Scott Kucharski

PHOTOS: Billy Strings drive-in concert at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, 09/11/20

PHOTOS: Billy Strings drive-in concert at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, 09/11/20
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On Friday, Sept. 11, young bluegrass sensation Billy Strings and his band kicked off three consecutive nights of fun at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre Township that served as the opening of their national Meet Me at the Drive-In Tour.

It was Strings’ first live show since March and the arena’s first since July, when the venue debuted its initial set of drive-in shows with Almost Queen, Jim Gaffigan, and a massive benefit concert featuring local artists. All the premium parking spaces were sold out on Friday with license plates from Kentucky, Maine, and many states in between, and Saturday was a complete sell-out with over 900 cars lined up to see the acclaimed 27-year-old poncho-clad phenomenon in action – from a safe distance following temperature checks, of course.

“Our hearts are full. Thank you for an incredible opening night of the Meet Me at the Drive-In Tour! We had soo much fun. Couldn’t be more grateful for everyone’s love and respect. Way to keep it safe,” Strings posted on social media after opening night.

“We’re so incredibly grateful to be able to play for you in real life. You give us more than you can possibly imagine.”

With perfect weather and festival-quality lighting and sound, the band began at sunset with a little “Amazing Grace” before jumping into “Dust in a Baggie” from “Rock of Ages,” his 2013 album with Don Julin. They played two sets mixing originals and covers, including selections from his latest studio album, “Home,” and The Stanley Brothers closer “How Mountain Girls Can Love.”

A recap video captured the good vibes of this wild weekend:

Born in Michigan and currently living in Nashville, Strings next drove to McHenry, Illinois for two sold-out shows before heading to Peoria, Illinois for two more nights, including another sellout. While his talent was always apparent, Strings has come a long way from his early local performances at the Susquehanna Breakdown in Scranton, the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, and even the Peach Music Festival in Scranton last year. His shaggy hair may be shorter now, but his list of accomplishments is only growing longer by the day, even in these difficult times for live music.

Billy Strings setlist, Sept. 11, 2020, Mohegan Sun Arena, Wilkes-Barre:

Set 1:

Amazing Grace (John Newton cover)
Dust in a Baggie
Doin’ My Time (Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs cover)
The Likes of Me (Jerry Reed cover)
Pyramid Country
Ole Slew-Foot (Johnny Horton cover)
Love Like Me
Tennessee Stud (Jimmy Driftwood cover)
Nobody’s Love Is Like Mine (The Stanley Brothers cover)
Long Forgotten Dream
Away From the Mire

Set 2:

Home of the Red Fox (Bill Emerson cover)
Must Be Seven
Train, Train (Blackfoot cover)
Time to Move On (Tom Petty cover)
Slow Train
All Time Low (Widespread Panic cover)
10 Degrees & Getting Colder (Gordon Lightfoot cover)
Turmoil & Tinfoil


How Mountain Girls Can Love (The Stanley Brothers cover)

See NEPA Scene’s photos of Billy Strings performing at the 2019 Peach Music Festival here, the F.M. Kirby Center in 2018 here, and the 2017 Susquehanna Breakdown here.