Monday, December 18, 2006
There was a bit of irony going to the Gibson Amphitheatre to see Brian Setzer due to the fact that Brian has supported Gretsch guitars for years. I never pass on an opportunity to see Brian Setzer because he puts on a spectacular show. The first time I attended a Brian Setzer Orchestra show was maybe 5 years ago at the Greek Theatre with Joe Strummer(R.I.P) opening. I was completely blown away by what an amazing guitarist Brian is. His annual Christmas show is always a treat and has been a Christmas ritual just like KROQ Acoustic Christmas. Another reason I was excited for this show was I had managed to secure pit tickets and was hoping to get some good pictures. Hillbilly Casino for Nashville opened the show with a rollicking brand of rockabilly/punk vwith fast songs and equally fast guitar licks. They had the traditional stand up Bass player who was rocking out pretty hard along with a blazing fast guitarist with a sweet collection of Gretsch guitars,a Fender amp, and a Roland Space Echo. The band also thanked Brian Setzer for opening as they mentioned they were an unsigned band. Brian was up next and really got the crowd going early. The stage was packed with his whole orchestra, 2 back up singers, christmas trees, snowmen, and a sundry of other Christmas objects. The back drop of the set would also change every 5 songs with different album covers of his Christmas albums. Some of the highlights included "Jump, JIve, an' Wail", "Rock This Town", "Stray Cat Strut", "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" and the Grammy nominated "Favorite Things". Brian shredded on his beautiful sparkle blue Gretsch guitar and made it look effortless. He also thanked everyone for coming out to "Gretsch Amphitheatre". Brian also gives his orchestra a break midway thru the set and jams with his stand up Bass player and his drummer rocking a 2 piece drum set as a curtain falls with a back drop of a city behind him. They played a shredding version of "Fishnet Stockings". Another display of Brian's talent was when he played "Nutcraker Suite". Brian had the sheet music on the stand and would flip the music over as he was playing along with the tune....impressive!! The Grinch also made an appearence during the set and teased the audience with the first few notes of "Rock Lobster" of B-52's fame. Unfortunately, all the Christmas songs reminded me that I have to go shopping for presents.