Photo by Jesse Faatz

On Feb. 21, Billy Strings performed the fourth of six livestreamed shows 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. While the first night was streamed for free on The Relix Channel on Twitch, last night’s show (and the two prior to it) aired as a pay-per-view event on FANS.

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 Dave Schools of Widespread Panic was the receiver for the second night; after the conclusion of the show, he video chatted with the band and presented a drawing of his vision of the image.

The show proper kicked off with “On the Line” into “Train 45.” Shortly thereafter, Strings led his band through a cover of Widespread Panic’s “All Time Low,” nodding to the fact that Schools was the guest receiver. Later in the set, Strings covered Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” a song often performed by the Grateful Dead.

At each of the ‘Deja Vu Experiment’ shows so far, Strings has debuted at least one new song, and last night was no different. For the first-set closer, Strings opted for a new original titled “This Old World.”

Set two began with “Bronzeback,” followed by “Rosa Lee McFall.” The highlight of the set was a stunning performance of the Grateful Dead’s “He’s Gone,” which was a debut for Strings. They followed the Dead tune with another cover, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” The set then closed with Strings’ fan-favorite “Turmoil & Tinfoil.”

Check out a sneak peek of the show below, as well as a full setlist. Strings’ ‘Deja Vu Experiment’ run continues Feb. 23 on FANS.

Billy Strings
Feb. 21, 2021
The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester NY

Set I: On the Line > Train 45, Likes of Me, All Time Low, Enough to Leave, John Hardy, Sitting Here In Limbo, Whisper My Name, Mama Tried, Doin’ Things Right, This Old World*

Set II: Bronzeback, Rosa Lee McFall, 15 Steps, Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine, Manzanita, He’s Gone^, Proud Mary, Turmoil & Tinfoil

*debut, new original
^debut, Grateful Dead cover