Sometimes you wait a long time to see an artist and you wish you had kept waiting, but Brian Setzer is one of those artists that you wait for, hoping they’ll be as good as you imagine, and they blow your mind. This show was 90 minutes of pure, musical joy.
Setzer’s stage was an explosion of Christmas cheer with trombones stage left, trumpets stage right, a beautiful piano towards the center and an incredible gold stand up bass holding up the rear.
Setzer started the show with “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” moving into “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and then into “Hoodoo Voodoo Doll.” Of course, he sprinkled the setlist with Stray Cats songs; however right when I thought I knew where the journey was leading us, Setzer broke out with Glenn Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman.” Brian sounded so great, and “Wichita Lineman” showcased how beautiful his voice really is. It was so amazing that I had to sit down.
I thought it was a nice touch when he played “Runnin’ Down A Dream” by Tom Petty. Yes, it’s a great song and given Petty’s death, it just seemed like the right thing to do. Later in the show, the orchestra and backup singers left the stage, leaving Brian Setzer on vocal and lead guitar, Janick Lafreniere on piano, John Hatton on bass, and Daniel Glass on drums. That’s when all hell broke loose, with fast-paced, hard-hitting Rockabilly filling the air.
There was so much Rockabilly, I expected the strings and keys to spontaneously combust!
Thankfully Setzer slowed the pace with the “Nutcracker Suite” in the encore so that we could catch our breath and drive home.