Billy Joel : A Matter of Trust -- The Bridge to Russia , the new documentary focusing on the Piano Man's historic August 1987 tour of the Soviet Union, premieres on Showtime tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
The film delves into the difficulties and triumphs Joel experienced performing in the U.S.S.R., whose people were then-governed by an oppressive Communist regime. Billy, who also brought family on the trip, soon discovered that the Russian people, particularly the younger generation, were enthusiastic fans of his music. The story is recounted through archival concert and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as new interviews with Joel and some of his band members.
In one new segment, Joel recalls why he wanted to document his trip to the Soviet Union. "I just thought it was very important for Americans to see what happened," he notes. "People forget how tense things were. We were all in terror that we were gonna get blown up by 'the Evil Empire.' The minute I got there I recognized [that] people like us -- they're not my enemy -- and the Cold War kind of ended for me."
Joel also talks about sensing that the Soviet people were in the process of a cultural transformation.
"You could tell there was a change happening," he points out. "The kids looked like the kids did in America in the '60s -- they were growing long hair, they were wearing beads, they were making peace signs. They wanted things to change…It was an epiphany for all of us. [We thought,] 'We're not gonna have a war with these people!'"
Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust -- The Bridge to Russia was directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jim Brown , and runs 74 minutes. After its debut screening, the documentary will air numerous additional times on Showtime and its affiliated channels over the next month. It also will be available on Showtime on Demand starting on Saturday.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio