Roy Orbison: Black and White Night

Roy Orbison: Black and White Night

Thu, 06/08/2023 - 9:30pm - 11:00pm

Photo: Roy Orbinson with Bruce Springsteen in the background on “Down the Line.”

Credit: Courtesy of Roy’s Boys, LLC

Featuring the great Roy Orbison and an all-star line-up of special guests for a never-to-be-repeated evening of rock and roll, filmed entirely in black and white. 

Recorded live in September 1987 at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, the concert features the great Roy Orbison and an all-star line-up. Roy Orbison: Black and White Night airs Thursday, June 8 at 9:30 p.m. on WXXI-TV. Because the concert had been shot using seven separate cameras, hundreds of hours of footage went unused and unseen. Roy’s youngest son Alex Orbison and his co-editor Luke Chalk have 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 this specially remastered version has never been seen by the public.

When David Lynch’s landmark film Blue Velvet was released in 1986, it featured Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” prominently on the soundtrack. Although Orbison had been out of the limelight for some time, the film helped spark new interest in Orbison’s music. On September 30, 1987, Orbison, then 51, staged a remarkable comeback concert 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 nightclub was turned into a television special and broadcast as “Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night” the following January, less than a year before the icon’s untimely passing.