Mike Gordon Busts Out Spocks Brain In NYC

Mike Gordon’s five-piece band played just their second full show since early in 2012 last night, but you’d have never known the group had been on hiatus for so long as they delivered tight versions of nearly everything they performed at Webster Hall in New York City. The highlight for many Phish fans in attendance was the ensemble’s first-ever version of “Spock’s Brain,” a Phish rarity that was last performed by the quartet way back on July 30, 2003 in Camden, NJ.

[Photo by Andrew Blackstein]

“Spock’s Brain” was just one of many surprises the five-piece trotted out before a capacity crowd at their first show in Manhattan since August 13, 2008. Gordon’s ensemble opened with the full band debut of “Tiny Little World,” one of the best tracks off the recently-released Overstep LP, and reprised the original twice over the course of the show. Another of the night’s full band debuts was “Yarmouth Road,” which had a more focused groove than versions Phish had previously played and saw keyboardist Tom Cleary utilize a vocoder-like device during the choruses. Towards the end of the first set Mike led the band through a debut cover of the Flaming Lips’s 2002 Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots gem “Are You A Hypnotist??” Gordon also took a moment in the opening stanza for an uncharacteristic banter about how happy he was with his record label’s (ATO Records) efforts in releasing Overstep, mentioning how he was taught to view labels as the enemy but that his current experience has been different.

The five-piece opened the second set with another cover debut -Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd.” When the band lit into their next song you could looks of disbelief on the faces of many in the crowd. “Spock’s Brain” was first performed by Phish at their famed Lowell ’95 show. After Summer ’95 “Spock’s Brain” was shelved with only three Phish takes to follow between 1996 and 2003. Mike’s band had clearly been working hard on their spot-on, hard-rocking rendition, which was the tightest take on the song since its early days. Once the group finished “Spock’s Brain” a roar went up from the appreciative crowd. Yet another surprise followed a bit later in the set with the Mike debut of “555,” a tune Phish first delivered as part of their Wingsuit performance last Halloween. There was even a bit of audience-participation as noted by Gothamist, when a panel that spanned the length of the rail in front of the stage lit up almost like keys on a piano. When pressed, the keys made sounds that gave those triggering them an ability to participate in the jam.

The songs from Overstep were all extended, some longer than others, in the live setting with “Surface” sticking out as a particular high point with guitarist Scott Murawski utilizing a wah effect that would’ve made Jerry Garcia proud. It seems anything and everything from the bassist’s past, present and future is fair game for this band. The tour continues tonight in Philadelphia.

Watch Mike Gordon bust out “Spock’s Brain” thanks to LazyLightning55:

Here’s the setlist from last night’s show:

Set 1: Tiny Little World, Yarmouth Road, Caught Up, Surface, Radar Blip, Loon, Are You a Hypnotist??, Another Door

Set 2: Pretty Boy Floyd, Spock’s Brain, Morphing Again, Mrs. Peel, Face, 555, Long Black Line

Encore: Voices

[via Phish.net]