Mike Gordon Collaborates With Elizabeth Nestlerode In Jersey City: Recap, Setlist & Photos
Words by: Dianna Hank
Images by: Jeremy Gordon
Mike Gordon :: 03.17.19
White Eagle Hall :: Jersey City, NJ
White Eagle Hall :: Jersey City, NJ
Mike Gordon closed the book on the second weekend of his 2019 Spring Tour on Sunday night at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, New Jersey. Joining the Phish bassist to round out the quintet on this tour are guitarist Scott Murawski, drummer John Kimock, keyboardist Robert Walter and percussionist Craig Myers.
Playing to a sold-out house, the band opened the show with the haunting tune “Whirlwind” off their most recent release, OGOGO. Borrowing again from the 2017 album, the more upbeat “Steps” came next, getting the crowd moving and singing along. A common cover for the band followed with Fiona Apple’s “Sleep To Dream,” which originally appeared on Apple’s 1996 debut studio album, Tidal. Another cover, Jon Cleary’s “Got To Be More Careful” came after the Apple song, before the eccentrically-named original, “Tropical Rocket.” Before launching into this highly rhythmic, calypso-sounding tune, Gordon joked that the name came from a smoothie he ordered in Dallas, which was delivered by the most disinterested, apathetic hipster of a waiter who had, “Just the kind of enthusiasm that inspires us to write songs!”
The hip-shaking vibes continued as Myers picked up his ngoni to perform the incredibly rhythmic and percussive African-influenced instrumental, Barika’s “Angatta.” More covers appeared as the quintet performed a stellar version of Tower Of Power’s “You Strike My Main Nerve.” Finally, the familiar “Crazy Sometimes” finished the set off strong, featuring multiple solos by Walter, as well as Murawski and Gordon playing off one another as their instruments lit up with LED lights.
Reaching back to 2014’s album Overstep, the band opened the second set with the upbeat, feel-good “Tiny Little World” as the crowd and musicians fed off of each others’ robust energy. While Gordon jumped up and down on stage, audience members below perhaps wondered if they’d had one too many St. Patrick’s Day drinks or if the floor was indeed bouncing. Revisiting OGOGO once again, “Stealing Jamaica” switched gears from light to dark, with its spacey grooves and funky beats supported by Walter’s ethereal organ sounds as well as Meyers’ driving percussion.
Gordon addressed the crowd before the next song, stating, “We’ve been enjoying playing new material this tour. This is one of Scott’s. We’ll hope you take your phones out for this one.” The tongue-in-cheek commentary preceded this tour’s third version of “Put Down The Phone,” a more aggressive rocker lamenting our species’ addiction to our handheld devices.
A cover of Leo Kottke’s “Noon to Noon” began to open up into a nice space before a somewhat abrupt segue into the first of two covers from the 2007 film and 2011 musical, Once, entitled “When Your Mind’s Made Up.” This tune showcased a more beautiful, delicate side of the group, allowing for a softer, sweeter sound to surface, perfectly setting the stage for the blissful jam out of the subsequent “My Favorite Mistake.”
The band brought the energy back up once more by treating the audience to a super funky “Jones” before a rocking cover of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” closed out the second set. With ear-to-ear smiles donning the faces of each musician on stage, they left for one more short break before returning for the encore.
Gordon explained that he had been drawing inspiration from musical theatre lately before bringing Elizabeth Nestlerode on stage to join the quintet for a tune. Nestlerode, who is performing in The Other Josh Cohen, has played the Girl role in Once many times, so it seemed only appropriate that the musical’s “If You Want Me” was the first song selection for the encore. Finally, the fifth version of tour debut “I Am Random” closed out the evening.
The band continues their tour tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19 at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, New York before this weekend’s sold out four-night-run at The Sinclair in Boston.
Angatta Captued by Jordan Hoffman
Set One: Whirlwind, Steps, Sleep To Dream, Got To Be More Careful, Tropical Rocket, Angatta, You Strike My Main Nerve, Crazy Sometimes
Set Two: Tiny Little World, Stealing Jamaica, Put Down The Phone, Noon to Noon, When Your Mind’s Made Up, My Favorite Mistake, Jones, Sweet Emotion
Encore: If You Want Me, I Am Random
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