Debbie T. from BAYVILLE, NJ Reviewed on 1/27/2010...
This was a gift for my husband and he is really enjoying it.
Melanie W. (novelwriter) from SURFSIDE BCH, SC Reviewed on 2/17/2008...
I love this live cd! It has many of my favorite songs on it. Definately a must for any Billy Joel fan.
Kohuept looks at a changin' times as Joel goes to the USSR
Alex Diaz-Granados | Miami, FL United States | 11/28/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"At the tail end of the Cold War, two years after Mikhail Gorbachev began to liberalize the Soviet Union with his "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring), Billy Joel became one of the first (if not THE first) American pop-rock superstar to play a series of gigs in the Communist heartland. Kohuept (Russian for "in concert") is an over-70-minute album recorded live in Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg) and, with the exception of "Odoya," (a Georgian choral piece), the Beatles' "Back in the USSR" and Bob Dylan's enigmatic (yet prophetic) "The Times They Are A Changin', " most of the 16 tracks are songs from such Joel albums as "52nd Street," "The Nylon Curtain," "An Innocent Man" and his then-current "The Bridge."In comparison to the Piano Man's studio albums, the sound has a less-polished yet more honest quality to it. For instance, in his tribute to his friends who fought in Vietnam, "Goodnight Saigon," his voice doesn't go into the high notes one hears when listening to the more "polished" version on his "Greatest Hits" compilation. His covers of Lennon-McCartney's "Back in the USSR" and Dylan's classic "Times Are A Changin' " are full of energy and enthusiasm...Joel even sounds like Dylan as he performs the song some have said embodies the spirit of the 1960s. Given Joel's fascination for history and listening to Konuept from a 21st Century perspective, it's almost as if Joel could sense that the changes that would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall two years later and the end of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 were, to borrow from another Dylan song, "blowin' in the wind.""
Kohuept Gets the Job Done - Good Live Collection
L.A. Scene | Indian Trail, NC USA | 03/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1981 Billy Joel had released his first live album of his career. This album was entitled "Songs From the Attic", but it actually served two purposes: 1) It was meant to be a live collection of songs; 2) The portfolio of songs on the collection was meant to be focused around "Old Billy Joel" songs from early in his career - songs that had almost been forgotten about - or not heard much by the average fan. So in reality, by 1987 with 11 studio albums under his belt - Billy Joel was overdue for a true live album that provided a better cross-section of his career. But once again Billy uses his live album to serve two purposes. In 1987, Billy made a historic tour of the Soviet Union (it was still rare to find Rock artists touring Russia. Thus, later in 1987 Billy would release "Kohuept" (Russian for "In Concert"). In addition to serving as a record of Billy's concert in Leningrad - it would also serve the purpose of providing a long awaited live album that would be a better cross-section of his career.
I look at Billy Joel's career as having three phases. The first phase is what I call "Old Billy Joel". This basically includes all of his material from "Cold Spring Harbor" through "Turnstiles". These are perhaps the strongest days as the piano sound, but they also contain most of Joel's least heard material. The next phase is what I call "Middle Billy Joel". This was his most successful period and covers from "The Stranger" to "Billy Joel Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2". Joel would go through a transition during this phase - expanding his musical horizons and exploring different avenues. The final phase is the "Later Billy Joel" phase - this covers "The Bridge" to "River of Dreams". In this phase, Billy would start to incorporate some of his older styles of music while not abandoning his desire to continue to explore new avenues. With the exception of "Angry Young Man", most of "Kohuept"'s songs come from Phases 2 (lion's share of the tracks) and 3. The songs that come from Phase 3 include "The Bridge" ("Big Man on Mulberry Street", "Baby Grand", and "A Matter of Trust") since this was the album that Billy's tour was supporting. Since "Songs in the Attic" did justice to Phase 1, "Kohuept" compliments that album very nicely.
There are a total of 16 tracks. 14 tracks are Billy Joel tunes. There are also two covers that Billy performs: The Beatles' "Back in the USSR" and Bob Dylan's "The Times They are a Changin". Finally, there is an introduction called "Odoya" performed by "The Georgian Singers".
"Odoya", "Honesty", and "The Times They are a Changin" were not a part of the Leningrad concert. "Odoya" sets the stage very nicely setting the tone of the Soviet setting very nicely. I usually consider it a cardinal mistake when a live disc is taken as a compilation of live performances from several shows instead of from a single night. By having a compilation of live songs as opposed to a live concert, the flow is disrupted. You also don't get the opportunity to hear the CD as if it were the concert preventing you from getting the full experience. There is something magical about hearing a great performance on a single night. "Kohuept" means "In Concert" - and for the most part this disc provides Billy Joel's concert in Leningrad. If you didn't know it, you would think that "Odoya" and "Honesty" were a part of the concert ("The Times They are a Changin" definitely seemed like some external to the concert, but they save it to the end). I think if they had actually played Joel's Leningrad performance from start to finish - it would have even been better. Probably the best part of this collection is that Russian translations of Billy's spoken words that were broadcast to the audience are also included. This enhances the Soviet experience.
Billy's selections of songs are most interesting. Judging by the inclusion of songs like "Stiletto", "An Innocent Man", and "Big Man on Mulberry Street" - Billy did not feel pressured that he had to perform his "hits" to this audience. It is understandable that Billy included three songs from "The Bridge" in order to promote that album. I am puzzled why he played "Baby Grand" - this was a duet with Ray Charles and would have been better served being performed with him. Billy also picked songs that he felt he could relate to the Soviet audience with. I think he tried to show the "wild" side to the Soviet audience by playing "Only the Good Die Young" and "Sometimes a Fantasy". He appealed to the problems in the Soviet Union when before he starts "Allentown" he relates the plight of the Steel factories to the economic problems of the Soviet Union.
The top standout performances on this collection are "Goodnight Saigon", "Stiletto", "Sometimes a Fantasy", and "Uptown Girl". Billy's live performance of "A Matter of Trust" had some twists. I like how he starts the song and how the band picks up the tempo. There also is a very nice Rock edge to it and is a very good live song. Billy also does a great job with the two covers as well. While all of the performances are good, the collection does lose a little momentum with tracks 6 through 8 ("Big Man on Mulberry Street", "Baby Grand", and "An Innocent Man").
I personally would have liked to see more in the way of liner notes. I would have liked to have seen some write-up on the Soviet experience. There is a collage of pictures, but these pictures are very small and don't provide the feel of Billy's Soviet experience. Despite all of these quirks, this is still a very good live collection by Billy Joel - one that will keep old and new fans happy."
Songs In The Attic Volume 2
andy8047 | Nokomis,Florida | 08/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title of this album is the Russian translation of "in concert". Billy Joel was promoting THE BRIDGE while touring the U.S.S.R. where this album was recorded. This is a sequel to SONGS IN THE ATTIC. Four TURNSTILES tracks were on the first live set. On this set is ANGRY YOUNG MAN. It is so amazing how Billy can repeatedly strike that middle C on the piano so fast. ODOYA is the album's introduction sung a cappella by a male Russian choir. From 52ND STREET are STILETTO,BIG SHOT and HONESTY. On this album's version of HONESTY,the only thing heard besides Billy's voice is his piano,no drums or string emsemble like the studio version. From the NYLON CURTAIN are GOODNIGHT SAIGON and ALLENTOWN. Those two songs are storytelling. From AN INNOCENT MAN are the title track and UPTOWN GIRL. From THE STRANGER is ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG. From GLASS HOUSES is SOMETIMES A FANTASY. From THE BRIDGE are A MATTER OF TRUST,BIG MAN ON MULBERRY STREET and BABY GRAND minus Ray Charles. BACK IN THE U.S.S.R. was quite appropriate for this live set. That Lennon-McCartney composition was first recorded by the Beatles. Bob Dylan's THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN' ends the album. In that song,like HONESTY,it's only Billy voice and only one instrument,this one an acoustic guitar. A concert of this tour,but not this very concert was videotaped for broadcast on Cable TV's Home Box Office."
Billy sold these songs without even trying--and that's no sm
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 10/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Billy Joel's tour of the former Soviet Union was truly historic since he was one of the very first American artists to be allowed to perform in the former USSR. This disc very nicely brings us the highlights of Billy's tour and we get some great tracks to prove that it was very successful!
The track set begins with a Russian piece called "Odoya;" and after that we hear the musical prelude to Billy's concerts. Billy sounds great on "Honesty;" this classic tune about a man who wants his one true love features great piano by Billy. Billy also sings it quite passionately and the crowd loves every minute of it! "Stiletto" makes the crowd go wild; and the horn solo at the very beginning gets it just right! The drums, percussion, guitar and piano carry the melody and Billy sings this with great sensitivity--great! I think you'll enjoy this live track of "Stiletto" very much.
"Big Man On Mulberry Street" really rocks as Billy cries out to make this even more passionate. Billy never misses a note and the drums and chorus enhance "Big Man On Mulberry Street" even more! Listen for some great jamming on "Big Man On Mulberry Street," too. In addition, "Baby Grand" gets the royal treatment from Billy Joel as he delivers this number with panache and sensitivity. The crowd hangs on his every word; Billy's rapport with his audience is excellent. Good percussion and drums, too.
The mood and tempo pick up considerably for a rocking "Only The Good Die Young;" Billy does this to perfection with some really great guitar! "Uptown Girl" features a nice chorus to backup Billy's vocals; and they harmonize very well. The energy is perhaps at his zenith when Billy plays the predictable but wonderful "Back In The U.S.S.R." "Back In The U.S.S.R." features good vocal backup, great drums and percussion, awesome electric guitar as Billy wails this out while playing piano. Excellent!
The last track on this CD sends the message that Billy recognizes the former Soviet Union was beginning to undergo major social changes; we get the Bob Dylan standard "The Times They Are A Changin'." Billy does this flawlessly after telling his audience that he believes the U.S.S.R. under Gorbachev was similar to the social changing times in America during the 1960s.
The liner notes include some great color photos taken of Billy and his band during his U.S.S.R. tour--great!
Billy Joel does indeed display his ability to perform as a socially conscious musician on this album. I wish it were a more complete version of perhaps a single concert; maybe in the future we will get that. All in all, this is still a phenomenal live Billy Joel CD; and I highly recommend it for rock and pop fans everywhere.
A Solid If Inconsistent Look At A Historical Show.
Anthony Nasti | Staten Island, New York United States | 08/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"By 1987, Billy Joel was a certified rock superstar who was known the world over, even in The Soviet Union. It was at this time Billy decided to head out to Mother Russia and introduce the citizens to American rock and roll, which for many years was outlawed as Western propaganda. The tour proved to be a major success (aside from an onstage tantrum caused by a lighting error), and Billy felt it would be proper to release an album to commemorate his historic performance.
The resulting album was "Kohuept," Russian for "In Concert." Is it the definitive souvenir of this historic event. Not quite. Some performances lack more energy than others, and anyone who's seen actual footage from the concert knows that songs like "The Longest Time," "It's Still Rock And Roll To Me," and "You May Be Right" were all performed and could've been added to perhaps extened it to two discs and perhaps make it a more worthy and complete snapshot of the tour.
Still, what we are left with is a decent fifteen tracks, most of which are solid performances. Billy for the most part is in good spirits and is generally on target, though on some songs he seems a bit bored and uninvolved. His band also occasionally from a lack of spark, save for the ever charismatic Liberty De Vito, who smacks the skin as if it was same scared sacrament meant to appease God.
The show opens with the Russian traditional "Odoya" before seguing with what has since become Billy's traditional opener, "Angry Young Man." The version here is very powerful and packs a whallop, deviating from its original reggae rhythm and done more in a straight rock style.
Next comes a decidedly bland piano only version of "Honesty." Billy's singing is indifferent and the song as a whole lacks something without the band. Fortunately, things pick up a bit with a heartfelt reading of "Goodnight Saigon."
Things really heat up with an electrifying "Stiletto" that beats the studio version by a long shot. This is what I wish the whole album was. Mark River's saxophone playing is fierce and prominent, Liberty beats the skins until there's nothing but shrapnel left, and Billy is absolutely on the attack, his keyboard playing ferocious and his singing passionate and engaged.
I've never been a big fan of "Big Man On Mulberry Street," and this version is no exception. It goes on far too long and becomes agitating after awhile. "Baby Grand" doesn't work well without Ray Charles, who managed to make it into a more meaningful song than it really is. Billy sings it nicely, but the song's charm and appeal is gone without Ray.
"An Innocent Man" follows and is a given a very powerful and soulful rendition, the only problem being that it sort of drags in the beginning, plus eve at this stage Billy has trouble hitting the high notes, which are left to Pete Hewlett.
"Allentown" is next, and Billy equates the song's story to the Russians' struggle and hope for things to improve. It's given a spirited, punchy rendition, and provides one of the better moments on the recording. "A Matter Of Trust" is tougher sounding than the studio version, though it plods a bit and lacks the excitement of the studio version as well as the later version from "12 Gardens Live."
Things start to kick into high gear with a zesty "Only The Good Die Young," which gets a great reaction out of the fairly reserved crowd. Then, out of nowhere, comes the undisputed highlight of the album as Billy and the gang launch into a turbo charged "Sometimes A Fantasy." Like a rush of adrenaline, the song hits you like a bolt of energy. The version here is fast, furious and a pure thrill to listen to. Billy and the band sound absolutely ferocious. It is an unbelievable performance that one has to hear to believe.
A solid "Uptown Girl" follows, and is greeted nicely, though there seems to be times when it goes off tempo. "Big Shot" kind of drags, this version lack any excitement and is way too slow. Fortunately, Billy manages to whip the crowd back into a frenzy for a fantastic cover of "Back In The U.S.S.R." and finishes on a high note with "The Times They Are A Changin'."
Overall, while not as good as "Songs In The Attic" or 2006's "12 Gardens Live," it's an overall solid live compilation of a historic occurence in rock and roll."