Billy Strings brought his 2021 spring tour to a close on Sunday with his third of three shows at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL. The Sunday show once again saw Strings – joined by Billy Failing, Jarrod Walker, and Royal Masat – mix the traditional with the trippy in a genre-bending performance.
The concert began early on Sunday as fans were able to bask in the Alabama sun while Strings lit up “Fire On My Tongue”, an original debuted during the first night of his Deja Vu Experiment run at The Capitol Theatre in February. After that, it was time to get stepping with Doc Watson‘s “Walk On Boy” before The Stanley Brothers‘ “Sharecropper’s Son” and The Country Gentleman‘s “Bringing Mary Home”. During a run through the Turmoil & Tinfoil original “On The Line”, the band’s impending improvisational plans shone through with some spirited runs all around the horn.
The energy kept on rolling with Floyd “Gib” Guilbeau‘s “Red Mountain Wine” before the eerie paternal protectivity of “Pretty Daughter” crept in and allowed for the first improvisational highlight of the evening, foreshadowing many more to come. For a quick breather, Strings and company went with the reflective “Enough To Leave” before switching back into fourth gear with an exploratory “Ernest T. Grass”. Following a segue into Greensky Bluegrass‘s “Letter to Seymour” and a fiery “Wargasm” it came time to wrap up set one.
As the ensemble took the stage once more for the final full set of the weekend, the opening “Everything’s The Same” would soon be proven a misnomer as the impending onslaught of music would soon show otherwise. A take on Frank Wakefield‘s “The End of the Rainbow” produced a pot of gold in the proceeding jam before “Secrets” – another Deja Vu debut – gave way to the high point of the night and possibly the entire run: the Grateful Dead‘s experimental opus “Dark Star”.
This marked Strings and company’s first take on the 1960s psychedelic anthem in front of a live audience after boldly debuting the cover on the first night of Deja Vu. While the song’s live performances by the Dead are noted for lengthy runtimes, Strings instead chose to parcel out the mammoth jam throughout the set with a triple-decker jam sandwich. After some lengthy improvisation on the initial “Dark Star”, the band moved seamlessly into its Turmoil & Tinfoil track “Spinning” before reprising “Dark Star” for the first time.
Following a brief taste of improvisational delight, the group once again moved out of “Dark Star” to travel to “Planet Caravan” as the Black Sabbath cover put a whole new meaning on the expression “never miss a Sabbath show.” A brief trip down “Ice Bridges” soon gave way to the final “Dark Star” which, after hitting a total runtime of close to 17-minutes, was not to be outdone with a set-closing “Meet Me At The Creek”. This was the first take on the Strings original since March 21st, 2021 (10 shows) and it was apparent that this jam had been fermenting for some time as the group took it past the 17-minute marker.
Though the past two concerts featured no encores due to strict curfews in Mobile, the early Sunday show allowed the band to return to the stage once more. Much like they did at the Columbia closer the previous Sunday, Strings and company made a nod to their next show with a relevant take on Bill Monroe‘s “Tennesee” to close out the show, the run, and the spring tour. Next, Billy Strings and his bandmates are off to the Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, TN for a one-nighter on May 28th.
Billy Strings – “Fire On My Tongue”, “Walk On Boy” (Doc Watson), “Sharecropper’s Son” (The Stanley Brothers), “Bringing Mary Home” (The Country Gentlemen), “On The Line” – Mobile, AL – 4/11/21
[Video: Billy Strings]
Billy Strings – “Dark Star (Grateful Dead) > “Spinning” > “Dark Star” > “Planet Caravan” (Black Sabbath) > “Ice Bridges” > “Dark Star”– Mobile, AL – 4/11/21
[Video: Music City Maven]
Setlist: Billy Strings | Ladd-Peebles Stadium | Mobile, AL | 4/11/21
Set One: Fire On My Tongue, Walk On Boy (Doc Watson), Sharecropper’s Son (The Stanley Brothers), Bringing Mary Home (The Country Gentlemen), On The Line, Red Mountain Wine (Floyd “Gib” Guilbeau), Pretty Daughter, Enough To Leave, Ernest T. Grass (Dan Tyminski) > Letter To Seymour (Greensky Bluegrass), Wargasm
Set Two: Everything’s The Same, The End of the Rainbow (Frank Wakefield), Secrets, Dark Star (Grateful Dead) > Spinning > Dark Star > Planet Caravan (Black Sabbath) > Ice Bridges > Dark Star, Meet Me at the Creek
Encore: Tennessee (Bill Monroe)