Chuck Leavell - keyboards; Kenny Aaronson - bass; David Prater - drums; Tommy Burns - guitar; Brian Setzer - vocals, guitar
Brian Setzer came to fame as the leader and frontman for '80s rockabilly band, the Stray Cats. And though Setzer would dip back into the world a number of times with more than one Stray Cats reunion, he initially strayed quite far from that musical style when the Cats first split in 1984 and he went solo.
This recording, done for the King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1986, came in conjunction with the tour to promote Setzer's first solo album, The Knife Feels Like Justice. Musically, Setzer wanted to embrace the Americana rock scene, and emerge as a modern-day Springsteen or Mellencamp. It wasn't meant to be, and despite the fact that Setzer had some great songs ("Maria," which was featured in this show, was actually co-written with Steve Van Zandt from the E Street Band), radio refused to accept him outside of the Stray Cats persona. Still, Setzer gives a spirited performance here, focusing mostly on material from The Knife Feels Like Justice. "Bobby's Back," "Something's Wrong With My Radio," "Breath of Life," "Chains Around Your Heart," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," and the aforementioned "Maria," are show highlights. Setzer, does, however, treat fans to a taste of his previous glory days with energized versions of "Stray Cat Strut," and "Rock This Town."
For this tour he assembled a crack band that included NY bassist Kenny Aaronson (formerly of the hard rock band, Dust); keyboardist Chuck Leavell (longtime touring member of The Rolling Stones, and ex Allman Brothers and Sea Level member); ex-Baby Grand and Nona Hendryx bassist David Prater on drums; and guitar hero Tommy Burns. Setzer would struggle through a few more solo albums before hitting gold again with another retro project, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, a horn-driven big band outfit that fused the influences of Louis Prima and Eddie Cochran.
In the last decade, Setzer has bounced back and forth between tours for the BS Orchestra, the reformed Stray Cats, and a popular rockin' Christmas project.