Roy Orbison Returns played NoHo’s historic El Portal Theatre with an enthusiastic crowd on hand taking a trip back in time thanks to the great hits of a rock’n’roll legend. The show featured the Orbison lookalike singer Wiley Ray in the spotlight opening the show with the classic “Only the Lonely.” What followed was a litany of songs such as “Candy Man” and “In Dreams,” which built as the staged concert progressed, hitting its stride with “Sweet Dreams.” The perky tunes “Claudette,” “You Got It,” and “Hound Dog Man” were also highlights, along with the biggest hit “Pretty Woman” saved for the end of the show.
It was Orbison’s trademark to wear dark sunglasses and not move from the center-stage microphone. And Wiley Ray delivered the same fixed performance, letting his lively vocals do all the work. It was The Big O Band that delivered the spirited activity on stage, with Ron Labrie on keyboards; Dwight Harrington, lead guitar; Jim Stone, bass guitar; Jackie Marie, congas; and wild Tommy Souza on drums. The group, plus two backup singers, Marushka and Amaris, provided a musical backdrop for Wiley.
It wasn’t a flat-out imitation of Orbison, but an honestly enjoyable tribute to the rockabilly star with the tear in his voice. Wiley has that emotional gravitas which moved the audience with his “Crying (Over You)” and “Blue Bayou.” He also introduced songs with some history and humor. From the early days as a music pioneer, to gigs with the Traveling Wilburys, Orbison’s life was covered and gave fans toe-tapping entertainment thanks to Wiley Ray and The Big O Band.
For upcoming events with Roy Orbison Returns, starring Wiley Ray and The Big O Band, go to www.thebigoband.com.