Christmas comes early for the be-bopping fans of the Orlando Metropolitan area, with the 14th annual installment of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, “Christmas Rocks” tour.

“BIG” just does not seem to be a large enough word to describe The Brian Setzer Orchestra‘s 2017, “Christmas Rocks” lineup.  With a current lineup consisting of nineteen plus seasoned orchestral musicians, that are lead by none other than the godfather of rockabilly himself, Brian Setzer.  This crew came to “Rock this Town” with all of the holiday goodies to please even the grinchiest of grinches!

The stage of the Hard Rock Live Orlando, the largest in the venue chain, is set with a massive holiday ensemble to accommodate the sheer size of the evenings headlining act.  Shortly before 9pm, house lights dim and the crowd goes silent as sparkly clad silhouettes shuffle onto the stage from both sides and take their places.  Fans quickly realize that these are orchestra members and begin to applaud as the troop takes to their posts.  Applause turns to cheer as the main stage is illuminated, and Brian Setzer walks from stage left to address the crowd.  Hands graciously outstretched, showing gratitude as a sold-out house comes to a standing ovation to welcome him and his entourage to Orlando, Florida.

Setzer cordially addresses his fans as he straps a classic, candy apple red Gretsch guitar to his shoulder.  His brass section then belts out the opening notes to the Glen Miller classic “Pensylvania 65000,” and this holiday hoe-down is off and running.  The crowd instantly responds to the bands opening lines with toe-tapping harmony and singing right along with Setzer as he croons the tunes famous chorus line, “Pensylvania six five oh oh ohh!”  

Beginning with the opening number, the orchestra members take turns rotating through the spotlight, with each song featuring a surprise solo moment by a different bandmate.  Of course, Brian Setzer is not shy and takes a moment to appease guitar fans, Gretsch heads, and git picking geeks with his mind-blowing fretwork.  He occasionally pauses for a guitar swap throughout the evening (each new guitar appears more vibrant and sparkling than the last.)

 The Brian Setzer Orchestra took the mesmerized crowd through fifteen, high energy, jump-jiving classics that included Christmas standards, Orchestra originals, and, of course, some Stray Cat surprises.  Fans were treated to “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree,” “Hoodoo Voodoo Doll,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and a blistering guitar performance on “The Dirty Boogie.”  Brian Setzer Orchestra longtime bassist, Johnny Hatton, and drummer, Daniel Glass, were right on the money and kept the rhythm train chugging right on track.  Throughout the evening’s performance, crowd members could be seen spinning, bopping and jiving with their associates, ala 50’s style sock hop.  

As the holiday hoedown pressed into the night, a whopping 17 song setlist is followed by a stunning encore of the Christmas classic, “The Nutcracker Suite.”  The show closes with a cheery version of the James Lord Pierpont cover, “Jingle Bells.”  Concert-goers, rockabilly rangers, and good old-fashioned Christmas music lovers will concur:  a ticket purchase to the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s “Christmas Rocks” show is worth every penny and will leave you a lasting holiday memory. 

The Brian Setzer Orchestra
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Hard Rock Live
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Event Date: 30-NOV-2017