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A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia: Deluxe Edition (2 CD/Blu-Ray) Box set
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A Matter of Trust - The Bridge to Russia: The Music (Live)
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In July-August 1987, after 100 shows around the world on The Bridge Tour, Billy Joel accepted the Kremlin's invitation to the U.S.S.R. for six fully-staged rock shows in Moscow and Leningrad, fulfilling a long-time desire to perform in Russia. During their stay, Billy and his family, along with musicians, staff, and a huge press entourage spent their days interacting with the Russian people, forging true bonds of friendship wherever they went.
For the first time, this multi-disc 2 CD+DVD package, A Matter Of Trust The Bridge To Russia, presents an expanded version of what fans saw and heard over a quarter-century ago. The newly remastered 2 CD set adds 11 previously unreleased songs to the original 16-song KOH EPT CD from 1987, which closely re-creates Billy s full concert sequence. The extra material includes concert rehearsal takes and solo performances by Billy on the live Russian TV show, The Ring.
The Blu-Ray is a new two-part experience, with an expanded version of the original 1987 VHS release Live From Leningrad, and a separate documentary film that takes a fresh look at the groundbreaking trip. The newly remastered concert DVD, originally directed by Wayne Isham, adds seven previously unreleased songs. The brand new 90-minute documentary painstakingly incorporates some of the documentary material from 1988, both released and unreleased. But the heart and soul of this new film comprises up-to-date interviews with nearly 20 U.S. and Russian participants, including Billy, Christie Brinkley, band musicians, crew, and many others. There is a passion and intimacy to their interviews that underscores the historical significance of what these fellow travelers all witnessed, and the warmth that the Russian people showered on them.
Billy has always considered that going to Russia was the most important thing he'd ever done. The freedom and excitement of his presence permanently affected the country and played no small role in the ultimate dissolution of the U.S.S.R. in 1991. This new deluxe box set A Matter Of Trust The Bridge To Russia also includes newly commissioned essays and previously unseen photography.
A Matter Of Trust The Bridge To Russia: The Concert
1. Prelude/Angry Young Man
3. Goodnight Saigon
4. Big Man On Mulberry Street
5. Baby Grand
6. An Innocent Man - previously unreleased
7. Honesty - previously unreleased
8. The Longest Time - previously unreleased
9. A Matter Of Trust
10. Only The Good Die Young
11. It's Still Rock And Roll To Me - previously unreleased
12. Sometimes A Fantasy - previously unreleased
13. You May Be Right - previously unreleased
14. Uptown Girl
15. Big Shot
16. Back In The U.S.S.R.
17. Pressure (Previously unreleased)
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Top Customer Reviews
Listening to this album again, a quarter century after its release, I was struck by the realization of what it represents. This is the only live recording of Billy Joel while in his prime. Though 1981's "Songs in the Attic" (my all time favorite Joel album) is a live album of sorts, collecting deep cut material from his first four albums, this Russian concert would be the only true concert recording for audio until the Millenium Concert Album in 2000, 7 years after Billy had ceased recording songs. Though we did not know it at the time of this albums original release, there would only be two more Joel albums forthcoming and thus, almost by accident, we have him performing with nearly his full catalog of song to choose from. After listening to Joel's recent concert releases, listless affairs in which most of his songs are performed in different keys to accommodate his aging voice, it is a genuine treat to be reminded just how good he was. This, even though he was struggling with throat problems during the entire Russian tour. In addition, this new release adds 11 songs previously left off due to time constraints in the age of vinyl. These, newly unearthed, recordings are, almost universally, gems. The inclusion of these tracks gives, much more, the feel of actually being at one of these landmark concerts and improves vastly upon the previous album.
The included concert video is also a gem, though the fashions may take some getting used to. The documentary is also excellent, though it is mostly repurposed footage from the original "A Matter of Trust" documentary with current interview footage inserted.
If you are a Billy Joel fan, I cannot recommend this set highly enough.
There are several ways to buy the concerts: as a two-cd set, as a DVD or Blu-ray, or in deluxe editions which pair a DVD or Blu-ray with the CDs. The audio recordings present 11 tracks that weren't on the original LP, called simply "Concert," while the deluxe video discs include seven songs not on the original VHS release, entitled "Live From Leningrad," as well as a documentary about the tour. The sound and picture are excellent, as are the performances of Billy and his band. Although he strained his voice a bit early on in the tour, he managed to overcome the problem and put on exciting, energetic shows.
The 75-minute Showtime documentary makes a strong argument for buying one of the deluxe editions. It captures the warmth, intimacy, excitement, and chaos of the tour, offering not only numerous clips from the concerts but also behind-the-scenes activities, a travelogue, and meetings with Russians. The many people involved (family, band, crew, producer, translator, and others) reflect on the pains and pleasures of the experience. Billy took his then-wife Christie Brinkley and baby daughter Alexa along; young Russians embraced them wholeheartedly and they reciprocated the feelings. The deluxe booklet contains new essays and archival photos.
I really enjoyed this set. It takes you back to one of the peaks of Billy Joel's career, and it remains a vital historical document.
I'd like to add that it was good to see so many of the participants involved in the updated documentary, notably Christie Brinkley, Liberty Devitto, and Russell Javors.