Hot cocoa. Snow. Sledding. Ear muffs. Warm cookies. These are just some of the words that are associated with the winter season.
However, if you’re a Goose fan, your mind goes to one song: “White Lights.” A song that has been played in the snow (more on that later), “White Lights” is the equivalent of sitting by the fireplace after playing in the snow all morning.
Written by everyone’s favorite mustachioed multi-instrumentalist, Peter Anspach, the song made its debut on December 22, 2018 at Cantiki in Norwalk for Goosemas V, according to elgoose.net. This places it among the first batch of tunes penned by Peter that are considered Goose originals versus songs penned by him while in Great Blue such as “Doc Brown” or “Yeti.”
Since its introduction three years ago, the song has remained a staple in the Goose discography and is regularly in rotation, having last been played at the band’s now-iconic stint at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. Despite the song’s popularity, “White Lights” has yet to be recorded on any of Goose’s studio albums, joining the ranks of songs like “Creatures” and “This Old Sea.”
In terms of song structure, it is centered around a pretty standard melodic beginning that plays between two chords (A Major, D Sus2) that eventually rides out on that A Major interplay before unfolding into a jam that takes on its own character.
I’d be remiss to not mention Peter’s lyrics, which are just as mushy as biting into a soft cookie that just came out of the oven. The lyrics tell of passing romance in his Spanish class that doesn’t quite work out the way that he plans it out in his mind.
“Is it simple/ When I hit up your phone?/Do you ever think about how/I’m still sleeping alone?/Do you know me?/I sat behind you in Spanish,” Peter begins the tune, letting the listener know that they are in store for a tale of lost love.
Whether this is a tale of a past relationship gone awry or simply a missed connection is up for debate. However, Peter keeps up with the beautiful visuals for this unrequited love, even exclaiming that he can “see the future” and “see the stars.” The images in the lyrics are only accentuated more when you envision a December snowfall to lines like “White Lights/I saw you in a dream last night/You were floating to the outside/And I pulled you back in.”
By the end of the lyrics, the listener feels as though they just woke up from a dream though just as the lyrics end, the jam begins, which to many is the best part of the song. Different each time, the jam out of “White Lights” can range from something ethereal to a dance party, which is evident in the recommended versions below. In a way, you can say that the jam is like a Christmas present under a tree — never knowing what you’re going to get until you open it up.
Now for your favorite part. Here are five recommended versions that truly highlight the essence of “White Lights.”
Though this is a pretty standard version, this version stands out for anyone who was in attendance. During the performance of the song, fake snow started falling over the band and members of the crowd, doubling down on the winter elements of this tune. The look on Ben’s face as the “snow” began to accumulate on his cymbals is a moment that you wish you could bottle up and keep with you whenever you’re feeling down.
The sessions at T’s House at the beginning of the pandemic produced some of the most intimate moments from a band that was on the cusp of truly blowing up on the jam band scene. This version must be listened to with its segue into The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which borders on the line of being a spiritual experience.
This version absolutely rips from Goose’s first run at South Farms. Rick is in full control during this one. He gives off the vibe that this will become somewhat of a hose jam but eventually, he leads the band through a flashy and gaudy guitar extravaganza that is just as extra as an aluminum Christmas tree from the 1960s. Also, if you peep the official release of this version on YouTube, you will see The el Goose Times’ resident dance teacher Marc Komito absolutely lighting up “the rail.”
There must be something with Legend Valley and “White Lights” as this is the first of two times that this song appears on this list from a show at Legend Valley in Ohio. This version starts fairly traditional, following the same pattern as most other versions of “White Lights.” However, around the 9 minute mark, this version turns into a dance party with Peter killing it on the keys and laying down a rhythm that sends this jam into Type II territory.
Up for a challenge? Listen to this version and try to find all of the teases to other songs hidden within this tune. I guarantee you that you will find something new each time you listen. Outside of the teases galore, this version is unapologetic with each member getting their time to shine, which ultimately leads to a peak that, dare I say, makes this the current best version of “White Lights.”
Happy Goosemas, everyone!
Note: We are not affiliated, associated with or in any way officially connected to Goose.
We just love the band and community that much.