Billy Strings continued his ascension through Austin, TX’s live music circuit on Friday with his debut at the 15,000-plus capacity Moody Center. Strings had no shortage of energy, once again refusing to take a set break.
After an opening sequence of fan favorites including a set-opening “I’ll Be Gone a Long Time”, “Highway Hypnosis”, “Thirst Mutilator” > “Dust in a Baggie”, plus covers of “How Long Have I Been Waiting for You” by Jonathan Edwards and The Seldom Scene, John Hartford‘s “All Fall Down”, and George Gershwin‘s “Summertime”, Strings grabbed his banjo to join Billy Failing for “Dos Banjos”.
Billy Strings – “I’ll Be Gone a Long Time”, “Highway Hypnosis” – 6/2/23
Royal Masat, Jarrod Walker, and Alex Hargreaves left the stage, followed by Failing after his banjo duel with Strings, as the bandleader, still playing clawhammer banjo, remained on stage by himself and launched into a solo set beginning with “Georgia Buck” by Doc Watson. After continuing with the traditional “Crawdad Song”, Strings switched back to guitar and continued his pattern of honoring local songwriters with a few covers of Austin musicians, first Townes Van Zandt‘s “Pancho & Lefty”, then a pair of tunes by Blaze Foley, “Cold, Cold World” followed by the debut of “Should Have Been Home”. After continuing his solo set with “Catch & Release”, “Lonely at the Top” by Jamey Johnson, “Let the Cocaine Be” by Doc & Merle Watson, and “Salt Creek” by The Doc Watson Family, Jarrod Walker returned to the stage and joined Billy behind a single microphone for “Rabbit in a Log”.
The entire band then gathered around a single mic for “Freedom” and continued the nonstop marathon performances with another set featuring covers of “Hello City Limits” by Harley “Red” Allen, “Sugar Hill Ramble” by David Grisman, “This Heart of Mine” by New Grass Revival, “Down in the Hollow” by Leftover Salmon, and more, as well as original tunes “Nothing’s Working”, “Dealing Despair”, and “Heartbeat of America”.
After capping the set with a sequence of “The Likes of Me” (Jerry Reed) > “Pyramid Country” > “Know It All”, and “Uncle Pen” by Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Billy returned to the stage by himself and began the encore with a breathtaking a capella rendition of Doc Watson’s “And Am I Born to Die?”. The rest of the band then joined him to finish the show with “Riding That Midnight Train”, also by Doc Watson.
Billy Strings returns to The Moody Center tonight, Saturday, June 3rd as part of his ongoing spring tour. Tune in to the livestream via nugs.net, free for nugs subscribers. Strings recently detailed his fall tour plans, which include shows in around the U.S., U.K., and Europe. For a full list of upcoming tour dates and ticketing details, visit his website.
Billy Strings – “Pancho & Lefty” (Townes Van Zandt) – 6/2/23
[Video: Cary Laudadio]
Billy Strings – “Dust In A Baggie” – 6/2/23
[Video: Metal Yeah]
Billy Strings – “And Am I Born to Die?” (The Doc Watson Family) (Billy Solo A Aappella) – 6/2/23
Wtf did we just witness… this show is going to be in history books worldwide. Thank you Billy.. he poured his heart out. We saw tears when he bowed. The universe take care of this man please ..
by u/Mostkrack in BillyStrings
Setlist: Billy Strings | Moody Center | Austin, TX | 6/2/23
Set: I’ll Be Gone a Long Time, Highway Hypnosis, Thirst Mutilator > Dust in a Baggie, My Alice, Away From the Mire, How Long Have I Been Waiting for You (Jonathan Edwards and The Seldom Scene), Bronzeback, All Fall Down (John Hartford), Summertime (George Gershwin), Wargasm, Dos Banjos (Banjo duo with Billy Failing), Georgia Buck (Doc Watson) (Billy solo on clawhammer banjo), Crawdad Song (Traditional) (Billy solo on clawhammer banjo), Pancho & Lefty (Townes Van Zandt) (Billy solo on guitar), Cold, Cold World (Blaze Foley) (Billy solo on guitar), Should Have Been Home (Blaze Foley) (Billy solo on guitar (First Time Played)), Catch & Release (Billy solo on guitar), Lonely at the Top (Jamey Johnson) (Billy solo on guitar), Let the Cocaine Be (Doc & Merle Watson) (Billy solo on guitar), Salt Creek (The Doc Watson Family) (Billy solo on guitar), Rabbit in a Log (One mic with Billy on guitar and Jarrod Walker on mandolin), Freedom (Entire band single mic), Hello City Limits (Harley “Red” Allen) > Sugar Hill Ramble (David Grisman), Nothing’s Working, This Heart of Mine (New Grass Revival) > Dealing Despair, Heartbeat of America, Down in the Hollow (Leftover Salmon), Look Up Look Down That Lonesome Road (Gaither Carlton), The Likes of Me (Jerry Reed) > Pyramid Country > Know It All, Uncle Pen (Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys)
Encore: And Am I Born to Die? (The Doc Watson Family) (Billy solo a cappella), Riding That Midnight Train (Doc Watson)