King of Swing Pays Visit to Palace"

By Jason Koerner

It seems that even Brian Setzer himself was amazed with the beauty of a jam- packed Palace Theater on this day after Thanksgiving. He even wore his best leopard-skin outfit for the occasion, separating him from the sixteen other band members, all matching in their more retro blue-green suits. A handful of lucky swingers complimented Setzer's music with dance, while the rest of us envied them their talent and closeness to the stage. Even the horn sections had choreographed moves that sent "oohs" and "ahhs" to the crowd! Almost twenty tunes were fiercely pumped out through the night, with few pauses in-between. The longest breaks the band got were between encores! Every section had their time to shine, but there were frequent solos from the tenor sax player, and of course; Setzer himself.

This concert was impossible to leave not feeling good. It even temporarily erased the bad memory of my speeding ticket I received two nights before! Halfway through the show, Setzer said "I gotta give these cats a break! Here's a slow one." A cover of "Since I Don't Have You" followed. This was the last break in action the band would see for the rest of the night.

With upbeat such songs as "Let the Good Times Roll,""Let's Live It Up" and "Jump, Jive, and Wail," the crowd was on its feet with no choice but to dance in the aisles. He even did a little "finger-pickin'" for us Kentucky folk! The show never lost its high energy, and, between playing, singing, and conducting his orchestra Setzer never had a moment to breathe. His confidence showed as he made it look so easy and fun.

There is always a sing-a-long at every good concert, and this was no exception. "Dirty Boogie" was the reply of the crowd when asked by Setzer "What's it called?" All were on their feet once again for the "Stray Cat Strut" (which later turned into a rendition of the famous Pink Panther theme). The bass player strutted his stuff in a super-fast slap solo that left the audiences' ears confused. At the request of a trumpet player, the horns all came to the front of the stage and played a little Mambo music in the form of "Tequila."

Setzer also knew how to push the right buttons with the audience by changing some lyrics to say there was a "Rumble in Kentucky Tonight." This closed the first set and instigated heavy cheering from the crowd to get him back for some more swing. He cordially obliged.

Returning in a tank top, he was ready for action in the encore session saying, "Here we go again!" as he wailed another solo for us. As he was "rocking the town," his featured players were showing off their soloing skills. While we thought we had seen the last of the bass player, he resurfaced in this song to challenge Setzer front and center! Mimicking the pose of a guitar player, he turned his six-foot-tall string bass sideways and continued playing, only to get lower and lower to the ground! Of course, Brian accepted the challenge, and they both sounded great competing against one another. A second encore followed, and the show ended on a high note as expected, with a standing O. I caught a glimpse of Setzer in the alley leaving the show but was not fortunate enough to get to speak with him. The "King of Swing" had left the building.