Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


Roy Orbison – The Last Concert (in Cleveland) – Itunes Exclusive Release

I can still remember picking up the morning paper as a kid, and reading that Roy Orbison had died.

I cut the article out of the paper, and was stunned that one of my favorite artists was suddenly gone. I was a bit of a late comer to Orbison's music and while I was aware of his career and legacy, I really became a fan through his work with the Traveling Wilburys. I was already a huge fan of fellow Wilbury members George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan, and as soon as I heard Orbison's voice booming out of my radio on "Handle with Care," I had to hear anything and everything that I could get my hands on.

It's interesting to read that according to Wikipedia, the seeds for Orbison's initial breakthrough were planted via a meeting with songwriter Joe Melson in Odessa, TX, a town where I spent seven years of my early life as a kid in the 80s. Melson and Orbison went on to write future hits together that included "Only The Lonely," "Running Scared," and "Blue Bayou."

And here I was thinking that football was all there is to know about Odessa!

Years later as a longtime Clevelander, I am occasionally reminded of Orbison's last concert, which happened in the Cleveland suburb of Highland Heights at The Front Row Theater (not Akron, which has been a point of confusion over the years.) Any Clevelanders that were lucky enough to attend a show at The Front Row, will remember what a great venue it was, and like The Richfield Coliseum, The Front Row was gone too soon. Unfortunately, I was still living in Chicago in 1988, so I did not attend the Orbison show.

I had no idea that the concert was professionally recorded, but indeed it was! "It's Over" appears on the recently released Roy Orbison box set The Soul of Rock and Roll, and you can now get your hands on the whole show via Itunes. Roy Orbison: The Last Concert is available exclusively from Itunes right here.

Here's Roy's final interview, recorded with Glen Weber after the Cleveland show. I love the Wilburys discussion, and also some of the information that is revealed, including Orbison's favorite cover versions of his own material, and the thoughts/plans that were on the table for a Wilburys tour:

part one

part two

It's amazing that Roy's last concert was so well documented with the recording of the concert, and the above interview.

Speaking of the box set, my buddy Pete @ Blogness on the Edge of Town posted a review of the box set last week that you can check out here.

Here's the Shore Fire Media press release for Roy Orbison: The Last Concert:

Roy Orbison performed his final concert at Highland Heights in Cleveland, Ohio on December 4, 1988 - two days before his untimely passing. While the concert was recorded and Roy's performance of "It's Over" is featured in 'The Soul of Rock and Roll' released by Monument/Orbison Records/Legacy Recordings earlier this fall, the final tapes in their entirety have remained unreleased, until now.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Orbison's passing and to thank fans for keeping Roy's memory alive, Roy Orbison Jr. has made the full recording of 'The Last Concert' available for download, exclusively at iTunes on December 2, 2008.

Roy Orbison The Last Concert - Track List
1. Only the Lonely 4:32
2. Leah 3:16
3. Dream Baby 2:56
4. In Dreams 3:28
5. Mean Woman Blues 3:17
6. Blue Bayou 3:27
7. Candyman 3:45
8. Crying 5:43
9. Ooby Dooby 5:57
10. Go, Go, Go (Down the Line) 5:52
11. It's Over 3:29
12. Working For the Man 1:50
13. Lana 2:48
14. Oh, Pretty Woman 5:22

Monument/Orbison Records/Legacy Recordings released the 'The Soul Of Rock And Roll' earlier this fall to honor the profoundly influential American singer, songwriter and performer Roy Orbison. A four-disc anthology of Orbison's career, the set presents 107 seminal recordings -- including demos, live recordings and 12 previously unreleased cuts.

Relevant Links:

Official Roy Orbison website

Roy Orbison: The Last Concert - Purchase

  • Mel

    I love Roy Orbison. This is definitely a piece of history I would invest in.

    Too ironic though, that I was randomly watching “Blue Velvet” and loving “In Dreams.” The scene with that song — together is incredible!

  • Charles W

    What a great interview with the greatest singer of all time!

  • Greg Mathwick

    This is something that I’d hoped would be available because I attended that show. Roy still had the pipes and showed no signs of slowing down.
    About the track list, there is a glaring omission and that is the final performance of Running Scared. He always ended with this song and he would come back and reprise the ending like an encore, and he would take it an octave higher for just an unbelievable finish. That is really what’s missing here. You had to hear it!

  • Matt Wardlaw

    Mel – I forgot about your shared love of Orbison.

    Charles – ain’t it?

    Greg – Interesting note…thanks for sharing it. I’ve also seen that allegedly he played You Got It at this show. Do you remember that?

    That note about Running Scared does indeed sound unbelievable….always hate when stuff gets omitted from a release.

    Supposing that the source for this might have been a cassette recording (just guessing, with the time period) I guess it is possible that Running Scared wasn’t recorded.

    I haven’t picked this up just yet, so all I can do is guess. Looking forward to hearing this one, for sure!!

  • blum

    He should have sang 'You Got It'

  • Matt

    I agree. Bummer of an omission!

  • blum

    He should have sang 'You Got It'

  • Matt

    I agree. Bummer of an omission!

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  • David Shoenfelt

    I was there, too. Did you save your ticket stub? I took pictures. e-mail me – maybe you're in one of them.

  • Matt

    David – this show is coming out on CD (no longer just a download) – do you have a ticket stub scan? Also, if you would want to share your pix, I'd post a few of 'em up here… email me at mattwardlawATgmailDOTcom.

  • Rod_bebenek

    Is There a possibility of The concert being on DVD release? or any concerts that maybe the last concert of Roys around 1988 so we would stop and remember what truly was great music

  • zlango

    Thanks for the awesome posting. I’ve subscribed to RSS. BTW which theme are you using on this blog? Looks great :)

  • Matt Wardlaw

    Thanks for the good words…it’s a theme called Lightword –

    I like it because it’s nice and clean. Maybe someday I’ll even have a proper logo. Fingers crossed!

  • Matt

    haven’t ever heard of a DVD and I doubt this was filmed, but who knows? A Black and White Night has been reissued on both DVD and Blu-ray within the past few years…

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Bud. this may go down as Mr. Orbison’s last ‘recorded’ concert,,,but his final concert performance was at the Channel in Boston AFTER this one. he flew home and died less than 12 hours later. Go Browns

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, Bud. this may go down as Mr. Orbison’s last ‘recorded’ concert,,,but his final concert performance was at the Channel in Boston AFTER this one. he flew home and died less than 12 hours later. Go Browns

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