My friend Steve was on the sidewalk, taking a break from the drudgery of work and out for a smoke on a 15-degree Monday morning, wearing more of a hang-dog look than usual.
“You don’t have any Brian Setzer tickets, do you?”
“No,” I said, “I decided not to go. Why?”
“I called over there and they just sold out. I was going to take my son. Maybe I’ll just go out there and see if I can get a couple before the show.”
Brian Setzer brought his annual Christmas extravaganza to our town last night, playing the casino ballroom. I highly recommend seeing the show if it comes to your town. I’ve seen it three times, but didn’t feel strongly about seeing it for a fourth time.
Today’s three under the tree are from the Brian Setzer Orchestra, memorable tunes from his past Christmas shows.
“Santa Claus is Back in Town” and “(Everybody’s Waitin’ for) The Man with the Bag,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, from “Boogie Woogie Christmas,” 2002.
On the former, a gritty Leiber-Stoller number that Elvis did so memorably on his 1957 Christmas album, you hear how Setzer’s guitar and the big band play off each other.
The latter is a little more obscure, Setzer’s swinging cover of a tune that was a big hit for Kay Starr in 1950. It’s also been covered by Diana Krall, Vonda Shepard and Lee Ann Womack.
“Angels We Have Heard on High,” the Brian Setzer Orchestra, from “Dig That Crazy Christmas,” 2005.
This traditional song — you know, the one with the “Glo-oooo-oooo-oooo-ria” refrain — is seemingly rarely done by contemporary artists. Setzer and the big band update it in style, wrapping an upbeat but faithful instrumental performance around more traditional, choir-like vocals. It’s exciting to hear it live. People love it.
Enjoy. More to come.
Now, the rest of the story: Steve and his son went out to the casino without tickets and were handed a couple by some friends who couldn’t go. That, folks, is living right. Steve says the show was swell as usual but admits he, too, may be Setzered out after repeated viewings.