Billy Strings Plays New Boston Venue Roadrunner

Watch highlights and listen to full-show audio from opening night.

By Scott Bernstein Mar 16, 2022 7:11 am PDT

Billy Strings became the first artist to take the stage at Roadrunner in Boston last night. Strings and his band presented an inspired mix of originals and covers, including a few geographically appropriate tunes at the 3,500-capacity venue on Tuesday.

Located in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood and operated by Bowery Boston, the venue takes its name from a song featured on The Modern Lovers’ 1976 self-titled debut album that includes numerous references to the city and state. Billy and bandmates bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing were greeted by an enthusiastic sold-out crowd as they emerged to start last night’s show. “You guys ready to have a party in a brand new fucking venue,” the guitarist exclaimed before explaining finishing touches were still being put on Roadrunner as the group arrived. “But we’re here and we’re ready to christen this beautiful place and say thank you so much for having us and we’re ready to do it, man … this is awesome,” Billy added before leading his group through a fitting “Big Ball In Boston” opener.

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The quartet continued on by pairing “Running” and “Running The Route” and covering Roy Acuff’s “Streamline Cannonball.” From there the group offered expansive versions of “Pyramid Country” and “Fire On My Tongue,” with the latter giving way to “Must Be Seven.” Next up was a rare take on Danny Barnes and Bad Livers’ “Lumpy, Beanpole & Dirt.”

Billy then addressed the crowd once again and asked how audience members liked the venue. “I’m kinda diggin’ it. It’s kinda badass actually,” Billy noted. “It’s like when you move into a new house and it’s nicer than the old house that you lived in and everything’s just kinda too nice and it makes you feel weird a little bit.” Strings resumed the music with Jerry Reed’s “Likes Of Me,” which was connected to Johnny Horton’s “Ole Slewfoot” via another round of “Pyramid Country” jamming. Billy went on to close the set with a rendition of “Tipper” by Tony Rice following “I Only Exist” and “Hollow Heart.”

Last night’s second set began with the beloved “Dust In A Baggie.” The four-piece worked the tune into Phish’s “Back On The Train” and then delivered a stunning version of “Love & Regret” from their Grammy-nominated 2021 studio album, Renewal. Strings returned to Renewal for “Fire Line” after his first cover of Jimmy Martin’s “Sophronie” since June 19, 2021. The four-piece followed “Fire Line” with Jeff Austin’s “15 Steps” and Billy’s own “On The Line.” From there Billy led his group through “Ruby,” his debut take on the traditional Civil War ballad “The Two Soldiers” and an adventurous “Hide & Seek” to end the frame.

The marathon grand opening concert concluded with a two-song encore. Strings and company first treated the capacity crowd to a gorgeous take on the Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace.” Then, the quartet ended the night with Don Reno’s “I’m Gone, Long Gone.” Billy Strings resumes his tour this weekend with his debut performances in London. Livestreams are available via nugs.net.

Stream an audience recording taped by Keith Litzenberger and watch both pro-shot and fan-shot videos from last night’s concert below:

Intro, Big Ball In Boston, Running ~ Running The Route


00:05:52
00:07:57
00:10:57
nugsnet (See 625 videos)
Billy Strings (See 724 videos)
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Must Be Seven


00:00:00
Matt Frazier (See 45 videos)
Billy Strings (See 724 videos)

Dust In A Baggie ~ Back On The Train


00:00:00
00:04:36
Amy Karibian (See 34 videos)
Billy Strings (See 724 videos)

Brokedown Palace


00:00:00
Matt Frazier (See 45 videos)
Billy Strings (See 724 videos)

Setlist (via BillyBase)

Set One: Big Ball In Boston, Running > Running The Route, Streamline Cannonball, Pyramid Country > The Fire On My Tongue > Must Be Seven, Lumpy, Beanpole, & Dirt, Likes Of Me > Pyramid Country > Ole Slewfoot, I Only Exist, Hollow Heart, Tipper

Set Two: Dust In A Baggie [1] > Back On The Train, Love & Regret, Sophronie, Fire Line, 15 Steps, On The Line > Ruby, The Two Soldiers [2], Hide & Seek

Encore: Brokedown Palace, I’m Gone, Long Gone

  • [1] – Day Tripper tease
  • [2] – FTP – Traditional
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