Billy Strings paid tribute to Phish as part of his Tuesday night concert in Essex Junction, Vermont. Strings and his band dusted off their version of the Vermont-native’s “Gotta Jibboo” and played a number of covers from the Phish repertoire at Champlain Valley Expo’s Ben & Jerry’s Midway Lawn.
The guitarist, banjoist Billy Failing, mandolin wiz Jarrod Walker and bassist Royal Masat opened with The Dillards’ “The Old Home Place,” a song Phish has played 43 times dating back to 1994. Strings and company followed with the recently debuted original “In The Morning Light” and “Everything’s The Same,” one of five tunes from the Grammy-winning Home to make the setlist in Vermont. “In The Morning Light” and the “Fire On My Tongue” that came later in the frame both will appear in studio form on Strings’ Renewal album in September.
Last night’s first set came to a close with the pairing of Jerry Reed’s “The Likes Of Me” and “Thunder,” a song featuring lyrics by Robert Hunter set to music by Strings. Billy and his band teased the Phish classic “First Tube” within “Thunder.” The quartet went on to kick off their second set with Del McCoury’s “Beauty Of My Dreams,” another tune Phish occasionally covers. Next up were more tracks from Renewal as “Running The Route,” “Know It All” and “Love & Regret” were played along with “Taking Water” off Home.
Billy and his crew treated fans to the traditional “June Apple” before wrapping the set with a wild “Away From The Mire” sequence. The quartet worked “Away From The Mire” into “Pyramid Country” which gave way to the band’s first cover of Phish’s “Gotta Jibboo” since August 30, 2019. “Gotta Jibboo” bled back into “Pyramid Country” before the group landed upon “Must Be Seven” and eventually ended “Away From The Mire.” Strings and his band began the encore with yet one more bluegrass song Phish likes to cover, Hot Rize’s “Nellie Cane.” The concert then came to a close with the group’s fifth ever rendition of “If Your Hair Is Too Long, There’s Sin In Your Heart.”
The tour picks up in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Thursday night. Check out fan-shot video from last night’s show captured by Tim Wheelock below:
Setlist (via Billy Strings Set List Page)
Set One: Old Home Place, In the Morning Light, Everything’s the Same, Walk On Boy, West Dakota Rose, Watch It Fall, Fire On My Tongue > Clinch Mountain Backstep, Likes of Me > Thunder (1)
Set Two: Beauty of My Dreams, Running the Route > Taking Water, Know It All, Love & Regret, June Apple, Away From the Mire > Pyramid Country (2) > Gotta Jibboo > Pyramid Country > Must Be Seven > Away From the Mire
Encore: Nellie Cane, If Your Hair’s Too Long, There’s Sin In Your Heart
- (1) First Tube tease
- (2) Also Sprach Zarathustra tease