Album review: BILLY JOEL – A Matter of Trust: The Bridge To Russia

BILLY JOEL - A Matter of Trust: The Bridge To Russia

Sony Music [Release date 19.05.14]

As I was passing through HMV this week – in awe of the growing racks of 180 gram vinyl (you’d need a course of body building supplements to walk out with Purple’s 9 LP Made In Japan box set) – I briefly browsed the bargain bins – momentarily picking up Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 compilation – the third best-selling album in the US.  A snip surely at less than the price of a pint?

As I glanced down the impressive 26 track listing a couple of thoughts struck me – firstly that The Stranger (1977) was a damn fine album, and secondly that Billy Joel never moved on from the Eighties.  I then put the CD carefully back on the rack, deciding my pennies would be more wisely invested in Wetherspoons.

Subconsciously or not, I hadn’t realised Joel’s last ‘proper’ release was River Of Dreams (1993) and that he’s felt comfortable living off and performing his back catalogue ever since.  So there was something of a sense of ‘karma’ when this 2CD/2DVD set arrived less than 24 hours later.

Fans won’t need me to tell them that Billy’s second live album – Kohuept – released in 1987 at the height of his popularity – captured the Soviet Union leg of his The Bridge tour making history in being the first live rock radio broadcast in Soviet history.

Re-released as a deluxe 2CD & DVD set, this expanded version now includes the live show in its entirety with 11 previously unreleased tracks, the concert footage has been restored from the original 35mm negative with an additional 12 previously unseen performances, and there’s a feature documentary chronicling the Soviet leg of the tour, one of the first by a major Western artist behind ‘the curtain’.  And all for a reasonably modest outlay.

With the documentary setting the scene and providing the cultural context this is in many ways the perfect purchase for fans and the curious alike.  The venture was something of a personal crusade and victory for Joel, taking a large personal financial ‘hit’ to break down the barriers with his brand of rock ‘n’ roll.

It captures him at the height of his powers and for those whose recollections are of the man as simply a singer/songwriter, his onstage energy – up there with Springsteen and Elton John – is something of a revelation.

The performance is first rate, from the man and his band and, but for the old mullet and the fact Billy would have to been cryogenically frozen, could have been recorded in the last 12 months the sound and visual quality is that good.

The sign of a great performer is one who can hold an audience in the palm of their hands just with their presence.  On this venture Joel didn’t go just to entertain – he set out to touch hearts and minds, and succeeded.   ****

Review by Pete Whalley

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 16 May 2022 (Mon-Fri)
FLOYA The Hymn (Arising Empire)
VEXES The Dream Disease (indie)
NEAR DUSK The Way It Goes (Iron Head Records)
IN SEARCH OF SUN Make Me Crazy (indie)
WALLNER VAIN Deceive Her (indie)
MARATON Non-Euclidean Heart (Indie Recordings)

Featured Albums w/c 16 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 TERRA NOVA Ring That Bell (Lion Music)
12:00-13:00 FOZZY Boombox (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 MICHAEL McDERMOTT St.Paul’s Boulevard (Pauper Sky Records)

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS, Reissues and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply