Relix 44: The Benevento-Russo Duo with Mike Gordon’s 52-Minute “Foam”
“Mike and the Italians” reunite at Hulaween in 2017 (photo by Dave Vann)
Welcome to the Relix 44. To commemorate the past 44 years of our existence, we’ve created a list of people, places and things that inspire us today, appearing in our September 2018 issue and rolling out on Relix.com throughout this fall. See all the articles posted so far here.
Never Miss a Wednesday Show: The Benevento-Russo Duo with Mike Gordon’s 52-Minute Version of “Foam”
Before drummer Joe Russo and keyboard player Marco Benevento joined forces in Joe Russo’s Almost Dead (and also prior to their previous efforts as half of Bustle in Your Hedgerow), the pair toured and recorded steadily as the Benevento-Russo Duo. From 2001-2009, The Duo, as they were commonly known, garnered notoriety for their ambitious live performances and complex yet engaging original compositions. The pair also struck up a musical relationship with Phish bassist Mike Gordon and the three musicians performed infrequent gigs together. On Wednesday, April 27, 2005 they found themselves at the Georgia Theatre in Athens where they delivered a first set that consisted solely of an expansive version of the Phish original, “Foam.” You can visit livephish.com to listen to the song itself in all 52 minutes of its glory [and watch a video of it below]. Here’s what Benevento has to say looking back on that performance:
The amazing thing about that particular tour was that it was literally just the three of us. No tour manager, no sound guy, no crew, no nothing! And the car we rented was a convertible. So, Mike, Joe and I were driving around Athens with the top down just being freaks! I’m sure Mike has a video of that somewhere! We were trying to tell people about the show and trying to talk to cute girls. When we finally went to the gig, the room was half full at best—we were surprised, and kinda pissed, that not many people came out. All of the other shows had packed houses, but this particular one people just slacked on. We had been playing a wide variety of tunes on that tour, one of them being “Foam.” In the green room Mike said to Joe and I, ‘What if we just played ‘Foam’ for the entire first set? We’ll totally deconstruct it, extend parts and play melodies that cue the next sections and totally freak the crowd out and, that way, people will know never to slack on a Mike and the Italians show! Our eyes lit up and we both said, ‘Yes!’”
This article originally appears in the September 2018 issue of Relix. For more features, interviews, album reviews and more, subscribe here.