Fans of Roy Orbison’s all-star A Black & White Night certainly won’t be “Crying” over the major expansion it’s getting for its 30 anniversary.
Roy Orbison: Black & White Night 30 comes out Feb. 24 via Roy’s Boys/Legacy, re-edited to feature different camera angels and previously unreleased performances — including “Blue Angel” and an alternate version of “Oh, Pretty Woman!” plus five songs performed after the formal concert ended and the audience left Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove club on Sept. 30, 1987. The set, including the remastered live version of “Crying” below, is coming out on DVD and Blu-ray as well as CD.
The project was born when Alex Orbison, Roy’s Boys president and the late legend’s son, found a box of source tapes in a vault while also searching for bonus material for a deluxe edition of 1989’s Mystery Girl, Orbison’s last album. “I just started to sit and watch through all this stuff with a pen and paper, and just as a Roy Orbison fan I thought, ‘Man, this is so cool,'” recalls Orbison, who was 12 years old when the show was held. “Any little scrap or piece that you find just makes the hair on my neck stand up on end. It was such a special night that to have anything that was different, and the fact it was good, made it even better.”
The Black & White Night show was a pivotal event during Roy Orbison’s late ’80s comeback. Preceding his involvement with the all-star Traveling Wilburys band (Orbison, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne), the show put a spotlight on Orbison’s classic hits with help from Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and guests Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. Lang, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Steven Soles. The concert premiered the following Jan. 3 on Cinemax and was released 11 months later on album and home video. The concert is often regarded as one of the best rock shows in history.
“My dad always wanted a definitive live concert,” Alex Orbison says. “He recorded a lot of live shows. None of them came out they way they wanted to. One of the distinguishing things about this for me and my brothers when we opened up the tapes is it had this jam band quality. It had this liveliness because of the guitar battles — Bruce Springsteen, who is a phenomenal guitar player, has this interaction with James Burton and there’s a lot going on between all the players that was so great.” That realization inspired the younger Orbison — who directed and co-edited the new version of the show — to do more than just spruce it up for re-release.
“We wanted to let it rip a little more,” he says. “When it was played on cable television, you got a lot of the sound of my dad and violins and backing vocals, but the band wasn’t as strong. So we wanted to bring that back into this. It really sounds like you’re in the front row and these guys are just ripping away. For me that means a lot.”
The Black & White Night 30 package also includes a 33-minute documentary featuring never-before-seen interviews with many of the guests, as well as a montage of photos and memorabilia from the show. Roy Orbison Jr. wrote liner notes for the package. Black & White Night 30 will also be airing as a special on PBS.
Roy’s Boys has several other Orbison projects on the runway. Bruce Evans and Raynold Gideon (Stand By Me, Starman) have finished a script for a biopic that’s currently being shopped around Hollywood, while Alex Orbison is directing a documentary about his father’s life from 1978-1988 that should be out this fall, along with a coffee table book. Another musical project is in the offing, too, but Orbison will say little about it other than it involves some new recording that’s been done in Nashville and overseas and could be out this fall, too.
The full track list for Roy Orbison: Black & White 30 includes:
1) Only the Lonely
3) In Dreams
6) The Comedians
7) Blue Angel+
8) It’s Over
9) Running Scared
10) Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)
11) Mean Woman Blues
12) Candy Man
13) Ooby Dooby
14) Blue Bayou
15) Go Go Go (Down the Line)
16) (All I Can Do Is) Dream You
18) Oh, Pretty Woman (Alternate Version)*
19) Oh, Pretty Woman
Secret Post Show
1) (All I Can Do Is) Dream You (Alternate Version)*
2) The Comedians (Alternate Version)*
3) Candy Man (Alternate Version)*
4) Claudette (Alternate Version)*
5) Uptown (Alternate Version)*
+First time on DVD
DVD/Blu-ray bonus features:
– Bonus Rehearsal & Interview Footage
– Photo Gallery