Posts Tagged ‘ Taper's Section ’

Billy Strings: June 29, 2022 Rooftop at Pier 17

July 5, 2022

Our last experience with Billy Strings earlier this year was so overwhelmingly positive that it seemed fairly obvious that we would be back. Fortunately, the opportunity came sooner than later. Thanks to a generous follower on twitter, we were able to secure a ticket to this very sold-out show featuring Billy Strings playing on the South Street Seaport rooftop this past Wednesday.

While the buzz after this event was the appearance of Phish’s Trey Anastasio for the last half of the second set, my personal experience was more focused on the continual growth of Billy Strings as a performer. We have always been entranced by the sheer virtuosity of Strings’ guitar playing and the wizardry of the band as a whole, and we were able to confirm those expectations at the Cap in February. But this performance at Pier 17 raised the bar even higher. Joined by fiddler extraordinaire Alex Hargreaves (who later in the tour apparently agreed to become a permanent band member), the quintet performed a flawless first set of Strings material and choice covers.

With the backdrop of the NYC skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, the juxtaposition of the city center with bluegrass music seemed to motivate both the band and the song choices. The cover of John Hartford’s 1976 classic “In Tall Buildings” was most poignant, although several numbers drew upon the rural/urban dichotomy for inspiration. When the set closed with Strings’ apparent hard-life autobiographical and compositionally brilliant “Turmoil & Tinfoil” this night had already delivered exactly what we had come to see. But there was clearly more to come.

The band started the second set with Hargreaves shining throughout an instrumental run through the traditional “Sally Goodin”. Ultimately the set evolved into the show’s highlight – a furious nearly 20-minute “Meet Me at the Creek”, that managed to remain vital and driving for its entire improvisational five-member instrumental segment. As had been rumored in crowd whispers all night, the appearance of Trey Anastasio was not entirely surprising, but quite welcome. It certainly motivated Billy. The five-song mini-set with the star guest featured a couple of Phish numbers, but it was the three bluegrass covers where the massive amount of talent on stage truly excelled. At the end, this show instantly catapulted into a “best of year” category and we continue to be amazed at the level of excellence achieved by this band. See you at Nassau in November!

I recorded this set in an ad hoc roped-off taper’s section next to the soundboard with the outdoors-friendly Neumann large diaphragm mics. While the wind ultimately cooperated and rarely can be heard during this recording, the crowd yapping is a problem during quiet moments. Fortunately, the venue’s sound quality and the superb mix by uber-talented FOH Andy Lytle provided us with the ingredients for an excellent capture, and I’m still quite pleased with this recording. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show from [HERE]

Stream the Complete Show:

Billy Strings
Pier 17
New York NY

Digital Master Recording
Recorded at Soundboard Cage

Neumann TLM-102s > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:08:26]
01 Red Daisy
02 End of the Rainbow [Frank Wakefield]
03 Running The Route
04 Hellbender
05 Dust In a Baggie
06 Dealing Despair
07 [banter]
08 Watch It Fall
09 In Tall Buildings [John Hartford]
10 Home
11 Fearless [Pink Floyd]
12 [banter – rooftop]
13 Turmoil and Tinfoil

Set 2 [Total Time 1:20:15]
14 Sally Goodin
15 Must Be Seven
16 Meet Me at the Creek
17 16-16 [David Grisman]
18 Close By [Bill Monroe]
19 Back on the Train
20 Love and Regret
21 I’m Blue I’m Lonesome [Bill Monroe]
22 All Fall Down [John Hartford]
23 My Love Comes Rolling Down [Watson Family]
24 Gotta Jibboo

*Tracks 19 through 24 with Trey Anastasio

SUPPORT Billy Strings: Website / Bandcamp

Billy Strings: February 4, 2022 Capitol Theater Port Chester

February 8, 2022

In his brief 29 years, Billy Strings has lived a life worthy of a full-length feature film. The unhinged and dangerous nature of his childhood has been well-documented in the media, and in his songs (“Turmoil & Tinfoil”), which gives rise to the meme of his salvation through music. Whether his musical gifts were inherited, earned, or through random fortune, what is abundantly clear at this point is that Billy Strings is one of the most profoundly talented performers alive today.

I attended this Strings show (my first) at the Capitol Theatre having watched quite a few of his performances online, and fully expected that the show would be an enjoyable run through some authentic bluegrass and choice rock covers performed by a crack band. What I didn’t expect was to be so thoroughly enthralled with the tremendous energy coming from the stage and mirrored back by the crowd. This was a joyous event from the very start and the positivity never ebbed. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a show quite like this one.

Musically, the quartet are all world-class masters of their instruments. Strings is of course the focus, but he never failed to let his band shine. Even in those moments when Billy dove into the pedal board and went full-on rock star, the intricate interplay between the quartet was palpable. And the ability to improvise was focused and never drifted without purpose — witness the fifteen-minute run through “Dust in a Baggie” which ebbs and flows and hits on a variety of moods, but never once loses the throughline.

I tweeted earlier this week a hot take about Jerry Garcia’s influence on the history of bluegrass music, and it was not a coincidence that Billy Strings mu-tron effect jam during “Heartbeat of America” got me thinking. The Grateful Dead influence during this show was obvious. The covers of “Me and My Uncle”, “Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie” and “Rosa Lee McFall” were all homages to their original authors, filtered through a Dead-centric musicology. Yes, it is fantastic that perhaps more people will discover the legendary Elizabeth Cotton because of Billy Strings, but the hovering specter of Jerry Garcia was omnipresent, nevermind the “ESP Shows” connection explicitly advertised for this run of shows.

The second set’s main improvisational vehicle was the Robert Hunter penned “Thunder” that stretched over twenty minutes, but again never strayed off script. Throughout the night though, the bluegrass homages were many — whether it be the Dillards, Bill Monroe, Tony Rice, or the Stanley Brothers, Billy Strings clearly knows from whence his inspired talents flow, and he was entirely willing to acknowledge his idols. But ultimately, a Strings concert is not a cover show. This night featured a superb talent at the top of his game and creating a career-defining bit of perfection to a tuned-in and dedicated fan base. It doesn’t get any better than this.

I recorded this set with the Neumann hypercards from the tapers’ section adjacent to the soundboard. Like any sold-out general admission show, there is crowd chatter, but these Strings fans were attentive and enjoying the music so that the crowd din is not distracting. Overall, I’m extremely pleased with this recording and hope you are too. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show in MP3 or FLAC at [HERE]

Stream the Complete Show from the Archive:

Billy Strings
Capitol Theatre
Port Chester NY

Digital Master Recording
Tapers Section at Soundboard

Neumann KM-150 Hypers > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Set 1 [Total Time 1:16:40]
01 Know It All
02 How Mountain Girls Can Love [Stanley Brothers]
03 Tipper [Tony Rice]
04 Run Down [Jeff Austin]
05 There Is a Time [Dillards]
06 Dust in a Baggie
07 Dealing Despair
08 Living Like an Animal
09 Me and My Uncle
10 Heartbeat of America
11 John Deere Tractor [Larry Sparks]
12 On the Line

Set 2 [Total Time 1:26:04]
13 ESP Experiment
14 Free Born Man [Keith Allison]
15 Thunder
16 My Love Comes Rolling Down [Watson Family]
17 Ernest T Grass* [Dillards]
18 Air Mail Special
19 Show Me the Door
20 Oh Babe It Ain’t No Lie [Elizabeth Cotton]
21 Rosa Lee McFall [Charlie Monroe]
22 Turmoil and Tinfoil
23 [encore break]
24 Roll On Buddy Roll On [Bill Monroe]

*with Third Stone From The Sun jam [Hendrix]

SUPPORT Billy Strings: Website / Bandcamp


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