All Feature Articles

Billy Strings Does It Again and Again in Experimental Series of Shows in Port Chester

by Rich and Laura Lynch

GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and musician Billy Strings headlined a unique six-night live stream event that started on February 18, 2021 and is scheduled to run through the 24th. Billy's The Déjà Vu Experiment coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead's six-night run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. In honor of that, Strings attempted to recreate the Dead's ESP Experiments with his own "Déjà Vu Experiment".

Billy Strings Does It Again and Again in Experimental Series of Shows in Port Chester

During their 1971 Capitol Theatre concerts, the Grateful Dead conducted ESP Experiments, prompting their fans in attendance to focus on pictures shown by the band and telepathically send those thoughts to a test subject. The Deja Vu Experiment was setup to similarly tap into a sense of clairvoyance and togetherness by requesting that the streaming audience use their minds to collectively "see" and send imagery to special guest receivers. Regardless of the ESP results - it promised to be six full evenings of magical musical muse.

As Covid has dragged on into 2021, artists have had to come up with creative ways to stay connected to their audiences. Although some venues have opened with limited capacity it is still not financially feasible for musicians to book customary nationwide or worldwide tours. Live streams have become a popular way to play to a crowd. Many live streams are free and others charge a fee. Since the The Déjà Vu Experiment was raising money for The Rex Foundation and Backline there was a ticket price for access. The Rex Foundation provides social services for the less fortunate and they also protect the rights of indigenous people. Backline connects music industry professionals and their families with mental health and wellness resources.

"Let's play some bluegrass," declared Billy as the quartet opened with the live debut of the delightful "Red Daisy" flowing into the Johnny Cash classic "Big River" on February 19th. Both tunes featured fine and feisty picking as did their take on the traditional "Shady Grove". In honor of Tony Rice they performed "Tipper" and later they paid tribute to The Dead with their own spin on the sad storytelling of "Wharf Rat" taking creative license with the tune just as the originators would have. They closed the first set with "Hellbender" another innovative original.

The second set started with the stellar "Secrets". A combination of covers such as Jerry Garcia's "Loser" and traditionals were highpoints of the show as the bluegrass style evolved into more exploratory sounds with the efficient use of effects. Billy and his band were set up in the Capital Theater but unlike The Dead they presented music to an empty hall. We imagine that it must be disconcerting to finish a song with silence but they carried on. Various visuals were utilized along with clips of fans enjoying the concert from the comfort of home. After the music that band chatted with guest Dave Bruzza who shared some of the things that he had drawn during the Experiment. He saw birds and had matched up a mushroom image but it was hard for us to say how much of this was ESP, but we can say for sure that we thoroughly enjoyed the Experiment that Billy Strings and his band presented on Friday.

Related Links: For more information on BILLY STRINGS and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Billy Strings | | The Capitol Theatre


© 2021
All Rights Reserved