Billy Strings played the reopening of the Fox Theater on Thursday with his first of two shows at the Oakland venue. Strings honored the Bay Area’s own Grateful Dead by performing two songs by the legendary band during last night’s concert.
The guitarist, bassist Royal Masat, mandolinist Jarrod Walker and banjoist Billy Failing kicked off the show with “Red Daisy,” a song featured on Strings forthcoming studio album, Renewal. Next, the quartet worked The Dillards’ “Ernest T. Grass” into “Must Be Seven” before Renewal single “Fire Line” bled into “End Of The Rainbow.” A cover of the Bill Monroe classic “A Good Woman’s Love” was followed by “Thunder,” a song featuring words penned by Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter.
“West Dakota Rose” got Thursday’s second set underway along with Muleskinner’s “Blue Mule.” Strings and company then looked to Billy’s Grammy-winning 2019 album Home for “Enough To Leave” and “Everything’s The Same.” Next came the Grateful Dead tribute as an exploratory 13-minute “Dark Star” gave way to a gorgeous “Wharf Rat.”
“Wharf Rat” came to a close with a spacey transition into John Hartford’s “All Fall Down.” Strings had one more treat in store to end the frame as he debuted a take on “Blues Stay Away From Me” by The Delmore Brothers. The four-piece then came back to the stage for a “Freeborn Man” encore. Billy Strings returns to the Fox Theater tonight.
Check out fan-shot footage of both GD covers captured by MrTopDogger below:
Setlist (via Billy Strings Set List Page)
Set One: Red Daisy, Ernest T. Grass > Must Be Seven, Fire Line > End Of The Rainbow, A Good Woman’s Love, Thunder
Set Two: West Dakota Rose, Blue Mule, Enough To Leave, Everything’s The Same, Dark Star > Wharf Rat > All Fall Down, Blues Stay Away From Me*
Encore: Freeborn Man
* – First Time Played, Delmore Brothers