The 14th Annual Christmas Tour! featuring Brian Setzer and his 19-piece The Brian Setzer Orchestra has become a yearly holiday tradition selling out shows wherever they perform delighting and entertaining fans of ages. In 2017, the orchestra also celebrated its 25th anniversary. The big band format has a rock and roll edge with a jazz and swing influence.
The three-time GRAMMY-Award winning artist Brian Setzer is an iconic and influential singer/songwriter/guitarist, who in his right, has had an incredibly successful and prolific career from his work in the Stray Cats, two solo albums to Rockabilly Riot to BSO. This year, performing at The Dolby Theater on December 16, the dazzling, colorful show featured music off of BSO’s latest Christmas album, “Rockin’ Rudolph” and music from the orchestra’s previous best-selling holiday albums and original material from Brian Setzer.
The ultimate showman, Brian Setzer is a dynamic, animated and passionate presence onstage. Displaying his many talents, it’s easy to see why Setzer is the consummate entertainer and could be aptly described as a “musician’s musician.” The 19-piece orchestra was equally top notch and outstanding. Though Setzer clearly dominated being the only musician onstage to play lead guitar, and he really is an incredibly hard act to follow even when he was playing just alone. Despite the enormity of his own talent, Setzer is humble and gracious enough to share the spotlight the rest of the orchestra. Setzer let them play individual solos so they could show off their brilliance and virtuosity, which shined as brightly as his.
He also paid a touching and heartfelt tribute to two legendary artists the music industry lost in 2017, performing some songs they are famously known for: Glen Campbell (“Wichita Lineman” written by Jimmy Webb) and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers (“Running Down A Dream”). The former, though sung with a sincere intent, felt a bit flat and seemed out of his vocal range, wasn’t his style at all and didn’t seem like a song he convincingly felt comfortable singing. Maybe Setzer was trying too hard to be reverential and the performance just came off stiff. On the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers song, Setzer absolutely soared and seemed to feel freer, letting himself go and just having a good time and totally rocking out. The same could be said during the joyous and raw rockabilly segment that was pure rock bliss and a lot of fun to hear and watch with the ensuing freewheeling display of physicality onstage.
The 14th Annual Christmas Tour! featuring Brian Setzer and his 19-piece Orchestra both captures the holiday spirit in a unique, imaginative way with a definite musical twist and the original material from Setzer’s catalog rooted in a vintage genre of early rockabilly never gets old and continues to sound exciting and inspired.