Over the past several years, Roy’s Boys, the company founded by Roy Orbison’s sons to administer his catalogue, have put together several reissue projects celebrating the immense legacy of the late artist. These have included a comprehensive box set of his years on the MGM label for Universal and a one-disc career-spanning greatest hits from Legacy Recordings. They are teaming up with Legacy again to celebrate one of Orbison’s landmark performances with Black &White Night 30, due to be released on February 24th as a CD/DVD set and a CD/Blu-ray set.
Black & White Night was filmed September 30, 1987 at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles. Orbison was in the beginning of a career resurgence during this period after his song “In Dreams” was featured in David Lynch’s 1986 film Blue Velvet. He would soon join The Traveling Wilburys. Filmed entirely in black and white, Orbison was backed by Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and joined for the show by guests including Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes and J.D. Souther, and T-Bone Burnett. The concert special aired on Cinemax in January 1988, with several songs being cut for time. Virgin Records would release an album of the concert in 1989.
The concert has been reissued several times on DVD, Blu-ray, CD, SACD and DVD-Audio. The full show was eventually part of these new editions. It was last reissued in 2013 on DVD. However, this new edition is not simply a straight reissue. Alex Orbison and co-editor Luke Chalk have re-edited the film using alternate camera angles and have put the concert into its original running order for the first time. Additionally, Orbison recorded a “secret concert” of five songs after the show which has never been released. The audio for that will only be available as a free digital download to purchasers of either the DVD or Blu-ray sets. Other extras on the DVD and Blu-ray include a 33 minute documentary with rehearsal and interview footage and a 20-picture photo gallery. Additionally, PBS will air this new version of the concert in March.
We’ve got the full press release below with some more information together with the tracklisting and preorder links if you’d like to experience this concert again.
NEW YORK, NY – To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Roy Orbison’s renowned 1987 televised comeback concert at the Cocoanut Grove night club in Los Angeles, Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings has teamed up with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalog and safeguard his legacy. Together, they are releasing Black & White Night 30, a re-imagined, re-edited, remastered and expanded version of the original television special, available both as a CD/DVD set and as a CD/Blu-ray set on February 24. PBS will also air Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30 during the month of March as part of their special programming.
By the mid-1980s, Roy Orbison had been out of the limelight for quite some time, but his song “In Dreams” was prominently featured in David Lynch’s landmark 1986 noir film Blue Velvet and helped reignite interest in the ‘Big O.’ On September 30, 1987, Orbison, then 51, staged a remarkable comeback with the help of guest musicians whom he had influenced: Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Jennifer Warnes. The all-star concert at the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove night club was turned into a television special and broadcast as Roy Orbison & Friends: Black & White Night on Cinemax the following January, less than a year before the icon’s untimely passing.
Black & White Night 30 is NOT a reissue. Because the concert had been shot using seven separate cameras, there were hundreds of hours of footage that went unused and unseen. Roy’s youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk have gone back and re-edited the entire performance so that while the look will be familiar to those that have seen the original version, the vast majority of footage in Black & White Night 30 has never been seen before by the public. Furthermore, the program has been restored to reflect the correct set order, so that viewers can see Roy, brilliantly backed by Elvis Presley’s TCB Band (James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, Jerry Scheff, Ron Tutt), blast through massive Orbison hits such as “Only the Lonely,” “In Dreams” and “Crying” just as the star-studded live audience witnessed them on that very night.
The bonus features included in Black & White Night 30 are remarkable in both size and scope. These include a previously unseen alternate version of Orbison’s biggest hit “Oh, Pretty Woman” and a previously unseen “Blue Angel.” Then, unbeknownst to just about everyone but those that were there in 1987, Roy and friends and the full band regathered onstage after the show had ended and after the audience had left. A ‘secret concert’ of five songs followed and is presented here for the first time. The “secret concert” features alternate takes of “Dream You,” “Comedians,” “Candyman,” “Claudette,” and “Uptown” with shooting stopped only after film ran out in the middle of the latter song. These ‘secret’ performances have been highly sought after by fans for decades. All tracks, including all ‘secret concert’ alternate versions have been freshly remastered by Richard Dodd. The audio for the concert is available on CD with buyers of Black & White Night 30 receiving a download code for access to the audio records of the ‘secret concert.’
Also included is a brand new 33-minute mini-documentary consisting of rehearsal footage and pre and post show interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne from that night. Absolutely none of this content has ever been released commercially, and until recently, has only been rumored to exist.
Black & White Night 30‘s bonus features are capped with a montage consisting of 20 still photos from the show and new photos of show memorabilia, mostly unused and unseen in any context. Liner notes written by son Roy Orbison Jr. are included in the brand new, yet thematically consistent, packaging.
Just as the original Black and White Night was televised almost three decades ago, so too will Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30, this time as part of PBS special programming.
Roy Orbison, Black & White Night 30 (Roy’s Boys/Legacy Recordings, 2017)
- Only the Lonely
- In Dreams
- The Comedians
- Blue Angel
- It’s Over
- Running Scared
- Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
- Mean Woman Blues
- Candy Man
- Ooby Dooby
- Blue Bayou
- Go Go Go (Down the Line)
- (All I Can Do Is) Dream You
- Oh, Pretty Woman (Alternate Version)*
- Oh, Pretty Woman
Secret Post-Show Concert (available on digital download, included)
- (All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Alternate Version)*
- The Comedians (Alternate Version)*
- Candy Man (Alternate Version)*
- Claudette (Alternate Version)*
- Uptown (Alternate Version)*
DVD/Blu-ray Special Features
- Bonus Rehearsal & Interview Footage
- Photo Gallery