Now 25 years into its genre-blurring revivalism, the 19-piece Brian Setzer Orchestra sounded as tight as it gets when the latest installment of the “Christmas Rocks!” Tour stopped by a sold out and gorgeously decorated Rialto Square Theatre. And while there was just as much to look at on a stage with a blinged-out bandstand, toy soldiers and trees galore, the true allure of the show was the musicians themselves, especially the esteemed band leader, guitar wizard and former Stray Cats singer.
Along with a stack of sheet music, Brian Setzer Orchestra completely turned “The Nutcracker Suite” upside down and then back around, while spreading additional joy during “Jingle Bells” as Santa tossed out candy canes.
Much of the triple Grammy Award winner’s vast repertoire was on display, including his former band, current ensemble and sounds of the season right up through the most recent “Rockin’ Rudolph” collection. Whether they were “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree,” playing with a “Hoodoo Voodoo Doll” or taking a “Stray Cat Strut,” Brian Setzer Orchestra provided an endless wall of sound over a flashy presentation.Fans of the troupe’s blockbuster album “The Dirty Boogie” (or the original swing era after which it was modeled) got their fix of glistening brass in the title track and “Jump, Jive An’ Wail.” And anyone mourning the loss of country great Glen Campbell or true rock n’ roller Tom Petty were surely touched by proficient editions of “Wichita Lineman” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream” respectively.
On a jazzy note, Setzer turned in “The Christmas Song” all by himself, then brought out a few of the other guys for rockabilly remembrances “Rockabilly Boogie,” “I Got A Rocket In My Pocket” and “Fishnet Stockings.” If it wasn’t a holiday theme, the enduring “Rock This Town” would’ve likely been the finale, but after the main man’s switch from a pinstriped suit to a bright red shirt, it was clear there was more to come.
Along with a stack of sheet music, Brian Setzer Orchestra completely turned “The Nutcracker Suite” upside down and then back around, while spreading additional joy during “Jingle Bells” as Santa tossed out candy canes. The only element missing in the musical winter wonderland was snow, but an indoor flurry fell just in time for the final bows of a cast who keeps on giving with every version of this annual tradition.
Upcoming concert highlights at the Rialto Square Theatre include Natalie Grant & Danny Gokey (Dec. 3); “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (Dec. 8); “It’s A Wonderful Life”: A Radio Drama (Dec. 9); “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” (Dec. 13); Colors Of Christmas (Dec. 15); Dennis Miller (Jan. 12); REO Speedwagon (Jan. 13); 3 Doors Down: “Acoustic Back Porch Jam” (Feb. 10); Classic Albums Live (Feb. 15); Buddy Guy (Mar. 31); Lewis Black: “The Jokes On Us” Tour (Apr. 6) and Home Free (May 3). For additional details, visit RialtoSquare.com and Ticketmaster.com.