The Brian Setzer Orchestra Live In Japan
Image Entertainment DVD

He may have gained a little weight since his decade with the Stray Cats, but Brian Setzer is still looking sharp and he's enjoying this gig tremendously. The man really shines on stage, and what a performer he is! Shivers will roll up and down your spine from the moment you hear the swinging opener "Hawaii 5-0" in superb Digital Theater Sound. Magnificent photography too. The joyful horn section, the beautiful femal chorus singers, great drums and slapping bass, and of course Brian himself, all put up a heck of a show. The house is packed with Japanese quiffs and ducktails and everybody, including the guys on stage, is having the time of their lives. The combination of big band music and true fifties rockabilly turns out to be a great find, and Brian's magic fingers on the lead guitar mix in fabulous with the trumpets, the trombones and the saxes. Each and every member of the band is an artist in the truest sense of the word, and also the showgirls are a feast for your eyes and ears.

After watching and listening to this show about a dozen times, I still can't get enough, the combination of showmanship and the best sound you ever heard will get every cool cat hot. A grandeur repertoire is presented to you, which includes "This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof", "The Dirty Boogie", "The Footloose Doll", "Drive Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder" and the awesome instrumental "Caravan". Then Brian does "I Won't Stand In Your Way" completely solo, while the band gets a chance to smoke a cigarette, and after this song, only the drummer and the upright bass player return on stage for a set of Stray Cats style rockabilly music. Warming you up with Elvis' version of "Mystery Train", followed by the Stray Cats' tribute to original masters of rockabilly "Gene & Eddie".

Brian proves to be a master on the guitar by showing off his skills with Merle Travis' "Guitar Rag" and Santo & Johnny's "Sleepwalk". Then the hornsection is invited back in, and everybody goes wild with the classic "Stray Cat Strut", followed by "Jump, Jive An' Wail", "Pennsylvania 6-5000" and "In The Mood". While the band leaves the stage, the audience is hollering for an encore. Of course the guys are willing to do some more, and last but not least, the big band song "Get Me To Church On Time" is followed by the Stray Cats' biggest hit "Rock This Town", which is re-arranged by Brain for big band and guitar, and it's absolutely great, with all bandmembers going nuts, swinging and handclapping while Brian does his guitar magic. What a show!

As a bonus, the set is followed by another live recording of "Rock This Town" by Brian's 68 Comeback Special, this time in the original rockabilly style. The audio on the disc is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 as well as 2.0 and in Digital Theater Sound. The film is presented in Widescreen Aspect Ratio, enhanced for 16:9 TVs. Under "Extra" you will find a short documentary of the tour, commented by Brian. The package also comes with a 12 page booklet, which includes all the lyrics of the performed songs. This really is a super production; great sound, great show, great package. You just can't lose!

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Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2002