At the height of the Cold War, during his storied Man in Black years, country crooner Johnny Cash performed his greatest hits to a packed house at Sportovní hala, now Tipsport Arena, in Prague’s Holešovice district.
Entertainment site Artist Direct reports that Columbia/Legacy Recordings will issue, in wide release, a remaster of that 1978 concert. “Koncert v Praze (In Prague Live)” will be available for the first time ever on CD in February 2016, as will another European performance, “Man In Black: Live in Denmark 1971.”
Cash’s daughter, Roseanne, recently recalled the Prague show that would become the basis for the recording:
“It was packed, thousands and thousands of people. I remember there were police walking through the aisles during the concert, and if someone got too excited the police would tap them. They didn’t want to give the impression that people were thrilled to have this Western artist there.”
The gig was said to have done more for U.S.-Czech relations than the U.S. ambassador was able to accomplish.
Recorded April 11, 1978 and originally issued on 12-inch vinyl only in Czechoslovakia in 1983, a limited-edition re-release on “Soviet Red” vinyl with the original artwork, was pressed for Record Store Day in 2015.
The set list featured Cash show-stoppers “Ring of Fire”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, and “Big River” plus a notable 10-minute medley of railroad-related songs which comprise the entire B-side of the original album.