On the heels of a short but successful first leg of their summer tour, Goose embarked on an even more ambitious run of shows where they played a number of new venues, gained countless new fans, and continued to push their own musical boundaries night after night, wrapping up the tour in front of two of the largest crowds they’ve ever performed for.
Leg Two: Part One
Leg Two kicked off with a trio of shows in the band’s native Northeast, with the opening night back in Swanzey, NH where their performance last Fall earned an official release. No rust was detected and the 84 minute first set delivered no less than three memorable, improv-laden jams in Arcadia, a cover of Radiohead’s Weird Fishes / Arpeggio, and Wysteria Lane into Loose Ends. Set two began with the perfectly executed Goose debut of The Labyrinth, the intricate composition from their recently released Shenanigans Nite Club album. After another strong version of White Lights (which has become the norm going back to last Fall and throughout 2021), Jive II followed with the now semi-regular bonus jam, and then a fantastic Creatures ‘closed out’ the set. Per usual, the guys were short on time and, without leaving the stage, dropped a Slow Ready ‘encore’ that was unfortunately cut short when the plug was pulled on the evening by the venue (due to the strict curfew).
Thirty miles from Wilton, New Haven might be the closest thing to a hometown show Goose plays moving forward, and for these two nights at this beautiful new venue there were definitely big homecoming vibes. The obvious highlight of the evening (unless you got engaged in between Yeti and Seekers :) ), was the second set closing trio of Earthling or Alien? > Tumble > Factory Fiction. Earthling or Alien featured a silky-smooth Greg Knight rap and Tumble’s spacey jam melted perfectly into Factory Fiction – which elicited ecstatic cheers from the crowd and a devilish grin from Rich. The icing on the cake was the standalone Slow Ready jam (which was teased to start the show) that finished the version from the night prior. Night two was costume night and the band came out hilariously dressed as their Shenanigans Nite Club trailer personas - has anyone seen Jeff? They aptly opened the show with a cover of Duke Herrington’s A Tribute to Gold - which served as the theme music to said trailer - followed by a solid first frame with Time to Flee and So Ready. Set two stormed out of the gate with Arrow > Nights in White Satin (hearkening back to the same 1/25/20 pairing). Another unique Rosewood Heart followed with a jagged, funky jam into Bob Don and then we finally got our Same Old Shenanigans (LTP 2/15/19), beautifully delivered with the new Shenanigans Nite Club arrangement.
I’m gonna cut right to the chase here...the Perry first set A Western Sun > Echo of a Rose is extraordinary. It represents the strongest, most exploratory 52 minutes of music I’ve heard these guys play. At 29 minutes on its own, the massive, long and winding AWS leaves its normal song structure at an easy going, relaxed pace, patiently exploring the peaceful terrain before veering off to a more sinister place where each band member contributes equally to a beautifully dark jam. Around the 23 minute mark, Rich effortlessly steers the groove back toward a final uptempo segment, triumphantly peaking and then settling seamlessly into the opening reggae sounds of Echo. Once the standard sections of Echo are complete we get another delightful 16 minutes of superb improv, consisting of a tranquil Ted jam followed by a wonderfully blissful descending chord progression that builds to a euphoric climax. Despite the colossal moments of the first set, the second set shouldn’t be overlooked, as it includes both near perfect song selection as well as execution, with Into the Myst, Travelers (the introduction of Peter’s synth to the jam is a welcome enhancement), Bob Dylan’s It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (LTP 4/18/15), Spirit of the Dark Horse [FTP w/ (7Hunder) ending], and arguably the greatest version yet of The Empress of Organos. Night two on the small Perry stage started with a slow Tumble (aka Slumble, aka Stumble) and then brought more extended first set jamming, including a 19 minute cover of the Grateful Dead’s Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo and a 17 minute Hot Tea. Set two included a solid cover of Electric Avenue with a brief vocal jam, a beautiful This Old Sea, and a fun Jive Lee played at hyper-speed as they ran up against yet another hard curfew.
The first half of Leg Two wrapped up amongst the land of the dinosaurs - Legend Valley - but Goose was the predator that weekend and melted faces were the prey. They charged into night one with a Flopener, but this one was special, containing a beautiful Indian River jam during the intro. Yet another big White Lights was up next, the longest of the year so far and also my favorite, followed by a 21 minute Arcadia that rivals both the greatness and uniqueness of the Swanzey version. Set two gave us our second SOS of the summer and a stronger than usual, and unusually placed, Lead the Way. The focal point of the set was All I Need, clocking in at 24 minutes and the second jam began with Handini teasing 2021 with his ‘boy’ effect - fueling fans’ curiosity about when (or if) the song will be played live. The band then rode an uptempo, wah-heavy dance groove for the remainder of the song, eventually making way for the somewhat rare cover of Walter Murphy’s A Fifth of Beethoven. A beautiful rendition of the Dead’s Brokedown Palace served as the encore, sending the flock of fans back to their campsites and hotels with big smiles, and possibly a tear or two on their cheeks as well. The second night at LV currently sits atop many fans’ show of the year lists (including mine), and it’s for good reason. Set one consisted of dynamite versions of The Empress of Organos, Rosewood Heart and Look Out Cleveland. But set two took things to a whole new level, starting with a staggering 21 minute Elmeg the Wise that covered territory rarely ventured into by the saga-esque number. It came as no surprise that the opening notes of Madhuvan brought some of the loudest cheers of the night, but when the unexpected segue into Moby happened those cheers were amplified. Moby may not last very long but it’s four or five minutes of gurgly bass bombs and one of the tastiest melodies you’ll put in your ears. The only question left was, “Are they going back into Madhuvan?”. The answer was yes of course, and what a return to Madhuvan it was! The unique jam started off a bit dark and then alternated between furious rock and slower, jagged breaks before building to its frenetic peak. A fun romp through Clarence Carter’s Strokin’ unexpectedly gave way to an upbeat, funky jam with generous helpings of Rich’s wah and Peter’s clav that finally (and again, quite unexpectedly) flowed serenely into the Bhagavad Gita verse of Indian River, providing a fitting bookend to the two remarkable nights. After a new intro arrangement we quickly recognized 726 as the encore and prepared ourselves for the perfect ending to the weekend…that is, until they wrapped up 726 and launched into Arrow...what?!? Yeah, apparently there would be no curfew concerns on this night, and after an 18 minute Arrow (full show was 30+ minutes longer than the average show length for the year), the satiated crowd once again left the concert grounds with wide smiles and full hearts.
Leg Two: Part Two
And so now my own journey begins...I left my house at sunrise on the morning of July 1st, embarking on a 9 day, 6 show, 3 state trip that I’ll surely never forget. Having been over 18 months since my last Goose show, I was beyond excited - not only to see my favorite band but also to shed the confinement and claustrophobia of COVID and embrace the expanse and freedom of travel and the open road. Let’s gooooooo!!!
The second half of leg two began in Eau Claire with a pair of shows at the Pines Music Park, a gorgeous venue with a large, professional stage and wide-open concert grounds surrounded by shaded campsites amongst the coniferous evergreens. These were the first Goose concerts since early 2020 without pods or any social distancing required, and with a limited capacity of 1,000 attendees it felt both intimate and spacious at the same time. The sun drenched first set (weather would not be a factor here nor for any of the remaining shows of the run) included a solid Time to Flee opener as well as unexpectedly extended versions of Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out and Butter Rum. A nearly 20 minute Slow Ready opened up set two and featured another unexpected, atypical jam that finally dissolved into Drive. The previous two Drive’s of the year were unfinished, so I was thrilled to get a full-fledged rendition on this night, with the first jam being a lengthy, patient slow-build and the second a medium-paced, danceable groove that segued nicely into a cover of Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head, which in turn segued into Jorge Ben’s Mas Que Nada. A short and sweet Tumble ended the night on a high note. Saturday’s first set gave us two memorable jams: The Way It Is and Yeti. The former, Bruce Hornsby’s classic song about economic and civil rights, tipped the scales at almost 19 minutes and contained an absolutely sublime jam; one of my favorites of the year. And where The Way It Is went full Ted, Yeti was straight fire; at just under 17 minutes it’s one of the longest versions ever played, and arguably the best. Another relatively short second set offered up standard (read: still pretty darn good) takes on Creatures, Shama Lama Ding Dong and Rosewood Heart, alongside an outstanding Spirit of the Dark Horse, a This Old Sea set closer with a unique, at times plinko-ish jam and a succinct Hot Tea encore.
For those of us who weren’t lucky enough to see Goose in small bars back in 2017 or 2018, the Pine Creek Lodge shows were our best shot at an experience even remotely similar. With only about 500 hardcore fans (plus some locals), a tiny stage, an amazingly picturesque setting, and (ahem) a semi-professional sound system (google ‘Rick’s Drive solo literally leaves Livingston speaker smoking’), these shows felt like a backyard concert that the whole friendly neighborhood showed up to. Paul Simon’s Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard, with special guests Torrin Daniels (Kitchen Dwellers) on banjo and Andrew Goede on mouth whistle, was very good, but the highlight of the set was All I Need, which consisted of a soaring first jam and a highly danceable, synth-laden second jam that morphed into a Roses are Free-esque vibe for the final few minutes. Travelers started set two and I was happy to hear Peter’s synth present again...hopefully this is the new norm. Torrin Daniels was invited onto the stage once more, and Flodown proved to be a much better vehicle to showcase his banjo skills, most notably during the rowdy, foot-stomping intro. Night two began somewhat surprisingly with another Drive, but no complaints here, especially after how the set would unfold. The intro was stretched to five and a half minutes and by the 20 minute mark they were just wrapping up the fierce first jam before jumping into a spirited Elizabeth. The rest of the set included the traditional folk song Liza Jane (LTP 11/7/19), Jive I, Earthling or Alien?, and ended with Drive’s second jam to complete the tasty set one sandwich. Madhuvan got the second set underway and shortly after the verse/chorus section was complete, Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes came out of nowhere and provided us with a scorching jam before transitioning back into Madhuvan which, without finishing, segued flawlessly into a hauntingly beautiful Indian River. After a highly energized Hot Tea set closer, the unforgettable Pine Creek Lodge experience came to a close as the band encored with a double dose of the Dead in the form of the traditional Peggy-O and Bobby Bland’s Turn On Your Love Light.
With both nights’ attendance figures at around 5,000 (Saturday was sold out), I’m not sure which is crazier: the fact that two days prior I saw them with around 500 people, or the fact that the last time they played in Denver (12/6/19 at Cervantes Other Side) I saw them with about 500 people. Either way, it was a real joy to be part of such a big moment in Goose’s ascent. Friday’s festivities commenced with an apropo So Ready, and it was immediately clear that the band was indeed ready for this big stage with both Rich and Peter taking confident, impassioned solos. After breezing through Yeti, Honeybee, and A Western Sun, they casually dropped a 16 minute In Your Eyes, showcasing a number of Goose’s alluring qualities: cover song sensibilities, Rick’s silky vocals, and whole band improvisation skills. This second set is one where song timings and/or a lack of more than one extended jam belies the resplendency and power of what was actually played. It’s another example of impeccable song selection and flawless execution, along with a slew of crowd-pleasing, euphoric moments. Fish in the Sea is one of my favorite covers, and Into the Myst, SOS, Elmeg the Wise, 726, and The Empress of Organos are all top-tier originals each eliciting a potent, emotional response from fans. This is a set I’ll play on repeat, without the service of a skip button.
Saturday’s show picked right up where the previous night left off, opening with tight takes on Jive II and Time to Flee, followed by equally well played versions of Butter Rum (with manager Ben Baruch on percussion), Turned Clouds, and Your Ocean. The torrid type I Arcadia was another case of band and audience engaging in a cycle of feeding off of one another until reaching a fever pitch, and then Seekers on the Ridge (pt 1 & pt 2), with its lyrical nod to Colorado, ended the impressive penultimate set of the weekend. There was a palpable feeling of excitement and anticipation in the air as Rick picked the familiar opening riff of Arrow to lead off the second set, and the ensuing 21 minutes gave us everything we’d hoped for: soaring peaks, an extended uptempo dance groove, a few dazzling minutes of darkness, and a slick segue into Creatures. The collective dance party continued for another 15 minutes as Creatures ensured no one stopped shaking their limbs, ultimately building to a frenzied climax, and then boom: Moby, a magnificent landing pad, serving as a counter-balance to the flurry of notes and beats that preceded it, drenching the crowd with Trevor’s liquified bass and Rich’s gorgeous melodies. Back on stage for the tour closing encore, and after the customary shout-outs to the crew, Ben started up The Band’s Don’t Do It, thus wrapping up the historic two-nighter. At the start of the show, Peter said, “We love Colorado, man. We’re gonna keep coming back here.” I believe him - I’m already counting down the days until their return!
I’ll leave you now with a quote and one final thought. In Walden, Thoreau says of the written word, “(It) is the choicest of relics...at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art; not to be represented on canvas or in marble only, but to be carved out of the breath of life itself.” I believe this sentiment can be applied to music as well, and I will always have a deep appreciation for the art that Goose (and every other musician/band I love) shares with us and the world.
See you this fall ✌
Note: We are not affiliated, associated with or in any way officially connected to Goose.
We just love the band and community that much.