FANS and The Relix Channel on Twitch, along with Bell’s Brewery, have partnered with Billy Strings for ‘The Deja Vu Experiment,’ a six-night livestream event that will take place at Port Chester, N.Y.’s legendary Capitol Theatre. The streams will take place starting tonight, Feb. 18, and will continue on Feb. 19-21, 23 and 24. The dates were chosen to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s February 1971 performances at the venue, which took place on the same exact dates.
At the shows in 1971, the Grateful Dead conducted ESP Experiments, which consisted of “prompting Deadheads in the audience to focus on imagery shown by the band and telepathically send the imagery to a test subject.” (Quote via the event’s description.) A virtual version of such an experiment will be conducted during ‘The Deja Vu Experiment.’
Tonight’s stream, as well as the final nights of the event (Feb. 18 and 24), will be streamed for free on The Relix Channel on Twitch. The remaining nights (Feb. 19-21, 23) are available for pay-per-view on FANS. A portion of the proceeds will go to The Rex Foundation and to Backline.
“The Grateful Dead’s 6-night run of shows at The Capitol Theatre in February 1971 were a singular event in the 95-year history of the theater,” said Capitol Theatre owner and Relix publisher Peter Shapiro. “In 1971 the theater hosted Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton and a who’s who of American rock and roll legends, but it was the Dead’s run of shows that Winter that came to define the theater’s legacy.”
“We have been thinking for a while about how best to mark the 50th Anniversary of those iconic shows,” Shapiro continued. “Obviously we can’t celebrate with us all together but the virtual livestream technology does feel fitting given that the original 1971 shows experimented with ESP and in an effort to expand human connections and the music experience. Inviting Billy to perform the same 6-dates (Feb 18-24) that the Dead played in 1971 was in our mind from the beginning, more than a year ago. He personifies the idea of taking genres of music like Bluegrass and Rock and Roll and pushing their boundaries into new areas, in a similar way that Jerry Garcia did 50 years ago. I am super excited for what is going to happen, it feels like a good moment to have a Deja Vu Experiment.”