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In A Russian State of Mind: Billy Joel’s “A Matter of Trust: The Bridge To Russia” Gets Deluxe Treatment

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Billy Joel - A Matter of Trust CoverWith Billy Joel in the midst of his unprecedented concert run as a “franchise” at New York’s Madison Square Garden, the time has never been better to revisit one of the most significant concert appearances of the Long Island troubadour’s long musical career.  On May 20, 2014, Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings will definitively chronicle Joel’s historic 1987 Russian concert tour on A Matter of Trust – The Bridge to Russia.

A Matter of Trust will be available in a Deluxe Edition box set containing the full-length concert film (simply entitled The Concert) on DVD or Blu-ray; a 2-CD set (The Music) expanding the original KOHUEPT concert album; and, as an exclusive, the documentary film A Matter of Trust from Emmy-winning director Jim Brown who has previously brought the stories of Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte to film.  The box set will also contain a book containing new liner notes from contributors such as Gary Graff, Michael Jensen, Neal Preston, Rona Elliot and Wayne Robins.  The concert film will be available separately on DVD and Blu-ray, and the 2-CD set The Music will also be released as a stand-alone title.

When the piano man’s tour in support of his album The Bridge stopped in the Soviet Union the year after the adoption of Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost (read: openness or transparency) it made headlines around the world.  Joel became one of the first major American rock artists to play in the Soviet Union post-Berlin Wall.  Backed by his band including Liberty DeVitto (drums), Doug Stegmeyer (bass), Mark Rivera (saxophone), Dave LeBolt (keyboards), Russell Javors and Kevin Dukes (guitars), he stormed through six stadium concerts in Moscow and Leningrad (plus a smaller, acoustic show in Tbilisi) and was credited with introducing many Russian youths to American rock and roll via his big hits (“Uptown Girl,” “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”), recent songs from The Bridge (“Baby Grand,” “A Matter of Trust”) and even a spirited cover of The Beatles’ “Back in the U.S.S.R.” for good measure.   By the end of the evenings, audience members who had never left Communist Russia were in a New York state of mind.

After the jump, we have more details including the full track listings for all formats!

Billy Joel - BD BoxPerforming in front of an audience of predominantly non-English speakers, Joel nonetheless communicated his New York brand of rock to the eager, and appreciative, crowds.  If the concerts reportedly came at a financial loss to Joel, the goodwill gain for the U.S. was enormous.  The entire tour was professionally filmed, and the concerts were also simulcast on radio to reach as wide an audience as possible.  In the fall of 1987, the KOHUEPT album (“KOHEUPT” being a phonetic corruption of the Russian Концерт for “concert”) was first released by Columbia Records; it was eventually certified platinum.  In 1991, the documentary surfaced as A Matter of Trust and additional footage from the concerts was issued as Billy Joel: Live From Leningrad, USSR.

The Concert has restored and remastered material originally issued on Live in Leningrad 1987, unseen since its VHS release.  It’s been expanded with previously unreleased performances of songs including “An Innocent Man,” “The Longest Time” and “Sometimes a Fantasy.”  The 2-CD release The Music adds eleven previously unissued tracks such as “The Ballad of Billy the Kid,” “New York State of Mind” and “Piano Man.”

A Matter of Trust – The Bridge to Russia is available in all formats from Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings on May 20.  You can pre-order all versions below!

Billy Joel, A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia – Deluxe Edition (Columbia/Legacy, 2014)

2CD/1DVD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD/1BD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
2CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.

Disc 1: A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia documentary (previously unreleased) (Box Set Exclusive) (DVD or BD)

Live in Leningrad (Expanded) (released as SMV Enterprises VHS, 1987)

  1. Prelude/Angry Young Man
  2. Allentown
  3. Goodnight Saigon
  4. Big Man on Mulberry Street
  5. Baby Grand
  6. An Innocent Man *
  7. Honesty *
  8. The Longest Time *
  9. A Matter of Trust
  10. Only the Good Die Young
  11. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me *
  12. Sometimes a Fantasy *
  13. You May Be Right *
  14. Uptown Girl
  15. Big Shot
  16. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  17. Pressure (extra) *

Discs 2-3: Концерт (Expanded) (released as Columbia LP C2X 40996, 1987) (CDs)

  1. Odoya
  2. Prelude/Angry Young Man
  3. Honesty
  4. The Ballad of Billy the Kid *
  5. She’s Always a Woman *
  6. Scenes from An Italian Restaurant *
  7. Goodnight Saigon
  8. Stiletto
  9. Big Man on Mulberry Street
  10. Baby Grand
  11. What’s Your Name *
  12. The Longest Time *
  13. An Innocent Man
  1. Pressure *
  2. Allentown
  3. A Matter of Trust
  4. Only the Good Die Young
  5. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me *
  6. Sometimes a Fantasy
  7. You May Be Right *
  8. Uptown Girl
  9. Big Shot
  10. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  11. The Times They Are A-Changin’
  12. She Loves You (Rehearsal) *
  13. New York State of Mind *
  14. Piano Man *

(*) denotes previously unreleased track

Written by Joe Marchese

February 25, 2014 at 15:55

Posted in Billy Joel, DVD, News, Reissues

6 Responses

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  1. As tired as I am of live Billy Joel releases… I can dig this release. This is prime time Joel. Didn’t get a chance to watch the doc yet but will wait for this release

    Bradley Skistimas

    February 25, 2014 at 16:16

    • It’s odd that, for a guy who was one of the best live performers of his time, has released some really subpar live albums.

      Songs In the Attic is a stone-cold classic, and I really love the original KOHUEPT (even though it left so many songs from the concerts off), but it’s been really spotty since then. The 2000 Years release was seriously butchered, while 12 Gardens was pretty solid though hardly essential, and Shea Stadium was (in spite of all the great guests who joined him) a truly awful live album. Billy was so clearly phoning it on that one.

      Anyhow, an expanded KOHUEPT will be a treat! For me, that’s the real reason to buy this set.


      February 25, 2014 at 21:12

  2. As for the video, I’m a bit disappointed that we’re not getting a complete show on the Live In Leningrad disc. I also don’t understand why “Pressure” is stuck on the end as an “extra” instead of being integrated into the show proper.

    Really curious about this Matter of Trust documentary… As the article notes, a great documentary by that name was released on VHS (having first aired on ABC in 1988 or so) in the early 90s… Now there’s this new documentary, that recently aired on Showtime. I imagine it’s different, but I wonder how different? The old documentary was great, and I would’ve loved to have that one on DVD or Blu.

    Better still, I’d like to see Sony release the long out of print Live From Long Island on DVD/Blu, not to mention the Wembley 1984 show that was televised by the BBC but never aired in the U.S.


    February 25, 2014 at 21:14

    • I’m really waiting for Billy to release the other half of Songs From The Attic. The first set were songs that he felt weren’t recorded right in studio, but there was apparently a set of songs from the same shows that were.

      A bootleg floating around the Internet has: You May Be Right, Don’t Ask Me Why, Sleeping With The Television On, Only The Good Die Young, The Stranger, Just The Way You Are, It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me, Sometimes A Fantasy, Stiletto, Big Shot, Movin’ Out, Piano Man, Zanzibar and New York State Of Mind — plus the recording of I’ll Cry Instead that was a b-side in 1983.


      February 27, 2014 at 22:32

  3. A dreadful, dreadful live album and now Sony are expanding it! Just listen to the outakes here on Youtube for those bonus tracks:

    Why, as Shaun said, can’t they release Live from Long Island or the Wembley 1984 BBC broadcast? The Russia experience may be historic but it hardly shows Billy in the best light live wise.


    February 26, 2014 at 15:02

    • I definitely KOHUEPT better than you do, Marc, but I can understand what you’re saying. For me, at least, that live version of “Angry Young Man” is the definitive version, and I think the album, on the whole, has some really high energy performances.

      You can hear Biily getting pretty tired late in the show, and the editing is spotty in a couple of places, but all in all I think it’s a fun album with some great playing from Billy. I still listen to it now and then, and I certainly like it better than the live albums that followed.

      I’m curious to hear if the added tracks will make it better. Certainly, a fair number of live staples were missing from the original release, but are now added back.


      February 26, 2014 at 21:30

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