Billy Strings Kicks Off ‘Déjà Vu Experiment’ At The Capitol Theatre

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Billy Strings and his band played their first of six “The Déjà Vu Experiment” livestream concerts originating from The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on Thursday night. Strings, bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjo player Billy Failing presented two sets featuring a mix of new originals, Grateful Dead tunes, other choice covers, fan favorites and more.

The quartet opened the evening and residency by premiering new originals “Fire On My Tongue” and “Morning Light.” Strings and company then played “Long Forgotten Dream” before digging in on a cover of the Dead’s “Bird Song” they jammed past the 13-minute mark. Last night’s show came 50 years after the Grateful Dead began a historic run at The Cap. Each “The Déjà Vu Experiment” performance coincides with the 50th anniversary of the dates the Dead played the venue in 1971. GD imagery was displayed on the theater’s walls and behind the band as they took “Bird Song” deep.

“Bird Song” was followed by Strings’ own “While I’m Waiting Here” and takes on Bill Emerson’s “Home Of The Red Fox” and Johnny Horton’s “Ol’ Slewfoot.” The latter featured a few lyric changes including “saved up my money and I bought LSD.” Billy led his band through Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Sorrow Is A Highway” and original “Everything’s The Same” to close out the first set.

“The Déjà Vu Experiment” channels the Dead’s ESP Experiments from their 1971 Capitol Theatre run by having viewers aim to send an image to a guest receiver. Oteil Burbridge was Thursday’s guest receiver and the image was a pair of eyes. Burbridge chatted with the band from his Florida home after the show via video chat and shared a drawing featuring his interpretation of the image he received.

“Must Be Seven” served as the second set opener on Thursday and was followed by a quick romp through Bill Monroe’s “Dusty Miller.” Billy and his troupe then wowed with a transcendent “Dark Star.” The four-piece fit in themes of “The Beautiful Jam” the Dead played within “Dark Star” 50 years prior as well as new original “Love & Regret.” The Dead debuted “Wharf Rat” in the middle of “Dark Star” at The Cap on February 18, 1971.

The quartet continued on by pairing “Slow Train” and “Love Like Me” before diving into an unusual and cool “Pyramid Country.” A nicely jammed “Hide & Seek” ended the concert. Billy Strings’ next four “The Déjà Vu Experiment” livestream concerts tonight, tomorrow, Sunday and Tuesday are pay-per-view affairs available via FANS. Next Wednesay’s finale will be broadcast for free through The Relix Channel on Twitch, which is where last night’s show aired.

Strings shared the first few songs from each set on YouTube. Watch the beginning of both frames below:

First Set


00:03:42
00:06:47
00:13:16
00:18:17
Billy Strings (See 59 videos)
Billy Strings (See 257 videos)

Second Set


00:03:57
00:07:58
00:10:16
00:23:07
00:28:00
Billy Strings (See 59 videos)
Billy Strings (See 257 videos)

Setlist

Billy Strings at Capitol Theatre

Set 1
  • Fire On My Tongue
  • Morning Light  
  • Long Forgotten Dream
  • Bird Song  
  • While I'm Waiting Here
  • Home of the Red Fox  
  • Ole Slew-Foot  
  • Sorrow Is a Highway  
  • Everything's the Same
Set 2
  • Must Be Seven
  • Dusty Miller  
  • Dark Star  
  • Love & Regret  
  • Dark Star  
  • Slow Train
  • Love Like Me
  • Pyramid Country  
  • Hide & Seek
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