Summer 2021 Festival Review
Special thanks to Brian Weber aka JiveGoose for filling in for me in the Fredition!
After tearing their way through two legs of an incredible early Summer tour, Goose took the balance of July, August, and September easy, focusing on a few dates around the festival circuit.
Starting with an extended set at Floyd Fest on July 23rd, the quintet from Connecticut demonstrated that these festival sets would be anything but standard. Opening with a nearly 20-minute bliss-filled All I Need that melted perfectly into Flodown, Goose was locked in from the first note. Mississippi Half-Step and Slow Ready came next, keeping the energy high, before The Empress of Organos brought our next big taste of jamming, complete with an amazing funk section led by Trevor. Next up came Madhuvan, featuring the new verse and the great addition of Peter on piano during the final chorus. The jam, as all Madhuvans tend to be, was pure fire as Rich and Peter ducked and weaved around each other to bring it to a roiling peak. A sneaky MVP for 2021 has been This Old Sea, with numerous standout versions, but none more standout improvisationally than the one from Floyd Fest. Beginning with a quiet and musing jam, coloured with beautiful electric piano and touches of organ from Peter, Rick weaved gorgeous melody after gorgeous melody over the rhythm section’s sparse atmospheric playing. The jam gradually grew in intensity, staying in a great major mode until a beautiful peak around the 13-minute mark. Post-peak, Rick immediately dirtied up his tone and Peter hit the clav for a few minutes of the gnarliest, funkiest Goose I’ve heard outside of their renditions of Look Out Cleveland. Not only were Rick and Peter excelling at their instruments, but Trevor seized the opportunity for some incredible bass fills and breakdowns ahead of the crowd singing him Happy Birthday after the jam’s conclusion – it had just hit midnight. After closing the set with a fiery Jive I > Lee, Goose stepped up for the encore to deliver a typically hot version of arguably their quintessential song, Arcadia. Before the encore of the Floyd show, Peter took a second to remind the crowd of their upcoming festival at the Lockn’ Farm, Fred.
Fred the Festival took place on August 20-22, and featured revivals of numerous Goose side-projects like Vasudo, ElephantProof, and Orebolo, as well as performances from Cory Wong, Dawes, and more. Goose themselves performed two fantastic and jam-filled shows on the 21st and 22nd. After opening their first night with an explosive Yeti, the band immediately dropped into Drive. This 23-minute excursion, while very Type I, contained some exceptional Vintage Vibe work from Peter during the second jam, developing a similar rhythm-focused groove to the 5/4 Creatures. Rosewood Heart, Please Forgive Me, and an explosive Seekers on the Ridge followed before the always-rocking Arrow closed the set with yet another 20-minute excursion. This jam developed a vibe similar to the Drive earlier in the set, with Peter on guitar instead of electric piano this time. Exploding back into the classic Arrow jam around the 18-minute mark, Goose sent the festival audience into set break on an extremely high note.
Creatures opened the second set with another tight groove jam. Peter began on distorted guitar, taking the lead for a little while before transitioning to Vintage Vibe as the jam ran through its typical chord progression before breaking into a bluesy jam highlighted by Rich’s fantastic rhythm guitar work and Spuds’ hi-hat. The swinging jam continued before melting into Hot Tea. Some yelling antics ensued before the jam took off at a fantastic pace. Hearing Trevor’s phenomenal bass playing, Rick and Peter slowly dropped out, letting him step up with a spectacular solo. During this groovy segment of the jam, Trevor weaved together a melody that the whole band would riff off of for the rest of the jam. The band came back in led by Peter on clav before some seriously stank-face-inducing breakdowns and a fiery peak to end it off Tea-style (and a shoutout for “Team Larry”). Bringing Taylor and Griffin from Dawes on stage to join in on guitar and drums respectively (and Jeff taking over Peter’s guitar), the band strummed the familiar opening chords to This Old Sea. With vocal contributions from Taylor, the song had a distinctly different feel as the two lead guitarists demonstrated fantastic interplay throughout. In the jam section, Taylor and Rick took turns leading the jam through an ethereal mode that alternated between a tight groove and spacey exploration before charging back with energy up to a peak accentuated by Peter’s organ. Spuds and Griffin’s drumming throughout was tight and the jam became a bit reminiscent of the Grateful Dead due to the two-drummer, two-guitar attack. The Goose + Dawes lineup then closed the show with an energetic cover of The Band’s Don’t Do It.
8/22’s six-song first set may not have had the Moby opener the band had planned on, but it included the return of Great Blue song Lily’s Tiger, an upbeat synth-drenched instrumental that I REALLY wish they played more. A tight groove dominated the succeeding Tumble at first with Peter’s staccato guitar and Jeff’s perfectly timed tambourine hits, the two guitarists then move into dueling wah pedal parts before peaking the jam around the 13-minute mark. A Flodown-esque breakdown followed before a final climb to the peak and end of the song. 726 served as a bridge between the massive jam and the set-closing So Ready, which featured former Goose member Chris “Doc” Enright on keys. This phenomenal rendition, containing standout Vintage Vibe and synth solos from Doc, has since become my favourite version of the song! The second set began in a strong fashion before a SUPER-extended Earthling or Alien? served up a heavy dose of stage antics as Spuds and Jeff took an extended drum solo. After the conclusion of the song, Goose welcomed up their final guest of the weekend – keyboardist Matt Campbell of Vasudo, co-author (with Rick) of many of our favourite songs. There was only one for them to play for this sit-in – the HIGHLY coveted Factory Fiction. With its explosive jam reaching possibly the highest peak of the weekend, Goose really sent the Fred crowd home in style, not to mention the fantastic Travelers > Elmeg the Wise encore that hinted at the yet-to-be-debuted third part of the saga.
In September, Goose hit the 4848 Festival in West Virginia and the Sea.Hear.Now festival in New Jersey. While the 4848 set had more improvisation packed into it – Peter flexing his backlined B3 and Rhodes throughout the opening Jive II, the dark and spacey turns in Flee, the powerful White Lights jam – both sets gave us a glimpse into how far the band has come since 2019 and early 2020. While on tour opening for PPPP or playing festivals, Goose played many sets similar to those from 4848 or Sea.Hear.Now but was not improvising as freely or expanding every measure of the jams the way they do now. The Goose that hooked us all with their tight tension-and-release jams is taking their time to let the music breathe and continues to evolve and learn with each show. See you at Goosemas!!
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