Billy Strings and his eponymous band returned to the hallowed Capitol Theatre stage for night three of The Déjà Vu Experiment on Saturday, where the bluegrass outfit further explored the music of the Grateful Dead. The evening featured a pair of original debuts, along with an array of fan-favorites.
Strings and company hit the ground running to start Saturday night with the original number, “Running”. After a brief telling of the Home track, things took a detour into the Grateful Dead universe with “Lonesome L.A. Cowboy”, from the New Riders Of The Purple Sage songbook. Through its ever-winding history beginning in San Francisco in the 1960s, NRPS included several members of the Grateful Dead, most notably Jerry Garcia who played pedal steel, as well as Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and even Rober Hunter.
After the country-rock stylings of NRPS, things got a little more traditional with Bill Monroe‘s “Big Mon”. Following a cover of William “Billy” Hayes‘ “I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers”, Strings once-again returned to the Dead catalog with a Royal Massat-sung “Mr. Charlie”. Throughout The Déjà Vu Experiment, Strings will continue to pay homage to the Grateful Dead as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of the band’s legendary six-night run at Port Chester’s Capitol Theatre.
The covers kept on coming with Jeff Austin‘s “Run Down” before Strings delivered his first original debut of the evening with the new song, “Leaders”. After a quick run through Muleskinner‘s “Blue Mule”, Strings and company delivered the first improvisational highlight of the evening with an “Ernest T. Grass” that stretched out well over 12-minutes. This then segued into the traditional “Little Maggie” to close out the set.
As has been customary during The Déjà Vu Experiment, during setbreak fans were instructed to try to “send” a visual message using extrasensory perception (ESP). This is yet another reference to the Dead’s 1971 Capitol Theatre run when they conducted a similar experiment. On Saturday fans were asked to try to send a drawing of a human brain to The String Cheese Incident singer/guitarist Bill Nershi and his wife Jillian Nershi at their home in Kilauea, HI.
Fittingly, set two kicked off with SCI’s “Black Clouds” which inched toward the 14-minute mark and came as another improvisational highlight. Following Béla Fleck‘s “Slipstream” Strings took another detour into Deadland with a segue into Jerry Garcia’s “Dreadful Wind and Rain”, taken from his Shady Grove bluegrass album with David Grisman. The Grateful Dead/Garcia theme then came to a head with the following “I’ve Been All Around This World”, a song which Garcia frequently covered acoustically. Next came the second and final original debut of the night with Strings’ own “Show Me The Door”. This was then followed with a pair of covers with Jack Bonus‘ “Hobo Song”, and Blackfoot‘s “Train, Train”. Finally, the show came to a close with one more extended jam, this time on John Hartford‘s “All Fall Down”.
Watch the opening performances of “Running”, “Lonesome L.A. Cowboy”, “Big Mon”, “I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers”, “Mr. Charlie”, and “Run Down” from night three of Billy Strings’ The Déjà Vu Experiment. Those who ordered the webcast can view it on-demand for 48 hours following the initial webcast. Scroll down to see some photos and a full setlist and tune in tonight at 9 p.m. ET for another installment of Billy Strings’ The Déjà Vu Experiment.
Billy Strings – “Lonesome L.A. Cowboy”, “Big Mon”, “I’ll Remember You, Love, In My Prayers”, “Mr. Charlie”, “Run Down” – Port Chester, NY – 2/20/21
[Video: Billy Strings]
View this post on Instagram
Setlist: Billy Strings | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 2/20/21
Set One: Running, Lonesome L.A. Cowboy (New Riders of the Purple Sage), Big Mon (Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys), I’ll Remember You, Love, in My Prayers (William “Billy” Hayes), Mr. Charlie (Grateful Dead), Run Down (Jeff Austin), Leaders , Blue Mule (Muleskinner), Ernest T. Grass
(The Dillards) > Little Maggie (traditional)
Set Two: Black Clouds (The String Cheese Incident), Slipstream (Béla Fleck) > Dreadful Wind And Rain (Jerry Garcia), Been All Around This World (traditional), Show Me The Door , The Hobo Song (Jack Bonus), Train, Train (Blackfoot), All Fall Down (John Hartford)