Roy Orbison Reborn returns to Ireland – in Limerick this weekend

In his 35 years in the business, Roy Orbison (the Big O) released over 60 singles — singer Dean Bourne chats to Limerick Post about meeting Roy’s son, Orbi, and the lasting legacy of Orbison’s music

DEAN Bourne brings the essence of Roy Orbison to life on his Irish tour this April, coming to University Concert Hall on Friday April 12, performing all the classics that will transport audiences to the great rock n roll era with hit after massive hit.

Internationally renowned Dean Bourne has been described as having “The Spirit Of Roy Orbison” within him, as he performs Orbison’s iconic hits such Pretty Woman, Crying, Dream Baby, Leah, Penny Arcade, Danny Boy, Only The Lonely, In Dreams, Candy Man, You Got It, Running Scared and many many more.

Dean told Limerick Post this week that he grew up in a very musical house in Australia, his father was a singer, his mother played piano and his home was filled with the music of the 50’s and 60’s. Dean started entering talent competitions singing Roy Orbison songs at just 13 years old 

“I would sing Roy’s songs and it would be quite a common thing for people to say, Geez, you sound a lot like Roy Orbison. From there it just snowballed, you know.”

In 1997 Dean won a show called ‘Follow that Dream’ singing as Orbison and he hasn’t looked back since.

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“For 25 years it was just a magic ride, something that I’ve never ever taken for granted.”

Roy Orbison’s music was described by critics as operatic earning him the nickname ‘The Big O’!   Many of Orbison’s songs conveyed vulnerability at a time when most male rock-and-roll performers projected machismo. 

During the 60’s and 70’s when so few American artists came to Ireland, Roy Orbison became one of Ireland’s most popular touring artists, so much so that one of his shows was shut down by Gardai for safety reasons!.”

Roy was one of the few Americans who came here.

Dean adds, “Roy visited Ireland quite often. He loved it there and he’s very, very popular. I remember the first year I brought my show to Ireland and I made some wonderful friends, people that I still keep in contact with today.

“We’re hopping on a plane on Friday and heading over there for a month and my beautiful wife is with me and we’re just really really looking forward to it.”

Roy became one of the most influential pop stars of all time across multiple generations.  His relationship with Bruce Springsteen brought him to a new young audience and being part of the Travelling Wilburys with Tom Petty, George Harrison and Bob Dylan earned him iconic status.

In his career, Roy Orbison made 27 studio albums, four live albums, and over 60 singles, 22 of which placed in the U.S. Billboard Top 40. Where does Dean see Roy Orbison in the pantheon of music stars like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash?

“Roy is right up there, he passed away in 1988 (aged just 52), had his first hit ‘Only The Lonely’ in 1960 but started recording in the mid 50’s. And we’re still talking about this man now. I don’t think there’ll be many artists 50 or 60 years down the track that we will still be talking about,  but Roy is right up there with the greatest singer songwriters of all time.” 

Dean Bourne

Dean Bourne is celebrating his 24th Anniversary performing and paying tribute to The Big O.

The Aussie singer got to meet Alex Orbison (Roy’s son also known as Orbi, a drummer, writer, director, and film producer) only last week in Sydney.

“I’ve been talking to Alex for quite a few years now and it was very surreal. He’s a lovely man, very humble and he’s quite funny. From what I know, Roy was quite a funny guy as well. And that’s just exactly how Alex was. It was a real pleasure to meet Alex, I think he’s a lot like his dad.”

A special highlight in the show will see Dean Bourne showcase and celebrate the magical hits of The Travelling Wilburys with massive hits such as Not Alone Anymore, Handle With Care and more of their timeless records.

“Yes, the Wilburys, they all loved him. I remember a story Jeff Lynn told about going to Anaheim (California) and watching Roy perform and he said, we all went crazy, just like everyone else. He was just very special and admired by the best in the business and that says a lot about Roy and how exceptional he was.”

During Covid when touring for artists stopped, Dean worked as a prison driver, driving the bus for convicts between court appearances and work routines just like in the Roy Orbison Song “Workin’ For The Man’!

Dean Byrne is by far the nearest thing to the real Roy Orbison that is possible to imagine with his soaring falsetto vocals and indeed his genuine visual likeness to the legendary artist. 

Having promoted shows for over 50 years Pat Egan says: “Every night of the tour I stood at the back of the hall mesmerised by the brilliance of Dean’s recreation of the Orbison legacy, the very best tribute act I have been fortunate to promote