Mike Gordon brought back his eponymous solo band for its first show since before the pandemic on Thursday at the State Theatre in Portland, ME. The band’s summer tour opener saw the Phish bassist introduce an interim band member, tracks from his new album Flying Games, a couple choice covers, and the classic “Carini” to his solo repertoire.

Thursday’s show marked the debut of keyboardist Rachel Eckroth, who is subbing in for Robert Walter who is currently on tour as a member of Roger Waters‘ solo band. Rounding out the rest of the outfit were Gordon’s usual collaborators Scott Murawski (guitar), John Kimock (drums), and Craig Myers (percussionist).

The tour opener was heavy on songs from Flying Games, with Gordon taking “Pure Energy”, “Connected”, and “Revolution of the Mind” for their inaugural spins throughout the show. While it was Gordon’s name on the marquee, however, he made sure to share the limelight with his ace backing band. In the first set, Murawski took over lead vocals for a surprising cover of Courtney Barnett‘s “Before You Gotta Go”, with the guitarist later nodding to his other band Max Creek with the original “Jones”.

The new kid in town, Rachel Eckroth, also got a proper introduction during the first set, taking lead vocals on the band’s debut of Rufus & Chaka Khan‘s “Ooh I Like Your Loving”. Similar to Murawski, Eckroth also got a chance to explore her solo catalog with the original “Circling” before Gordon’s band debuted a cover of Hot Chocolate‘s “You Sexy Thing” (a rare treat from the Phish live songbook).

After completing two sets filled with eight debuts of one kind or another, Gordon and company still had one more surprise in store. Coming back out for the encore, Mike introduced the last song of the evening by saying, “This next song is an old diddy about some super old friends that we had—me and my friends had—back in the day.” With that, the band launched into the hair-rising Phish arena rocker “Carini” to end the show with a bang and start the tour off with a jolt of momentum.

Mike Gordon’s solo tour continues today, June 16th, with a set at Northlands Music Festival. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit his website. Check out a collection of fan-shot videos from last night’s tour opener in Portland from dresnok.

Mike Gordon – “Ooh I Like Your Loving” (Rufus & Chaka Khan) – 6/15/23

Mike Gordon – “Sughn Never Sets” – 6/15/23

Mike Gordon – “You Sexy Thing” (Hot Chocolate) – 6/15/23

Mike Gordon – “Haywire” – 6/15/23

Mike Gordon – “Carini” – 6/15/23

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Setlist: Mike Gordon | State Theatre | Portland, ME | 6/15/23

SET 1: Say Something > Pure Energy [1], Before You Gotta Go (Courtney Barnett) [2], Mull [2], Ooh I Like Your Loving (Rufus & Chaka Khan) [2], Crazy Sometimes, Jones (Max Creek), Sughn Never Sets

SET 2: Victim, Connected [1], Circling (Rachel Eckroth) [2], You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate) [2], Haywire, Revolution of the Mind [1], Back in the Bubble

ENCORE: Carini[2]
[1] Debut.
[2] Mike Gordon debut.

This show featured the debuts of Pure Energy, Connected, and Revolution of the Mind and the Mike Gordon debuts of Before You Gotta Go, Mull, Ooh I Like Your Loving, Circling, You Sexy Thing, and Carini.