Brian Setzer capped the most successful tour of his solo career with a luau-themed party Saturday night at the near-full Greek, the second of two nights at the Griffith Park site, where the former Stray Cats leader and his big band celebrated one of the biggest, if not most unlikely, comebacks of the ’90s.
Opener “Let’s Live It Up” (also the name of the tour), from Setzer’s platinum-plus 1998 Interscope album “The Dirty Boogie,” set the no-holds-barred tone for the evening.
The guitarist-vocalist and his snap 17-piece orchestra (reeds on the left, horns on the right) then train-rolled through a satisfying set of rocking originals, such as “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof”; classics such as Santa & Johnny’s 1959 No. 1 instrumental “Sleep Walk” and encore “Mack the Knife”; and souped-up versions of Stray Cats hits “Stray Cat Strut” and “Rumble in Brighton,” which featured a nifty lead-and-follow between Setzer’s fiery guitar and the playful horn section.
Show was a bit too similar to last summer’s appearance at the same venue (though where was Gwen Stefani to sing “You’re the Boss” this time?), and Setzer’s bragging about the two Grammy Awards was a bit off-putting. But the musician, whose career appeared permanently in the dumper early this decade, looks to the next one having cashed in, after an inauspicious restart in 1994, on his second chance at success.
Colorful confetti rained on the musicians and the crowd at show’s finish as the beaming Setzer stood at the edge of the stage and soaked up the well-earned cheers. His long tour, which began last summer, closes this weekend with a three-night stand at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.