Photo by Jesse Faatz

Last night, Billy Strings performed at Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre in San Diego, Calif. The one-night stand included a 27-song single set performance that featured a guitar and banjo solo in lieu of a set break. 

Strings kicked off the night with the traditional tune “Come Down the Mountain Katie Daly” and followed up with a track off the 2021’s Renewal, “This Old World.” Then, the band performed a segued pairing of “Taking Water” and “Running the Route,” which led into a cover of The Dillards’ “Ernest T. Grass.” 

The show continued with “Secrets” and “Born to Be With You,” before Strings broke into a cover of the Grateful Dead’s touching ballad, “China Doll.” Next, the band, which also includes Billy Failing, Jarrod Walker and Royal Masat, took on “Highway Hypnosis,” followed by The Beatles’ high-energy 1966 track “And Your Bird Can Sing.”  The ensemble then covered J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High” and “Everything’s the Same,” off Strings’ fourth studio album, Home

As opposed to breaking mid-set, Strings and banjoist Failing broke into “Dos Banjos,” showcasing their talent on stringed instruments. Next, the bluegrass frontman performed a solo set of tunes. The latter began with Strings on his banjo, performing “Whistling Rufus” and “Reuben’s Train” Then, he took on Doc Watson’s “Crawdad Hole.” Strings ditched his banjo and picked up his guitar for the final solo selection, which included “Ragtime Annie,” “John Henry,” and his 2019 original “Guitar Peace.” Strings capped the solo set by welcoming the whole band back on stage for a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.”

The show’s latter half continued with “Hollow Heart” and “Love & Regret.” Strings’ then performed fan-favorite “Dust in a Baggie” before continuing with a selection of covers which began with a take on John Hartford’s “All Fall Down,” “Blue Skies” by Irving Berlin, and finally a cover of The String Cheese Incident’s “Black Clouds.” Strings concluded the Southern California gig with “Wargasm.” 

Strings made his debut performance at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on Friday night. In what’s become normal for a Strings show, the setlist was intermingled with covers of traditional tunes and a well-synthesized selection of originals that cover the depths of his impressive discography. Next up, the musician and his band will head to Houston to perform at 713 Music Hall on April 21. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here

See the complete setlist below.

Billy Strings 

Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre– San Diego, Calif.

April 16, 2022 
Set: Come Down the Mountain Katie Daly, The Old World, Taking Water > Running the Route, Ernest T. Grass > Secrets, Born to Be With You, China Doll, Highway Hypnosis, And Your Bird Can Sing, Ride Me High, Everything’s the Same, Dos Banjos, Whistling Rufus, Reuben’s Train, Crawdad Hole, Ragtime Annie, John Henry, Guitar Peace, Fearless, Hollow Heart, Love & Regret, Dust in a Baggie, All Fall Down, Blue Skies, Black Clouds, Wargasm