On Wednesday, NPR Music released the latest installment of its COVID-adapted Tiny Desk (Home) Concerts featuring the duo of Phish bassist Mike Gordon and pioneering acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke plus an appearance by Gordon’s Phish bandmate, drummer Jon Fishman, who also contributed to several tracks on the duo’s latest album, Noon.
Much like their recent virtual appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert‘s #PlayAtHome series, Gordon, Kottke, and Fishman are shown in the studio in split-screen style for the four-song performance, which features takes on Noon tracks “Flat Top“, “The Only One”, “Sheets”, and “I Am Random”.
Gordon and Kottke begin the appearance with a run through the highly complex though sweet and melodic instrumental, “Flat Top”, showcasing the interlocking guitar and bass sounds that make them such a unique and enticing pairing.
After an amusing (and probably staged) interlude during which Kottke gets a phone call and offers sage wisdom on the origins of true friendships, Gordon introduces the virtual audience to Fishman, touching on the “telepathy” they’ve developed over 2,000 gigs together and marveling at the drummer’s dedication to practice. “He’s my hero,” Gordon smiles.
With that, he looks down toward the bottom-left corner of his video frame and asks, “Are you ready down there?” With that, the duo becomes a trio and the Fishman square appears to add some tasteful brush texture and backing vocals (along with Gordon) to the reflective, Leo-sung tune.
After continuing to play with the “virtual” medium by passing a water bottle from square to square, Gordon and Kottke dive into Kottke’s “Sheets”. Fishman steps back in for the final song, “I Am Random”, which appropriately benefit from some random origin stories via Gordon before the bouncing ditty closes out the performance.
As NPR’s Bob Boilen noted of the performance, “There are some fun visual tricks but — musically speaking — not a moment of trickery. Just pure magic.” Watch the Tiny Desk (Home) Concert featuring Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon with Jon Fishman below and read more about the performance here.
Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon w/ Jon Fishman – Tiny Desk (Home) Concert
[Video: NPR Music]