This special consisted of a performance of many of Orbison’s hits at the then Ambassador Hotel’s Coconut Grove nightclub in Los Angeles, filmed on September 30, 1987, approximately fourteen months before his death. Three songs, “Blue Bayou”, “Claudette”, and “Blue Angel”, were filmed but not included in the original broadcast due to time constraints.Other celebrity admirers of Orbison were in the audience, including David Lynch, Billy Idol, Patrick Swayze, Sandra Bernhard and Kris Kristofferson. The backing band was the TCB Band, which accompanied Elvis Presley from 1969 until his death in 1977: Glen D. Hardin on piano, James Burton on lead guitar, Jerry Scheff on bass, and Ronnie Tutt on drums. Male background vocalists, some of whom also joined in on guitar, were Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Steven Soles. The female background vocalists were k.d. lang, Jennifer Warnes and Bonnie Raitt. During the end credits, several of the band members are shown talking about how Orbison influenced them.Soon after the release on VHS and Laserdisc a bootleg CD titled ‘A Black and White Night, Roy Orbison in Concert with the Billion Dollar Band’ surfaced, being a rare collectors item nowadays. This CD, which came before any official CD-release of the concert, has the same 15 songs in the same order as the original VHS/Laserdisc release and has catologue number RO.LA.87, referring to the artist, place and year of the recording.The audio from this special was released as an album by Virgin Records in 1989, titled A Black & White Night Live. After Orbison’s death, his family provided the video to public television stations to air during their fund-raising campaigns.
Blue Angel wasn’t included in the broadcast, but made it to the Blue-Ray as a bonus.
I worked long and hard on this and it is needless to say that this truly is a fantastic musical treasure beyond words, not only because of Roy but also because of the people surrounding him.
A Black And White Night: Roy Orbison And Friends