The Roy Orbison special “Black & White Night” was a must-see by rock fans of all ilk when it first aired on Cinemax in 1988. The star-crammed supergroup special has long since been hijacked by PBS stations across the country looking for an attention-grabber during pledge season, but the appeal is just as strong as when it first aired 30-years ago (the special was recorded live in LA in 1987, but didn’t air until a few months later in 1988). To celebrate the anniversary, Legacy Recordings is putting out a re-edited, remastered, and best of all, expanded version of that original special on DVD, Blu-Ray and CD.
The set, recorded in black and white (hence the title), featured Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, KD Lang, T Bone Burnett, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, JD Souther and Jennifer Warnes, serving as backup to the Texas icon. The DVD is more than just a simply reissue though; there were hundreds of hours of unused footage thanks to seven cameras filming the set, so this new release features plenty of never-seen-before footage. The song order has also been rearranged on the DVD, putting it in the proper chronological order so viewers are finally seeing it play out the way the live audience saw it that night in the club.
The 19-track CD, which is almost a greatest hits collection from Orbison, includes an alternate version of “Pretty Woman.” But, more than just an appeal to casual fans, Orbison sounds amazing on some of his lesser known tracks like, “The Comedians” or “Mean Woman Blues,” making it worth the purchase for diehards as well.