Billy Strings returned to The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on Saturday for night three of his Deja Tu: Return To The Experiment run.
The lore behind Strings’ (real name William Apostol) “experiment” harkens back to the Grateful Dead and its iconic six-show run at The Cap in February 1971 where a psychosomatic medicine doctor, Dr. Stanley Krippner, introduced an ESP dream experiment to the band and its fans. During a series of livestream-only shows from the venue in 2021, Strings invited his virtual audience to participate in a similar experiment and compelled them to telepathically transmit a given image to a guest “receiver” in a separate location. Though unsuccessful, Apostol and his band decided to try again, this time with an in-person audience. After trying to link minds with Béla Fleck on Thursday (2/3) and his mother Debra Apostol on Friday (2/4), Strings selected Les Claypool to serve as the guest “receiver” for Saturday’s image, a horse smoking a joint.
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While the experiment would once again prove unsuccessful, Billy Strings (guitar/vocals), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Billy Failing (banjo), and Royal Masat (upright bass) still managed to channel the spirit of the Dead throughout the evening. After opening with a couple of originals, “Red Daisy” and “Thirst Mutilator”, the quartet leaned into the cover-heavy first set with Bill Monroe‘s “A Good Woman’s Love”. The 11-song first frame saw Billy Strings pull from the catalogs of Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, John Hartford, The Monkees, and even the Grateful Dead, placing a well-timed “China Doll” midway through.
Following a set-ending original, “Everything’s The Same”, Strings and company returned for a more jam-heavy second offering. The band opened with Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs‘ “Doin’ My Time”, which set up an expansive “Running”. The escapism of “Running” saw the group put its wanderlust on full display before eventually finding a home in “Ice Bridges”. Stretched out tellings of “In The Morning Light” and “Meet Me At The Creek” comprised the meat of set two and preceded a traditional cover of “Shady Grove”. Before the night would end, Apostol dipped into the Dead-adjacent catalog once more, taking Jerry Garcia‘s “Deal” for a ride. A short encore break then saw Strings, Failing, Walker, and Masat return for one more, a rendition of Flatt and Scruggs’ “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down”.
Check out a selection of videos from the show below and scroll down for a detailed setlist.
Billy Strings will wrap up the Deja Tu: Return to the Experiment tonight, Sunday, February 6th. You can tune in to a livestream of the festivities via FANS here. For a full list of upcoming Billy Strings tour dates, head here.
Billy Strings – “Red Daisy” – 2/5/22
Billy Strings – “Doin’ My Time” (Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs) – 2/5/22
Billy Strings – “Meet Me At The Creek” – 2/5/22
[Video: Pamela Young]
Billy Strings – “Shady Grove” (Traditional) – 2/5/22
[Video: Matt Frazier]
Setlist: Billy Strings | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 2/5/22
Set One: Red Daisy, Thirst Mutilator, A Good Woman’s Love (Bill Monroe), A Robin Built A Nest On Daddy’s Grave (The Stanley Brothers), While I’m Waiting Here, Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson) > Little Maggie (Traditional), China Doll (Grateful Dead) > I’m Still Here (John Hartford), Last Train to Clarksville (The Monkees), Everything’s The Same
Set Two: Doin’ My Time (Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs), Running > Ice Bridges, In The Morning Light, Meet Me At The Creek, Shady Grove (Traditional), Deal (Jerry Garcia)
Encore: Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down (Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs)
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