We have seen Brian Setzer on his own and with The Stray Cats but never with his Orchestra and never with his Christmas show.
Being in Los Angeles at Christmas gave us the opportunity to experience the "Christmas Rocks! Tour".

Security was tight at the Theatre, with bags searches creating lengthy queues.

Once inside, there was a section of the lobby with Brian Setzer's guitars. The public could try these and have their photos taken, but the queue for that was really long so we had to pass on that one.

The minute Brian Setzer walked on the stage, the crowd were on their feet cheering and the majority remained standing for the whole show.

The show was really fantastic, and works with the Big Band. Full on energy, high octane performance great sound, and a really up for it audience - all ingredients that produced a fabulous show. No wonder these Christmas shows sell out.

Brian Setzer sure knows how to rock and bring everyone along with him. The set was a mixture of Christmas songs, covers and Stray Cats numbers and the encore with the Nut Cracker Suite was something else which the crowd went wild about.

The Set List
Dig That Crazy Santa Claus
Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Gettin' in the Mood (For Christmas)
Stray Cat Strut
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus
Gene and Eddie
Angels We Have Heard on High
Runaway Boys
Jump, Jive an' Wail
Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
The Dirty Boogie
Hey Bulldog
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Tribute to Roy Clark
Rockabilly Boogie
Ring of Fire
Fishnet Stockings
Rock This Town

Nutcracker Suite
Jingle Bells

BRIAN WILSON - Christmas Show


Friday 21st December 2019

In November 1964, The Beach Boys released their Christmas Album. In November 2018, 54 years later, Brian Wilson took it on the road and the tour reached Orange County on 21st December.

This was a new show for us, having experienced a greatest hits around Pet Sounds Live for the last few years and we were looking forward to it.

The stage was decorated all Christmassy and the venue was pretty full. with a few odd empty seats. We had first row seats on the first tier balcony....... high enough to not have heads in the way and also not too far back from the stage.

There was no messing about as Brian and his band took to the stage and started immediately with Side 1, Track 1.

Brian was middle centre, behind a white Baby Grand, and seemed to be on form tonight, contributing to the vocals.

The main vocals seemed to come from new addition to the band, and son-in-law Rob Bonfiglio who delivered superb falsetto and lead vocals across the whole show. He did not dominate the stage, but there was something electric about him that drew your eye to him, be it his voice, his little shimmys, the way he played the sleigh bells or just his obvious enthusiasm for being up there. That enthusiasm had also rippled through the rest of the band, who had a good mood and vibe about them, and were much more energised and together versus some of the shows we had caught over the last couple of years where delivering Pet Sounds (again) had seemed to have signs of the band just going through the motions to deliver a show.

Al Jardine's voice has remained strong and he is a a formidable force in the band, adding so much harmony to the overall sound.

After the last track of side 2, we got some more Christmas songs, taken from Brian Wilson's own solo Christmas album and other Beach Boys recordings, before the finale was built up with some of the hits.
Blondie Chaplin got his spot with a superb version of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run". He was on fire tonight and had spotted a blonde lady in one of the boxes to the side of the auditorium and he spent the rest of the show flirting with her!!

During "Good Vibrations", The Beeb made his contribution to the show from his seat - the "hum de dums" that were added to the Brian Wilson solo SMiLE version. Afterwards we got a message from Probyn saying "That was YOU lot on Good Vibes!! Next time I am calling security". Well, actually it was only The Beeb doing them, but it was funny to know that it had been heard on the stage!!! The guys sitting next to us recognised The Beeb's version,

There was no encore as such  as the band did not leave the stage, but once Fun Fun Fun finished, the band introductions were done, and then we were treated to a superb vocal from Rob Bonfliglio on "White Christmas" before the band gathered around Brian at the piano and sent us on our way with "Auld Lang Syne".
Other Christmas highlights of the show were a jazzy style "Frosty The Snowman", a reggae style "Blue Christmas" with Blondie on lead vocal, and "Winter Symphony".

Some more photos of the band, and then a couple of videos at the end you can check out.

Paul Von Mertens

Al Jardine
Blondie Chaplin

Probyn Gregory

Gary Griffin & Darian Sahanaja

Jim Lespesa

Probyn Gregory

Rob Bonfliglio

Gary Griffin

Darian Sahanaja

Mike D'Amico

End of Fun, Fun, Fun

White Christmas

Auld Lang Syne

The Set List

1. Little Saint Nick
2. The Man With All the Toys
3. Santa's Beard
4. Merry Christmas, Baby
5. Christmas Day
6. Frosty the Snowman
7. We Three Kings of Orient Are
8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
9. I'll Be Home for Christmas (If Only in My Dreams)
10. Blue Christmas
11. Christmasey
12. On Christmas Day
13. Winter Symphony
14. Christmas Time Is Here Again
15. Holy Night
16. Run Rudolph Run
17. Wouldn't It Be Nice
18. Sloop John B
19. God Only Knows
20. Darlin'
21. Sail On, Sailor
22. Good Vibrations
23. Help Me, Rhonda
24. Barbara Ann
25. Surfin' U.S.A.
26. Fun, Fun, Fun
27. White Christmas
28. Auld Lang Syne