The final concert in the Russian leg of Elton John 's 1979 tour, which marked a significant thawing in East-West Cold War relations, will be released as a BBC-issued album on January 24.
James Taylor, Santana, the Doobie Brothers and Billy Joel all traveled to Russia to perform in the following ten years, but Elton was the pioneer of Western pop in Russia.
On the A Single Man tour Elton typically played one set alone on his Steinway grand piano and the electric Yamaha CP80. After the interval, he was joined on each date by percussionist Ray Cooper. This pared-down set-up was unusual for Elton who usually traveled with a much fuller band for his spectacular concert extravaganzas.
The final concert of the tour took place at the Rossiya Hall in Moscow, marking a significant thawing in East-West Cold War relations and resulting in Soviet authorities permitting the state-owned Melodiya record company to issue John's album A Single Man, making it the first pop album to be officially released in the USSR.
According to the musician's official website, the concert was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on May 28, 1979, with DJ Andy Peebles noting that the "Russian audience is a great deal more restrained than the audiences in Britain."
A film, To Russia with Elton subsequently appeared, while the Live from Moscow album is about to be released as a BBC recording.
In the course of the highly successful concert, Elton delivered a 12-minute version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine and Bennie and The Jets, with a closing medley of Crocodile Rock/Get Back/Back In The USSR.
The musician is taking his epic Farewell Yellow Brick Road world tour to Dublin and Belfast in 2020.
The three-year tour will consist of more than 350 shows across five continents before finishing up in 2021.