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Roy Orbison: Black & White Night [HD DVD] (1987)

Roy Orbison , Jackson Browne , Tony Mitchell  |  NR |  HD DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (616 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Roy Orbison, Jackson Browne, T Bone Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang
  • Directors: Tony Mitchell
  • Producers: Albert Spevak, Barbara Orbison, Stephanie Bennett
  • Format: Black & White
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Japanese
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: December 18, 2007
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (616 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000W8ON94
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,461 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Roy Orbison: Black & White Night [HD DVD]" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A special one-time event documenting one of rock and roll's greatest and most unique performances. Recorded live at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, Roy Orbison is joined by an eclectic ensemble of rock and roll superstars. Highlighting this all-star line-up are Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett, J.D. Souther, Jennifer Warnes, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits. Orbison and fellow performers spend a scintillating hour performing many of his greatest hits. Songs: Only the Lonely, Dream Baby, The Comedians, Ooby Dooby, Leah, Running Scared, In Dreams, Crying, Candyman, Go Go Go, Mean Woman Blues, It's Over, Oh Pretty Woman, Dream You, Blue Bayou, Claudette, Uptown, Blue Angel.

Few early rockers were more gifted or less honored in their prime than the late Roy Orbison, whose vaulting tenor and vulnerable love songs conjured heartbreak and desire with operatic intensity. This 1987 concert special, originally broadcast on Showtime, came two decades after Orbison had retreated from pop's front lines, yet neither Orbison nor his music coasts on mere nostalgia: in every respect, A Black and White Night survives as a triumphant performance and a superb video production, as well as a first-rate retrospective of Orbison's hits.

Filmed in black and white against the streamlined art deco stage of the since-demolished Coconut Grove in downtown Los Angeles, the concert is buoyed by a remarkable cast of A-list Orbison fans who signed on as his accompanists. Under the direction of producer T-Bone Burnett, the stage band thus includes Jackson Browne, Burnett, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Jennifer Warnes, along with the rhythm section from Elvis Presley's fabled late '60s and early '70s touring band. That astonishing lineup is all the more noteworthy for the restraint with which they collaborate--it's evident that those superstars came to honor Orbison, not upstage him, resulting in a gratifying cohesion to the performances.

Orbison himself sounds as powerful as ever, his soaring falsetto cresting as dramatically as it did on the studio versions of the hits that inevitably dominate. Those songs meanwhile confirm that his blue chip admiration society came as much for the caliber of his writing as for his ravishing voice: if he remains best known for the jaunty come-on of "Pretty Woman," Orbison was first and foremost a rock balladeer, capable of bringing lumps to our throats with such classics as "Crying" and "Only the Lonely," or conjuring romantic trances through such gentle charmers as "Dream Baby." On this night, he handled all of them with fervor and finesse. --Sam Sutherland

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
277 of 285 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star studded vid of a great singer/lyricist October 17, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
When Springsteen wrote and created his Born To Run album he explained to critics that he wanted "to have an album with lyrics like Dylan, singing like Roy Orbison, and a sound like Phil Spector." If you're 25 or older and you can only give your children one snapshot of popular music, circa '60- '90, buy them a copy of this tape. Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes, k.d. lang, John David Souther, Jackson Brown and Steven Soules sing backing vocals. Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen and T-Bone Burnett, among others,play instrumental second fiddles. And they all do it for The Man. Roy Orbison. The architect of the symphonic, Ravel-like love song. The singer of singers. Just weeks before he died he played a concert in Boston and the local critic said, (I paraphrase) "he repeated that last line, in his falsetto voice, over and over and over as if to say, 'I'm still here and can do it...anytime.'" The videotape is revelatory. Stephen Burton (gtr) shows, over and over again, why he is to studio musicians and especially to guitar players, an icon non-pareil. He is Chet Atkins, Django Reinhardt, Bucky Pizzarelli, all in one. The tape does a tidy review of Orbison's hits. More remarkable than the performance of those hits is the reverential looks and obvious excitment of Springsteen, Costello, lang, Raitt, Browne, etc. as they accompany him on his tour of transistor radio hits. Forget the Wilbury's. This is Roy's night. Deservedly. Roy knew how to constrain all that emotion behind his words until he was ready to release it. In the last moments of the tape Roy sings "Pretty Woman" and it opens up into a jam-for-all. Noteworthy is how Springsteen acquits himself in a mano a' mano guitar trade with Burton. Read more ›
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128 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Very Best Music DVD Released July 20, 2002
The DVD release of this one *IS* the legacy of Roy Orbison.
A number of reviewers comment on the absolutely spectacular 5.1 and DTS mixes for this release and I couldn't agree more....this is not only arguably the best DVD yet released, the remix was done from 1987 tapes and really shows why it is worth considering re-buying your favorite music when remixes are released.
Regarding the black and white is sharp and clear with excellent video are usually on the right person at the right time throughout and the fact that it was shot at LA's Coconut Grove makes it even better.
And now the music....ah, the music....of coure it has Pretty Woman, Cryin', Dream Baby. But what is spectacular is Roy's delivery of Blue Bayou, the sailing lyric in It's Over, the rhythm section on Candy Man, the fun in redoing his 1st hit from Sun Studios...Ooby Dooby...there isn't a track on this one that won't find a special place in your heart.
It simply cannot be said any other way.....this is what Roy was always all about....and you've got Springsteen, Lang, Souther, Riatt, T-Bone, Costello, Browne......all to vouch for it!
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Night March 21, 2005
On September 30th, 1987, the stars were in alignment, and an incredible concert took place. Thankfully, they filmed and recorded it. This DVD features not only an amazingly warm and relaxed performance by Roy, but also includes a remixed SACD soundtrack of the film. If you already have the "Black & White Night" CD (first issue) you may want to pick this up anyway. The sound mix is crystal clear. I think there were at least three acoustic guitars being played that night, and on this reissue, they positively shimmer! The other differences from past issues of this concert on disc or video are the inclusion of "Claudette", restored to its proper place in the running order, and on the SACD, "Blue Angel" is added on as a bonus track.

This package is really worth the price. I paid no more than I would for an average new DVD, so the SACD is really a bonus. If you're a fan of the great Mr. Orbison, I think you'll watch this one over and over.
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Stars********** March 24, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I just bought a DVD-Audio capable DVD player.. The included dvd-a disk sparkles with reality. You have the best seat in the house when you hear this on a capable player. Wow!

The video concert disc is amazing. When you see Bonnie Raitt, Jennifer Warnes and KD Lang, each a star in their own right, singing doo-wops, and loving every moment of it, you know you are witnessing a rare and golden session. James Burton and Springsteen on guitars and Elvis Costello playing everything he can lay his hands on, rock. The audience and stage is so loaded with stars that it seems surreal.. How did all these people know to be there on that day, to share and witness the greatness of Roy Orbison. One and all, they are definitely paying homage to perhaps the greatest singer that ever lived. T-bone Burnett produces and once again shows why he is revered in the music industry. The video is a masterpiece.

This 2 disc set (one of the live concert, one audio) should cost a hundred dollars and here it is on sale for less than $20. Don't delay.. get it - Own this valuable piece of history.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vintage Rock and Roll Classic August 27, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Roy Orbison's 'Black and White Night' has certainly got to be one of the best DVD rock and roll concerts ever. Orbison himself is in fine form. His operatic voice resonates magnificently, and his guitar playing, which isn't heralded much to my knowledge, is marvelous as well. He has able support. At his forefront are Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, and Jackson Browne to name all but a few. The black and white film gives us the vintage experience, and the ambiance of a nightclub (rather than an arena) provides the intimacy as few concerts are presented.

Every song is a classic. "Oh Pretty Woman," "Blue Bayou," "Only the Lonely," et al, are given the red carpet treatment. Even the lesser songs are familiar and are welcome additions from his repertoire of passionate love songs. Each celebrity player is in awe of Orbison, and each contribution is done with the same devotion. The extended versions of the songs don't make them tedious like many concert performances do. They are, rather, playful and engaging. We don't want them to ever stop. The interplay from these worshipping guest stars also is entertaining. It is hard to criticize this DVD. The shots of the audience (including ones of Kris Kristoferson at one of the tables in the gathering) are lively and fun. The editing of the enthusiasm of the band gives us glimpses of the brilliance all around. Occasionally, a guest walks past the camera, but this only makes the affair more informal and intimate. If you love vintage rock and roll, this is a must-have video.

I was introduced by this classic (made in 1987, shortly before Orbison's death) on PBS, and since then I've had to have it. The DVD audio extra disc does not work for me, but the first disc clocks in at just over an hour and a half. This DVD is going to have many repeat viewings!
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Black & White Nights
SACD stands for Super Audio Compact Disc.
Jul 9, 2010 by Tristan |  See all 2 posts
Best Song on B&W Night
my favorite song is "(all i can do is) dream you". I think this whole night rocked a little harder than the originals. black and white night was a great concert.
Dec 16, 2008 by GatorBabe831 |  See all 3 posts
Blu Ray improvements?
My dad has the DVD, and I just ordered the bluray. I will try to remember to update this after I view it. I have seen the DVD at least three times, so I should be able to see or hear the differences. I just got my dad a bluray player, so I will see and hear the difference on his set up. I am... Read More
Jan 20, 2014 by James Stephanek |  See all 2 posts
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