The Last Concert: December 4, 1988

Roy Orbison

Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Roy Orbison brought his stage act to Highland Heights in Akron Ohio on December 4, 1988. His final song that night was his classic number one hit “Oh, Pretty Woman” Two days later, he was dead of a heart attack at age 52.

Roy Orbison: The Last Concert has finally been officially released on CD. It was briefly available two years ago on iTunes to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death but quickly disappeared.

Orbison remains a musical legend, and fittingly, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by Bruce Springsteen in 1987. He spent most of his early career as part of the Sun label roster of artists, which included Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. His greatest fame occurred while recording for the Monument Label, 1960-1964, where songs such as “Running Scared,” “Crying,” “Only The Lonely,” “Mean Woman Blues,” “In Dreams,” “Blue Angel,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman” established one of the lasting legacies in American popular music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

His popularity waned when he switched to The MGM label during 1965. It was not until the mid-‘80s that he began his comeback. His concerts were selling out again, and he earned new fans as a part of the Traveling Wilbury’s. His album, Mystery Girl, released several months after his death was his highest charting and biggest selling, reaching number five on Billboard Magazine’s album charts and attaining platinum status for sales in both the United States and Canada.

If Orbison had planned this performance to be his last, he probably could not have done a better job. In this setlist, he serves up a generous helping of his hits, plus a few welcome surprises. My only complaint is that although he did perform his number one hit “Running Scared” that evening, it is not among the fourteen tracts included here. Still, what is featured presents him at his best.

“Only The Lonely,” “Dream Baby,” “Crying,” “In Dreams,” “It’s Over,” “Mean Woman Blues,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman” all reached the American top ten during the first half of the 1960’s. He pays homage to his early career with “Ooby Dooby” and “Go Go Go (Down The Line).”  My favorite songs were the back-to-back performances of “Working For The Man” and “Lana.”

Roy Orbison’s stunning voice remained intact to the very end as this performance demonstrates, and the mix puts it up front where it belongs. As such, The Last Concert ends up being a nostalgic and poignant treat for any fan of Roy Orbison.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2010 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Eagle Rock Entertainment, and is used for informational purposes only.