Last night, Billy Strings closed out his winter 2023 tour kick-off with his third and final performance at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield, Colo. The evening served as the culmination of Strings’ superb interpretations, innovation and celebration of bluegrass, which proliferated over each night.
Strings opened the final show at the sold-out 6,500-capacity arena with his fan favorite “Dust in a Baggie,” instantly uniting the droves of fans who had gathered to see him. He quickly locked into the flow with his bandmates and walked through complex bluegrass compositions like “Heartbeat of America,” Dan Fogelberg’s “Along the Road and Roy Acuff’s “The Streamlined Cannonball” with ease. Strings then dipped into his own discography for a pairing of “The Fire on My Tounge” with “Know It All” before moving into two more covers: a stomping “John Deere Tractor” by Larry Sparks and “The Preacher and the Bear” by Arthur Francis Collins. Another fan favorite penned by Strings came next, the title track of his 2021 LP, Wargasm. The ensemble then moved into an aberrant bluegrass interpretation of The Moody Blues’ love anthem, “Nights in White Satin.” After a few more originals like “This Old World” and “Bronzeback,” Strings closed the frame with a penultimate cover of John Hartford’s “All Fall Down” and a closing “These Old Blues.”
After a short set break, Strings and company–Billy Failing (banjo), Royal Masat (bass), Jarrod Walker (mandolin), and Alex Hargreaves (fiddle)–wasted no time flowing into a cover of The Oak Ridge Boys’ “Dig a Little Deeper in the Well.” Highlights from the passion-fueled rock-and-roll segment included “Slow Train,” Eddie Noack’s “Psycho,” which morphed into J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High,” “The Train That Carried My Girl From Town” by Doc Watson into the traditional “Black Mountain Rag,” New Grass Revival’s tender “Whisper My Name,” Danny Barnes euphonious “Pretty Daughter” and a set closing extended rendition of “Turmoil & Tinfoil” that saw back and forth between the ensemble, not to mention an array of expressions and smiles that could only be made by those fully enveloped by the creation of music.
Strings then returned to the stage and gave thanks for his friends and bandmates, and told fans he would be heading to Nashville, Tenn., to spend some time resting and recording–quelling the rumors of a possible sit-in with Phil Lesh & Friends at the Mission Ballroom the following evening–before singing Jimmy Martin’s homage to The Volunteer State, “Tennessee.” After the blistering tune, during which Strings sang delightfully, “There lives a sweetheart who said she’d marry me/ As soon as I get back to that state of Tennessee,” the ensemble stepped to the front of the stage, looked out to the adoring fans, thanked them one more time and bowed.
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1STBANK Center – Broomfield, Colo.
Feb. 4, 2023
Set I: Dust in a Baggie, Heartbeat of America, Along the Road (Dan Fogelberg cover), The Streamlined Cannonball (Roy Acuff cover), The Fire on My Tongue (>) Know It All, John Deere Tractor (Larry Sparks cover), The Preacher and the Bear (Arthur Francis Collins cover), Wargasm, Nights in White Satin (The Moody Blues cover), This Old World, Bronzeback, All Fall Down (John Hartford cover), These Old Blues ([traditional] cover)
Set II: Dig a Little Deeper in the Well (The Oak Ridge Boys cover), Ice Bridges, Watch It Fall, Slow Train, Cumberland Reel ([traditional] cover), Psycho (Eddie Noack cover) (>) Ride Me High (J.J. Cale cover), The Train That Carried My Girl From Town (Doc Watson cover) (>) Black Mountain Rag ([traditional] cover), Love Like Me, Whisper My Name (New Grass Revival cover), Pretty Daughter (Danny Barnes cover), Nothing’s Working, Turmoil & Tinfoil
Enc.: Tennessee (Jimmy Martin cover)
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