By the Way

There are about a million ways to sing a Christmas songs. This way is one of the best

The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th Annual Christmas Rocks tour hit the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 8 p.m. on Friday.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 14th Annual Christmas Rocks tour hit the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino at 8 p.m. on Friday. Courtesy Brian Setzer

There are so many ways to do a Christmas song. The gamut runs from traditional renditions to religious to country and hip-hop like the Run DMC classic “Christmas in Hollis.”

But no one plays a Christmas song quite like The Brian Setzer Orchestra. BSO are playing a two-night show at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Tickets are still available to Saturday’s show. They can be found at Ticketmaster.com.

Setzer rocked around the Christmas tree, literally, during Friday’s show at the Beau. Backed by an 18-piece band, including two backup singers, a stand up- bass player (the excellent Johnny Hatton), and several horn players, the founding member of the Stray Cats ripped though standards such as “Pennsylvania-6500,” as well as BSO original material, “Stray Cat Strut” and the band’s 1998 re-imagining of “Jump Jive and Wail.”

There were also several Christmas songs peppered throughout the set, including “Jingle Bells,” which was the spark that lit the Christmas tour fire. But as lively as “Jingle Bells” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” were, it was the subtle orchestra-less “The Christmas Song” that really shined. Setzer, who is an outstanding guitarist, really made his Gretsch G6120SH sing during the solo section.

Setzer also brought Hatton, drummer Noah Levy and pianist Kevin McKendree to the front of the stage for a rockabilly romp that included Stray Cats classics such as “Fishnet Stockings” and “Rock This Town,” which saw the return of the entire BSO to the stage.

But the true highlights of the show weren’t Christmas numbers or songs from the Stray Cats catalog but tributes to fallen musical heroes Glen Campbell and Tom Petty, both of whom died this year. The BSO made the Al De Lory-produced Campbell hit “Wichita Lineman” sound as rich a the original production. And if you haven’t heard Setzer and the band rip through Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream,” the by all means, check out Saturday’s show at the Beau.

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