Billy Strings arrived in Madison, WI on Thursday night to kick off a sold-out, three-night run at The Sylvee with guest fiddler Alex Hargreaves in tow for the entire performance.
The prodigious bluegrass guitarist and his eponymous outfit—rounded out by Billy Failing (banjo), Royal Masat (bass), and Jarrod Walker (mandolin)—took their time getting acquainted with the Wisconsin crowd on night one, even pushing the limits of the venue’s curfew with an extended encore.
While Hargreaves is known for his improvisational abilities—which were put to the test on live Billy favorites like “Hide and Seek”, John Hartford‘s “All Fall Down”, Frank Wakefield‘s “End of the Rainbow”, “Home”, “Away From The Mire”, and a “First Tube”-infused “Fire On My Tongue”—the setlist developed a “jukebox” nature as Strings and company played through a whopping 28 total songs of which 14 were covers. This marked the most total songs played during a Billy Strings show since his Renewal album release festival in Buena Vista, CO back in September of last year.
Of particular note, the Thursday night show in Madison also featured the Billy Strings debut of Béla Fleck‘s “Tentacle Dragon (Revenge of the)”, one of the My Bluegrass Heart tracks on which the young picker is featured.
The five-piece still had plenty left in the tank upon returning or an encore. In quick succession, they rattled off not one, not two, not three, but seven more songs—all of them covers or traditional tunes—to squeeze every last second out of the Thursday night performance.
Check out a gallery of photos from night one of Billy Strings with special guest Alex Hargreaves at The Sylvee in Madison, WI below courtesy of photographer Daniel Ojeda.
Billy Strings returns to The Sylvee on Friday and Saturday night to round out his Madison run. For a full list of upcoming Billy Strings tour dates, head here.
Listen to a full soundboard audio recording of the 3/3/22 show via nugs.net.
Setlist [via Billy Base]: Billy Strings | The Sylvee | Madison, WI | 3/3/22 | Photos: Daniel Ojeda
Set One: Hide & Seek, Wharf Rat (Grateful Dead) > All Fall Down (John Hartford)*, Hellbender, End Of The Rainbow (Frank Wakefield) > Running The Route, Home, Tennessee Stud (Jimmie Driftwood), The Fire On My Tongue^ > Sally Goodin (AC ‘Eck’ Robertson)
Set Two: Doin’ My Time (Jimmie Skinner), On The Line > Train 45 (Traditional), Red Rocking Chair, Love & Regret, Hollow Heart Tentacle Dragon (Revenge Of The) (Béla Fleck)#, Dust In A Baggie, Show Me The Door, Likes Of Me (Jerry Reed), Away From The Mire
Encore: Am I Born To Die? (Charles Wesley), Way Downtown (Traditional), Cocaine Blues (T. J. “Red” Arnall), Shady Grove (Traditional), Down Yonder (L. Wolfe Gilbert), Summertime (Geoge & Ira Gershwin), Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Traditional)
*Featuring Death Trip tease
^Featuring First Tube teases
#First time played
Full show featuring Alex Hargreaves on fiddle