On Sunday, Billy Strings brought the first leg of his Meet Me At The Drive-In Tour to a close with his third concert outside Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA.
The tour, announced last month, continues on Wednesday and Thursday with two shows at McHenry Outdoor Arena in McHenry, IL that sold out long ago. After that, the tour wraps up with two nights at Expo Gardens in Peoria, IL on Friday and Saturday. For more information, head here.
The Sunday show, which began early at 5:30 p.m., kicked off with a run through John Hartford‘s “I’m Still Here” and segued into its usual running mate “Last Train To Clarksville”. That train kept on rolling and led straight into Strings’ own “Thirst Mutilator” and into the Phish tune “Back On The Train”, which the bluegrass picker hadn’t played since November 14th, 2019 at The Sinclair.
Next came Strings’ fourth-ever performance of the Bill Monroe song “Dusty Miller”, followed by Mel Tillis‘ “I Haven’t Seen Mary In Years”. Billy Strings then returned to the Monroe catalog with his first-ever cover “Close By”, followed by “Rawhide” and the somber eulogy of “Enough To Leave”. The first set came to a close with “Black Clouds”, though the usually-reliable jam vehicle didn’t get taken out for much of a ride in what would prove to be a more traditional bluegrass outing.
Set two began with just Billy Strings and banjo player Billy Failing returning to the stage for “Two Banjos”. The duo was then joined by the rest of the outfit for “On The Line”, followed by “Gold Rush”. The second set relied more heavily on original material, with “Watch It Fall” coming up next. After Hank Snow‘s “I’ll Remember You Love In My Prayers”, the band ran through the Home title track and “Dealing Despair”.
Things slowed down a bit with the ensemble’s third-ever run through the Grateful Dead‘s “Wharf Rat”, followed by “15 Steps” where teases of “Shakedown Street” could be heard. “Steps” rolled straight into the “Ride Me High” which would bring the second set to a close. Strings and company returned to the stage for one last number, a concise take on Arlie Duff‘s “Y’all Come”, played for only the second time.
Listen to full-show audio of Billy Strings outside Mohegan Sun Arena on September 13th, courtesy of tapers Keith Litzenberger and Bob Fellin.
Billy Strings – Wilkes-Barre, PA – 9/13/20
Setlist: Billy Strings | Mohegan Sun Arena | Wilkes-Barre, PA | 9/13/20
Set one: I’m Still Here > Last Train to Clarksville > Thirst Mutilator > Back on the Train, Dusty Miller, I Haven’t Seen Mary in Years, Close By , Rawhide, Enough to Leave, Black Clouds
Set two: Dos Banjos , On the Line, Gold Rush, Watch It Fall, I’ll Remember You Love In My Prayers, Home, Dealing Despair, Wharf Rat, Steps > Ride Me High
Encore: Y’all Come
 FTP Bill Monroe
 Just the Billy’s