Bassist Mike Gordon kicked off winter tour with his five-piece on Friday at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle and at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. Gordon and his band focused on songs from 2017’s OGOGO with extra treats thrown in for good measure each night.
Mike’s quintet features Scott Murawski on guitar, drummer John Kimock, percussionist Craig Myers and Robert Walter on keyboards. The show and tour began with “Crazy Sometimes” and “Steps” off OGOGO. Next up was “Jumping” from 2014’s Overstep. Throughout both nights, Lighting Designer Justin Casey utilized the walls of the venues to display wild patterns and projections. What followed “Jumping” was a cover of “Got To Be More Careful,” A Dr. John-esque song written by New Orleans keyboardist Jon Cleary. Jon Cleary and his band, The Absolute Monster Gentlemen, first recorded the song for their 2004 album, Pin Your Spin. The song was also featured in an episode of the Fox television show House as well as on the program’s 2007 soundtrack.
Gordon & Co.’s first set continued on with “Equilibrium,” the track that opens OGOGO. The quintet closed out the frame with “Destiny Unbound,” just the second version played by the group of a song that was debuted by Phish on September 14, 1990. Phish shelved “Destiny” from November 15, 1991 through February 28, 2003 and then again until May 31, 2009. The quartet has performed the Gordon-penned tune 13 times since. Mike shared a rehearsal of his five-piece playing “Destiny Unbound” ahead of its Mike Band premiere last month at the St. Petersburg stop of the Sunshine Music Festival. Gordon fit teases of Wings’ “Live & Let Die” within both the St. Petersburg and Seattle versions.
Friday’s second set began with Max Creek’s “Jones” and continued with “Go Away” off OGOGO. Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening came next, when Mike led his band through “Noon To Noon.” Gordon recently revealed he’s working with Leo Kottke on a new album, the pair’s long-awaited follow up to the now 12-year-old Sixty Six Steps. Kottke wrote “Noon To Noon” and Mike revealed Leo gave him the nod to perform the tune with his quintet.
The closing frame in Seattle ended with a run of three OGOGO songs (“Marissa,” “Victim” and “Let’s Go”) split up by a cover of Rancid’s “Ruby Soho.” Mike Gordon, Scott Murawski, Robert Walter, Craig Myers and John Kimock said farewell with an encore featuring their cover of “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith.
Mike Gordon Winter Tour 2018 moved on to Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon on Saturday. The band opened with OGOGO’s “Stealing Jamaica” before returning to the Max Creek repertoire for “Cruel World.” Scott and Mike then led the group on the unusual “Trapezoidal Sunshine,” a song written by the duo and first trotted out by the band back in September. The set rolled on with “Face” from Overstep and the group’s recently debuted cover of “You Strike My Main Nerve” by Tower Of Power. Gordon and his troupe then strung together “Victim” and “Victim 3D.”
OGOGO and Overstep were represented by “Pendulum” and “Surface” in the 1 and 3 slots of Portland’s second set respectively with Myers’ “Angatta” performed in between. Mike then led his ensemble through Phish’s “Meat” and The Last Step track “Normal Phoebe.” Fans were able to add to the music at the end of the frame, when the REEL interactive instrument was deployed during a Scott-sung cover of “Cities” by Talking Heads. “Whirlwind” served as the encore at the Wonder Ballroom. Tonight, the band plays Stateline, Nevada.
Watch the well-jammed “Surface” from Portland shot by fan Matt Kelly:
Check out Instagram clips showing off Mike’s music and JC’s lights:
February 9 – Seattle (via Phish.net)
SET 1: Crazy Sometimes, Steps, Jumping, Got To Be More Careful , Equilibrium, Destiny Unbound
SET 2: Jones, Go Away, Noon to Noon , Marissa, Ruby Soho, Victim, Let’s Go
ENCORE: Sweet Emotion
 Mike Gordon debut
February 10 – Portland (via Mike-Gordon.com)
Set One: Stealing Jamaica, Cruel World, Trapezoidal Sunshine, Face, You Strike My Main Nerve, Victim, Victim 3D
Set Two: Pendulum, Angatta, Surface, Meat, Normal Phoebe, Cities