Roy Orbison "Black&WhiteNight 30" Blu-ray Has it All (And More)

Thirty years after the stars came out in an unprecedented outpouring of love and respect to back Roy Orbison at L.A.'s Cocoanut Grove Ballroom, fans can finally see it all and hear it as never before in the original running order in which it was performed.

To create this superbly produced and presented set, Roy's son Roy, Jr. along with brothers Alex and Wesley went to the time and expense of re-transferring all of the available and re-transferred HD footage from the seven camera shoot (six on the stage, one on the audience).

The notes point out that the majority of the footage here has never before been seen—and that's just of the original concert. In addition, there's footage of the post-"official concert" concert, which occurred after the over-the-limit audience had been ushered out by nervous fire marshals. The band and Roy returned to the stage for another go-round of "(All I Can Do is) Dream You", "The Comedians", "Candy Man", "Claudette", and "Uptown". An alternative version of "Oh, Pretty Woman" recorded during the "official" concert has been inserted into the official concert running order (along with the previously used one).

But wait! There's more! There's also bonus rehearsal and interview footage and a photo gallery with Jackson, T Bone, Elvis, k.d., Bonnie, Bruce, Tom, Jennifer, J.D. and Steven (Soles).

What's more, it's all been remixed in both stereo and 5.1 versions and damn if that "perfect" digital hasn't been made more so yet again. In fact, this version's sound is astonishingly free of all of what you hate about "digital". It's rich, full and warm, especially Roy's voice, which will have loyal Roy fans reaching for Kleenex. All or most of the artificial reverb added to the original has been stripped away leaving among the most palpable and honestly textured of all recorded Roy—I got to hear that "live" once (once in a life-time experience), standing directly in front of the stage between Roy and the P.A. system at a not particularly well-attended special June, 1988 C.E.S. Chicago show at The Drake Hotel.

The original Blu-ray's ham-handed mix, which placed the background singers bright, hard and too loud in the surround speakers, has been replaced with a far more subtle and sophisticated mix. It might be fair to criticize it for being somewhat too soft and too Roy-centric at the expense of the band, but I'll take it! The video transfer as well is superb.

Now for the first time you can watch this love-fest unfold as it happened instead of being chopped up to create a false (but entertaining) narrative. It's actually more exciting seen this way, and more astonishing as well in so many ways: thirty years, everyone looks so young because they were.

In addition there's a remastered CD from the stereo re-mix also presented in the original running order and it too sounds really good, though in some ways I prefer the original stereo mix found on the LP (minus the annoying added reverb that Roy did not at all need!). IMO the background singers panned hard right are up in level too high.They are better tucked into the mix on the original. Otherwise, in most ways the new mix is warmer, smoother, more natural and less edgy and "digital" circa 1989 (when the LP was released). The clapping on the records sounds like rain on a tin roof. On the CD it sounds like clapping. But most importantly, Roy's voice both on the CD and on the video soundtrack sounds gossamer-like.

I never tire of watching all of these greats paying tribute to Roy Orbison and doing it all out of love and respect. That pours from the screen regardless of which version you watch and for those of us who never lost sight of Roy in the '70s and early '80s, this concert and of course The Traveling Wilburys was justice well-served! Highly recommended of course! Thanks Roy's Boys!

Sony/Legacy 88985404832 Blu-ray and CD+digital download of the bonus "secret post show" audio.

Ortofan's picture

... 30 years since this concert occurred.
Video quality aside, is there any reason to buy the Blu-ray version over the standard DVD version?
Curious that b&m stores such as Target and Best Buy don't seem to be stocking this new release.

Michael Fremer's picture
DVD is not HD. Menu system navigation. Shot on film and transferred to HD.Its true that up conversions are better these days but....
AnnaJohnson77's picture

I'm pretty sure neither video nor sound quality will not be any better on Blue-ray. Nevertheless, the DVD standard is going to fade away in time and it is very possible, that in close future you probably won't have any device to play the old good DVDs. So if the Blue-ray version is in your price range, I advise you to buy it :)


Ortofan's picture

... the Best Buy site shows that the code for the Blu-ray+CD version is 889854126223 whereas the code for the DVD+CD
version is 889854048327. The site seems to confirm that info.

my new username's picture

88985404832 seems to be the CD/DVD release

Glotz's picture

I have been listening and watching that show for the same 30 years, and I cannot wait to pick this up. I always acted a bit too tough to like Roy's style when I grew up in the 80's, but once I saw the original airing (Big Costello and T-Bone fan back then), I cried rivers over Roy's pure emotion and crystalline voice!

His voice is just really astonishing of the power and grace it possesses, I can only think of Jeff Buckley who also shared that ability to make grown men ball instantly. I'm sure there are many others.

Despite really not knowing much of him prior to that, his instant status of cool was completely cemented when I saw dozens of the greatest of the rock greats grace the stage with him.

my new username's picture

Here it is 3rd week in March, and I can't find the new Blu-Ray release on Amazon. All I see are CDs, old (2008) BR, DVD, imports etc.

If it's not in Best Buy/Target either, perhaps it's not actually been released yet.

Or maybe we'll just wait for it to appear during a PBS fundraiser (again), like it did back in the '90s.

Ortofan's picture

... the two versions (DVD or Blu-Ray) listed as available to order on their websites. It's just that they're not stocking them in the physical stores. Best Buy shows that the release date was 2/24/17.

my new username's picture

I missed it earlier!

vinylrules's picture

I could have sworn I saw this on vinyl at my local record store a couple of days ago. Is this possible? If the've cleaned up the sound on the Blu-ray & CD then perhaps the vinyl version is worthy of consideration. You think Mikey? I have the original LP and that's whay I didn't grab it but now I am re-thinking this. The LP I saw also comes with the MP3 download code so it must be this release. Ha!

diverlou's picture

Yes it is in black and white and occasionally grainy on purpose for effect but I highly recommend this blu ray disc. The DTS sound is outstanding and Roy has assembled one of the greatest back up bands ever. I could listen to this over and over and use frequently to demo the music aspect of my surround sound system.