Photo by Jesse Faatz

On Feb. 18, Billy Strings kicked off his six-night, livestreamed run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., dubbed ‘The Deja Vu Experiment.’ 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. The first night was streamed for free on The Relix Channel on Twitch.

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 was conducted during ‘The Deja Vu Experiment.’ Viewers were urged to send an image (a pair of eyes for last night’s show) to a guest receiver. Bassist Oteil Burbridge was the receiver for the first night; after the conclusion of the show, he video chatted with the band and presented a drawing of his vision of the image.

As for the music, Strings and his band kicked off the show with two new originals, “Fire On My Tongue” and “Morning Light.” Later in the set, Strings covered the Grateful Dead’s “Bird Song,” followed by his own “While I’m Waiting Here.” He then moved in to a pairing of “Home of the Red Fox” by Bill Emerson and “Ole Slew-Foot” by Johnny Horton. The set closed with a cover of Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Sorrow Is a Highway” followed by “Everything’s the Same.”

Set two kicked off with Strings own “Must Be Seven.” The highlight of the set – and perhaps the evening – was the mid-set segment of “Dark Star” > “Love & Regret” > “Dark Star,” which saw the band flex their jamming and psychedelic chops. A few songs later, Strings closed the set with a pairing of “Pyramid Country” and “Hide & Seek.”

‘The Deja Vu Experiment’ continues tonight, Feb. 19. While the first night was free on The Relix Channel (as well as the last night, Feb. 24), the remaining shows will be available for pay-per-view on FANS. Click here to purchase tickets.

Watch sneak peeks of each set and check out the full setlist from last night’s show below!

Billy Strings
Feb. 18, 2021
The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, N.Y.
Set I: Fire On My Tongue, Morning Light (live debut), Long Forgotten Dream, Bird Song, While I’m Waiting Here, Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson cover) > Ole Slew-Foot (Johnny Horton cover), Sorrow Is a Highway (Yonder Mountain String Band cover), Everything’s the Same

Set II: Must Be Seven, Dusty Miller (Bill Monroe cover), Dark Star > Love & Regret > Dark Star, Slow Train, Love Like Me, Pyramid Country > Hide & Seek