Billy Strings returned once more to The Capitol Theatre on Sunday to wrap his Deja Tu: Return to the Experiment run. The four-show stretch of concerts saw the bluegrass phenom etch out a sequel to his fan-less run of concerts at the Port Chester, NY venue in February 2021, the Deja Vu Experiment.

Night four once again saw Billy pay homage to the Grateful Dead and the band’s legendary run of concerts at The Cap in February 1971. In addition to the band’s storied performances, the six-show run is famous for the Dead joining with Dr. Stanley Krippner to conduct a series of extrasensory perception (ESP) experiments on the audience. Strings instructed fans both at The Cap and at home to telepathically communicate an image to a specific recipient. Following in the footsteps of past Deja Tu experiment subjects Béla Fleck (2/3), Les Claypool (2/4), and Debra Apostol (2/5), Paul Hoffman submitted himself to the experiment. Fans were instructed to send an image of an owl to the Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist/vocalist.


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Setting the mind games aside momentarily, Strings took the stage alongside his bandmates Billy Failing (banjo), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Royal Masat (upright bass). The ensemble came hot out of the gate with “Fire On My Tongue”, segueing into “Must Be Seven” to keep the train rolling. More originals followed with “Hellbender” as Strings mined his own catalog, followed by the environmental contemplation of “Fire Line”, transitioning into Doc Watson‘s “Reuben’s Train” for the first cover of the evening.

The segue train wasn’t done rolling, however, as Frank Wakefield‘s “End Of The Rainbow” linked up with the speeding musical locomotive. It was during “End Of The Rainbow” that Strings and Walker—armed with wireless receivers—both left the stage. The music never stopped, however, as Strings and Walker continued to play until both emerged on balconies opposite each other. A cross-venue duel ensued as the two musicians sent solos back and forth across The Cap while Masat and Failing looked on from the stage.

This traveling musical cavalcade continued through the instrumental “Running the Route” before Jarrod and Billy both found their way back to the stage for a fitting “Home”. With the engaging theatrics set aside—albeit momentarily—the set closed out with a fittingly explorative “Highway Hypnosis”.

Returning for the final set of the four-night engagement, Strings and company kicked things off with “Taking Water”. “Likes Of Me” followed ahead of the slow build of  “All Fall Down”, The Capitol Theatre buzzing with the low hum of the John Hartford cover. A tribute to The Volunteer State came next with Jimmy Martin‘s “Tennessee” prior to the downtempo Renewal contemplation “Nothing’s Working”. The tempo shot right back up with “Doin’ Things Right” ahead of the first nod to the Dead of the evening with the traditional “Peggy-O”. The set then came to a climax with an always-expansive “Hide & Seek” closer.

Taking The Capitol Stage one last time for the Deja Tu run, Strings offered a final tribute to the Grateful Dead with the flag-waving anthem “U.S. Blues” to close out the run.

Scroll down to check out a collection of videos from Billy Strings’ closing Deja Tu show at The Capitol Theatre on Sunday. His winter tour kicks into gear on Friday with a show in Greensboro, NC. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website.

Billy Strings – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY – 2/6/22 – First Set Preview

Billy Strings – “Running The Route” – 2/6/22

[Video: Borrowed Tune]

Billy Strings – “Running The Route” – 2/6/22

[Video: Matt Frazier]

Billy Strings – “Home” – 2/6/22

[Video: Matt Frazier]

Billy Strings – “Highway Hypnosis” – 2/6/22

[Video: Matt Frazier]

Billy Strings – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY – 2/6/22 – Second Set Preview

Billy Strings – “Taking Water” (Traditional) – 2/6/22

[Video: Borrowed Tune]

Billy Strings – “Peggy-O” (Traditional) – 2/6/22

[Video: Borrowed Tune]

View Videos

Setlist: Billy Strings | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 2/6/22

Set One: Fire On My Tongue > Must Be Seven, Hellbender, Fire Line > Rueben’s Train (Doc Watson) > End Of The Rainbow (Frank Wakefield) [1] > Running the Route [1], Home [2], Highway Hypnosis (9:34)

Set Two (9:58): Taking Water, Likes Of Me, All Fall Down (John Hartford), Tennessee (Jimmy Martin), Nothing’s Working, Doin’ Things Right, Peggy-O (Traditional), Hide & Seek

Encore: U.S. Blues (Grateful Dead)

[1] Strings and Walker playing in the opposing Presidential Suite balconies

[2]  Guitar Peace intro