Billy Strings rolled into St. Augustine, FL on Friday night for his first of three shows at St. Augustine Amphitheatre to kick off a spring tour comprised various of socially distant events and crowdless livestream gigs.
After a year of playing creative livestream shows and a handful of drive-in venues, Billy and company took the stage to the sound that had gone missing at their performances in 2020 and early 2021: the appreciative roar of an in-person crowd. Even with the mandatory distance between “pods” of attendees in the outdoor venue, the opening rumble of cheers and applause felt and sounded, if only for a few brief moments, like a much-needed return to normalcy. Watch the emotional entrance and the show-opening “Taking Water” below.
Billy Strings – Crowd Cheers > “Taking Water” – 3/19/21
[Video: D Ragoose]
The audience’s appreciation even extended beyond the deafening applause, as a sky banner carrying the message “We <3 Team Billy – Grammy Winners!” The love an appreciation flowed freely between the stage and the seats throughout the two-set show as Billy Strings, Royal Masat (bass), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Billy Failing (banjo) worked through their trademark mix of originals new and old (including an array of tracks from the Grammy-winning Home as well as material debuted during the recent Deja Vu Experiment at the Capitol Theatre) and covers both traditional and surprising (from Jerry Reed to Jimmy Cliff, The Rolling Stones to Larry Sparks, Little Feat to Yonder Mountain String Band). Of particular note, a 15-minute, second-set cover of The Dillards‘ “Ernest T. Grass” was a show unto itself, providing fans with a hefty dose of group improvisation.
With two more shows in St. Augustine this weekend and a slew of performances on the books in the coming weeks, things continue to look up for Billy Strings—and his ever-growing legion of eager fans—as we move deeper into 2021. Hit the band’s website for full tour details and check out a selection of crowd-shot videos (remember those?) from the Billy Strings tour opener in St. Augustine below.
Billy Strings – “Wild Horses” (The Rolling Stones) – 3/19/21
Billy Strings – “Away From The Mire” – 3/19/21
Billy Strings – “Freedom” – 3/19/21
Setlist: Billy Strings | St. Augustine Amphitheatre | St. Augustine, FL | 3/19/21
Set One: Taking Water, Bronzeback > Must Be Seven, I’ll Remember You Love In My Prayers (Billy Hayes), On The Line, Sitting In Limbo (Jimmy Cliff), The Likes Of Me (Jerry Reed), This Heart Of Mine (New Grass Revival), Wargasm, Willin’ (Little Feat), Dust In A Baggie
Set Two: Everything’s The Same, Sorrow Is A Highway (Yonder Mountain String Band), Ernest T. Grass (The Dillards) > Little Maggie (Traditional), John Deere Tractor (Larry Sparks), Highway Hypnosis, Secrets, Wild Horses (The Rolling Stones), Away From The Mire
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