Brian Setzer's Orchestra swings into Clearwater to Rock Christmas

Brian Setzer’s Orchestra swings into Clearwater to Rock Christmas

That Stray Cat Brian Setzer has been bringing his sold-out Christmas show around the country for the last 14 holiday seasons!  A 16-piece orchestra along with background singers, they give the audience a modern-day variety show with a 50’s feel.  In the holiday season of traditional shows, Setzer fills a niche for the rock and roll Christmas show with some traditional touches. The Ruth Eckerd Hall stage was decorated with lighted trees, snowmen and a life-size Santa Claus.  You know walking into the theatre that this is gonna be a fun evening!

Setzer stepped onstage in pinstripes and a perfect pompadour.  He looks and sounds as youthful as he did in a Stray Cats video from the 80’s. Brian is an avid guitar collector and peer respected player.  He endorses Gretsch guitars and there are a few showed off in this show.  In particular, a rousing version of “The Christmas Song” with just Setzer and the sound of his guitar which was impeccable to the ear.

Ruth Eckerd HallA setlist including Christmas tunes, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Boogie Woogie Christmas”, rockabilly, “Stray Cat Strut” and cover tunes from the Glenn Miller Orchestra to Gene Autry, there is something for everyone and that’s a good thing, since his audience ranges from families to eighty-somethings and the MTV generation in between. Setzer doesn’t do this alone, his orchestra is top of the heap! A great horn section, stand–up bass, drums and various percussion instruments.  The orchestra entertains with antics of twirling and weight-lifting their horns, the audience eating it up.  Setzer gives everyone in his orchestra a chance to shine with solos.

Ruth Eckerd Hall Live MusicThere are audience sing-alongs as well as Setzer’s beautiful tributes to Glen Campbell with “Wichita Lineman” and then to rocker Tom Petty honoring “Running Down a Dream” with perfection.  Mid-show the orchestra leaves the stage for Setzer to rock out ala Stray Cats with ditties “I Got a Rocket in My Pocket” and “Fishnet Stockings” bringing it to that big hit “Rock this Town” which has everyone on their feet!

Give yourself a gift this holiday season and catch this wonderful show as Setzer’s Orchestra travels around the country bringing some rock and roll cheer! Check out for tour dates and more!

photos by Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography

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