A Matter of Trust:The Bridge to Russia (2014)


 
Disc One 1. Odoya 2. Prelude/The 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 Disc Two 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 (Rehearsal) 14.Piano Man

 

With Billy Joel still touring more than two decades after he retired from writing and releasing popular music, it really only does make sense that his record company would try to milk all the dollars that they could from one of their best-selling artists of all time. As time went on, the pickings became very slim. There have been oodles of live albums as well as "best of" packages. Some bean counter somewhere probably decided that they could re-release his 1987 Kohuept album, a live documentary of his tour behind the iron curtain. This time, however, the entire set list(s) was released, giving the listener a more accurate description of what the show really was like.

Here lies the problem. The concerts were never really that good. It had nothing to do with Billy and his band not being stellar performers, it was just that the alien communist audience didn't really know that much about rock and roll, and maybe not much about Billy himself. So instead of a large, screaming, infectious crowd, we hear Joel interacting with a group of people that behave as if they're at a funeral. Really, though, what more could one expect? Joel tries his hardest to pump up the crowd, and as the show goes on, he succeeds to a degree, but this whole experience just seems stagnant.

When the original, abbreviated show was released back in 1987, it appeared to have somewhat of an advantage, as Billy did not have a "hits" driven live album. Not surprisingly, the album sunk pretty fast due do the dullness, however. Fast forward more than a quarter of a century – Billy Joel now has masses of live retrospectives, and all of them blow this one away. So why would anyone even think of buying this one? Beats me. In places it's downright awkward – as when he's trying to communicate to the Russian audience the story behind the song The Ballad of Billy the Kid as he is introducing it. Even though he has a translator on stage, you feel like the audience is completely lost. Not to mention a few of the newer songs sounds like Billy has a bad case of laryngitis.

This is only for the diehard that must have everything. If you want a good live Billy Joel album, there are a lot better ones out there. All of them actually.

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