Russell's 1973 triple-LP Leon Live was hailed as one of the greatest live recordings in rock. What it overshadowed was his equally revelatory recording made at the Budokan in Japan that same year; wonderfully gritty performances from Houston in '71 join Heaven; Queen of the Roller Derby; Tight Rope; Sweet Emily; Alcatraz; You Don't Have to Go , and more. U.S. debut, CD debut!
Released roughly a year after Leon Russell performed an unlikely mainstream comeback with the assistance of Elton John, the 2011 disc Live in Japan contains a wealth of live performances from Russell at his peak. The first section of the record was indeed recorded at Budokan in Japan while Leon was on tour in 1973, running through hits like Tight Rope, folding A Song for You into a medley, and generally rocking like a madman. The second section is taken from a 1971 show from Houston, recordings that are rowdier and rougher, both in performance and audio. Even if this is a bit of a ragged, woolly comp, it has plenty to offer: despite the presence of 1973 s Leon Live, there aren t many live records of Russell in full flight, so this taste of him rocking ferociously is indeed welcome. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi