground
  • On the Road Again
  • Always on My Mind
  • Will the Circle Be Unbroken
  • Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line
  • Who’ll Buy My Memories
  • Till I Gain Control Again
  • Without a Song
  • Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)
  • Whiskey River
  • Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line