Billy Strings closed out his massive, four-night run at The Eastern in Atlanta, GA on Sunday night. Fiddle player John Mailander joined Strings for the entire show, just as he had the previous three nights.
Taking the stage just after 8:30 p.m., Strings and his band immediately started into a lengthy rendition of “The Fire On My Tongue”. It didn’t take long for this one to find some introspection, as Royal Masat (bass), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), Billy Failing (banjo), and Mailander fell into a deep pocket for Strings to layer some reverb and delay-laden guitar lines. Picking up the tempo as the jam progressed, “The Fire On My Tongue” eventually found its home in “Bronzeback”. This sub-four-minute cut carried its usual uptempo, instrumental feel and set up a warming take on “Heartbeat Of America”.
A series of covers ensued, beginning with a tribute to the late, great Jeff Austin with “Run Down”. Strings channeled Austin’s refined vocals before Failing, Walker, and Mailander took turns leading the group through multiple jam sections. After a short applause break, Strings and company continued the first set covers with “China Doll”, the Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia classic pulled from the Grateful Dead‘s catalog.
Billy Strings – “China Doll” (Grateful Dead) – 12/12/21
Following a segue to the Allman Brothers Band‘s “Midnight Rider” in honor of Dickey Betts‘ birthday, the quintet slipped in a newer original, “Nothing’s Working”, then a cover of The Seldom Scene‘s “Old Train”. With time for one more, the frontman led his group into a 21-plus minute telling of “Turmoil & Tinfoil”. Always a jam vehicle, this proved to be the longest of the night, as Strings traversed reverberating valleys and heavily distorted peaks before sending The Eastern into its final set break of the weekend.
Billy Strings – “Turmoil & Tinfoil” – 12/12/21
Set two began with a cover of Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives‘ “Old Mexico”, followed by a staple original, “Hellbender”. A quick romp through New Grass Revival‘s “This Heart of Mine” set up the third cover in four songs, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys‘ “My Little Georgia Rose”. Mailander really shined on this cut, letting loose with extended lines on his fiddle while Strings crooned valiantly. Another Turmoil & Tinfoil cut, “Living Like an Animal”, fell in the five-hole. This rendition slowly built to a daring apex, before the group dropped into REM sleep with “Long Forgotten Dream”.
Moving forward, “Love And Regret” preceded a cover of Chris Henry‘s “West Dakota Rose” and the original “Watch It Fall”. The jams weren’t done here, however, as an 18-minute “Hide And Seek” captivated the 2,300-capacity room. This segment contained several peaks, each one brought higher than the previous thanks to cascading lines from Strings’ guitar and the wonderful interplay between Masat, Walker, Failing, and Mailander. Without time for a true encore break, Billy thanked the crowd before launching into the final track of the night, “Everything’s The Same”.
Below, check out full show audio courtesy of taper DavidPuddy, and scroll down for a detailed setlist. Furthermore, read Live For Live Music‘s coverage of night two and night three of String’s four-night run in Atlanta.
Billy Strings will continue his fall tour on Friday, December 17th, with the first of two consecutive shows at Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN. Head to his official website for additional ticket and tour details.
Billy Strings – The Eastern – Atlanta, GA – 12/12/21
Setlist: Billy Strings | The Eastern | Atlanta, GA | 12/12/21
Set One: The Fire On My Tongue > Bronzeback, Heartbeat Of America, Run Down (Jeff Austin), China Doll (Grateful Dead) > Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers Band), Nothing’s Working, Old Train (The Seldom Scene), Turmoil & Tinfoil
Set Two: Old Mexico (Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives), Hellbender, This Heart of Mine (New Grass Revival), My Little Georgia Rose (Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys), Living Like An Animal > Long Forgotten Dream, Love And Regret, West Dakota Rose (Chris Henry), Watch It Fall, Hide And Seek , Everything’s The Same
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