Billy Strings Debuts Grateful Dead Covers & Originals At Déjà Vu Experiment Night 6

By Scott Bernstein Feb 25, 2021 7:06 am PST

Billy Strings brought his run of six “The Déjà Vu Experiment” livestream concerts at a close at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on Wednesday night. The guitarist and his band ended the residency without repeating a song and continued a trend by debuting Grateful Dead covers and originals as part of last night’s finale.

Each “The Déjà Vu Experiment” performance came on the 50th anniversary of dates from the Grateful Dead’s last run at The Cap. Strings tapped Leftover Salmon‘s Vince Herman as “guest receiver” on Wednesday. An image was displayed before the second set that viewers were asked to “send” to Herman in similar fashion to the Dead’s ESP Experiments at the venue in 1971. Vince spoke with the band via video chat after the show to share his interpretation.

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Billy Strings, bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjo player Billy Failing opened with their oft-played rendition of “Freeborn Man” and then worked Doc Watson’s “Cocaine Blues” into a take on The Stanley Brothers’ “Clinch Mountain Backstep.” The latter was just the band’s second ever “Clinch Mountain Backstep” as per Phantasy Tour.

John Phillips’ “Me & My Uncle” was the first song of the evening from the Grateful Dead live repertoire to see action last night. Strings and company worked their own “Living Like An Animal” within “Me & My Uncle.” A quick take on The Stanley Brothers’ “I Only Exist” was followed by three debuts to end the set as new originals “Libby Phillips Rag” and “Wargasm” were broken up by a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Cassidy.”

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Beloved original “Dust In A Baggie” finally saw action to start the second set. The quartet then served up the Hunter/Garcia classic “Deal” before debuting another instrumental original, “Running The Route.” Next, Strings and his mates played the Failing-penned “So Many Miles.” Billy and the guys continued on with their first ever take on the Grateful Dead song suite “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower.” The guitarist had a lyric change in store for “Franklin’s” as he belted out “If you get confused, listen to the banjo play!” One more Dead tune, “Brokedown Palace,” followed before the four-piece said farewell with a “Meet Me At The Creek” that spanned nearly 15 minutes.

Watch the beginning of both sets below:

Set One


00:02:57
00:08:04
00:14:45
Billy Strings (See 97 videos)
Billy Strings (See 738 videos)
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Set Two


00:03:34
00:10:35
Billy Strings (See 97 videos)
Billy Strings (See 738 videos)

Setlist (via Billy Strings Set List Page)

Set One: Freeborn Man, Cocaine Blues > Clinch Mountain Backstep, Me and My Uncle > Living Like An Animal > Me and My Uncle, I Only Exist, Libby PhillipsRag (1)(instrumental), Cassidy (2), Wargasm (1)

Set Two: Dust In A Baggie > Deal, Running The Route (1)(instrumental) > So Many Miles, Help On The Way (3) > Slipknot! (3) > Franklin’s Tower (3), Brokedown Palace, Meet Me At The Creek

  • (1) First Time Played – Billy Strings Original
  • (2) First Time Played – Barlow
  • (3) First Time Played – Garcia/Hunter
  • (4) First Time Played – Grateful Dead

The Déjà Vu Experiment

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

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

  • Billy Strings Debuts New Songs & Grateful Dead Cover At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 2

    Billy Strings Debuts New Songs & Grateful Dead Cover At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 2 

  • Billy Strings Debuts Originals At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 3

    Billy Strings Debuts Originals At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 3 

  • Billy Strings Premieres Grateful Dead Cover & Original At At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 4

    Billy Strings Premieres Grateful Dead Cover & Original At At The Déjà Vu Experiment Night 4 

  • Billy Strings Keeps Debuts Coming At Déjà Vu Experiment Night 5

    Billy Strings Keeps Debuts Coming At Déjà Vu Experiment Night 5 

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