Goose kicked off Memorial Day weekend in the band’s home state of Connecticut, opening its summer tour on Friday at the Westville Music Bowl before spreading its wings from coast to coast in a tour that will stretch well beyond Labor Day on the far side of summer. Having amply warmed up with a couple festival sets and a mini-tour that bridged April showers with May flowers, there was no rust or opening night jitters as Goose was polished and ready to unleash what is now a two-truck production on expectant fans who eagerly await the release of Dripfield, Goose’ third studio album that drops in a few short weeks in the midst of its eponymous tour.

Connecting its music with its humanity, Goose earlier this week announced an initiative in which the band will contribute a portion of merch proceeds to different nonprofits at each show on summer tour. Proceeds from this weekend’s shows will benefit Kindness Over Muscular Dystrophy, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

From the band’s socials, “We’re super excited to have our friend Conner Curran and his family coming to our Westville shows, and in a few weeks in Indy we’ll see another friend Will Kuhn in Indianapolis. Conner and Will both have both been diagnosed with Duchene and KOMD’s mission provides hope for people like them suffering from this incurable disease.” Seeing this young man and his family dancing on the side of the stage set the tone for what would be a memorable evening.

(If you wish to donate or find out more about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, click here.)

Goose has been known to play games with its setlists, especially when it comes to teasing The Wood Brothers’ “Atlas” but last night was no joke as Goose initiated the unofficial start to summer with the once-a-tour rarity that would be its only cover of the night. The crowd was raring to go and Goose both recognized and bested their energy with the always rowdy “Flodown”, the second most-played tune in the catalog only behind “Arcadia”.

Goose – “Atlas” (The Wood Brothers) – 5/27/22

A low bass rumble escorted the aptly named “Dr. Darkness” before giving way to “Pancakes”, a recent addition to the catalog after having migrated over from Peter Anspach’s side project Great Blue. As Peter tickled the ivories on the red Nord adorned with the beloved Gooseboat sticker, the band settled into an easy groove, all five members playing in an eyes-closed trance. Though relatively compact against Goose’s standards, this 15-minute jam was quite simply quintessential Goose and the fact that this is a Great Blue song drives that point home even more.

Following this top-tier improvisation was “Seekers On The Ridge Pts. 1 & 2”, an arena rock anthem that’s sure to dazzle beneath the bright lights of the Peach Stage in one month’s time. “Hot Tea” will never not be the most fun tune in Goose’s catalog and last night’s 19-minute set-closing behemoth underscored that point emphatically. The beauty of the live performance is how each version has its own signature and the band put its John Hancock all over this one, Trevor Weekz popping off on his five-string as guitarist Rich Mitarotonda explored the boundaries of his fretboard and Peter worked his Vintage Vibe in a daylight highlight to be long remembered.

Goose – “Hot Tea” – 5/27/22

[Video: Kami]

As day turned to night and the second set got underway, lighting director Andrew Goedde was eager to show off his new toys, unveiling an expanded rig that washed the night sky with color, movement, and light. As Goose continues its exponential growth curve, there’s no doubt as to whether its production team can keep up. As a matter of fact, it might actually be fair to question whether 26-year-old phenom AG6 might be leading the way. An exploratory “Madhuvan” settled into darker territory as Goedde explored the reds of his color wheel, ultimately following the rainbow as he painted the summer night with muted pastels before a rainbow explosion ushered in a bright climax. Mark this one as an instant classic.

Don’t you know that the light rides through your veins.

With a decidedly different feel under darker skies, the second set continued with “Creatures”, drummer Ben Atkind leading the way while Jeffrey Arevalo added tasty flourishes on his hand drums and the band explored every manner of sonic territory. Trevor Weeks continued to assert himself on the low end as the band worked a diabolical transition into a relatively short stack of a “Pancakes” reprise before the clinic in concert lighting continued with “Wysteria Lane”, Goose again improvising and quickly finding comfort in the unknown.

Related: Goose Embraces Musical Contradictions On New Single, “Arrow”, Off Forthcoming Album [Watch]

“Same Old Shenanigans” followed, a song that’s seen a fairly regular return to the rotation since its inclusion on last year’s Shenanigans Nite Club. Following suit with its placement on the aforementioned album, “Dawn” would follow, replete with its likely unintended but nevertheless noticeable lyrical references to Goose’s new lighting rig that very well may have been the night’s MVP.

It’s a new light creeping out.

“Rockdale”, stricken from the setlist earlier, would return in the encore slot, Peter working his Hohner clavinet as the band got down and dirty before giving way to best in class three-part harmonies and putting the finishing touches on a perfect show. Though both sets were outstanding, there was stark contrast between the dark and light offerings of the first and second sets, the latter feeling more like a proper rock and roll concert–ya know, “may the nighttime be your home” and all that.

After an exemplary start to the Dripfield tour, Goose and its gaggle have a lot to look forward to this summer with stops at Boston Calling, Legend Valley, Radio City Music Hall, The Peach Festival, and Red Rocks Amphitheatre looming large on the calendar. Goose skates with home-ice advantage again tonight, May 28th, with the back end of its homestand at the always welcoming Westville Music Bowl. Every show is *still* the best show since the last show till the next show. Find your next best show with ticketing and tour information here. Scroll down for a gallery of images courtesy of photographer Charlie Francis.

Setlist: Goose | Westville Music Bowl | New Haven, CT | 5/27/22

Set One: Atlas (The Wood Brothers), Flowdown, Dr. Darkness, Pancakes, Seekers On The Ridge (Pt. 1 & 2), Hot Tea

Set Two: Madhuvan, Creatures, Pancakes, Wysteria Lane, S.O.S. -> Dawn

Encore: Rockdale