Billy Joel’s tour of Russia in 1987 has long been cited as one of the reasons for the fall of communism in the Soviet Union, as his introduction of rock concerts to the Russian people helped convince them they wanted more of the Western lifestyle.
That tour is the subject of a new documentary and boxed set collection, A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia (Columbia/Legacy), a two-CD, one-DVD package out Tuesday that includes 11 previously unreleased songs from the tour. It offers the broadest picture yet of the tour’s impact on the Russian people.
However, Mark Rivera, Joel’s longtime friend and also the only current member of his band who was on the Russian tour, says the new boxed set also tells the story of the impact the Russian people had on the band.
“They were some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met,” says Rivera, who recently released his first solo album, Common Bond, and has a solo headlining date at Manhattan’s Cutting Room on June 13. “They wanted to give us everything. It was amazing to be a part of that as a band member.”