During the twilight of the Cold War, tensions between the world’s two superpowers began to finally ease as the Soviet Union, under Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika and Glasnost campaigns, began to openly import American culture for the first time.
So when the Kremlin invited Billy Joel, one of the very few rock stars to enter the country at that point, to play in the Motherland during the summer of 1987, it made for some historic footage. The result is captured in A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia, a DVD/Blu-ray concert film and live double-album out May 20th via Columbia/Legacy Recordings. The concert DVD contains newly remastered and restored 35mm film once seen on the Live in Leningrad, 1987 VHS, with previously unreleased footage and recordings added where possible. (Snagging the Deluxe Edition will also get you a Showtime documentary directed by Emmy-winner Jim Brown.)
“I’m proud to have been a part of such a historical event,” Joel saxophonist Mark Rivera tells Rolling Stone. “Seeing this for the first time since then, all the emotions come rushing back. Billy’s trust in the music was the true bridge that connected our cultures. (P.S. How about that head of hair!)”
In the above clip Joel ecstatically and inexplicably crowd-surf to the barbershop quartet–channeling “For the Longest Time.” “I can’t believe I did that!” Joel exclaims post-surf, perhaps knowing that his stage antic was truly unthinkable only a few years back.