Alighting upon The Fillmore Philadelphia for the second consecutive night which marked its fourth show in a row, tenth in 12 nights, and 25th of this calendar year—all since January 26th—Goose put the finishing touches on its 2022 winter tour on Saturday with yet another instant classic. A night of raucous celebration and intense feeling, Goose pleased fans with elusive ballads and heavy hitters alike, spreading its wings and soaring with another three-plus hour effort that saw four different songs reach the esteemed 20-minute mark. Only two days ago, I swore off talking about “best this” and “greatest that”, and already today I find myself with occasion to remind you that this was most definitely the best show since the last show until the next show, probably even better than that.

After an aggressive start to its touring year and with a well-earned break scheduled until April 28th, it was clear from the get-go that Goose planned to leave it all out there and where better to do so than Philadelphia, a city known not just for its passion but for its ability to generate heat and intensity while giving it all back hand over fist. It felt almost as if the room never cleared and the band never left after Friday night’s blowout as Goose opened Saturday night’s tour closer with “All I Need”, in mid-show form from the first notes as the band’s improvisational proficiency unearthed second and third jams that stretched the reliable vehicle well past the 20-minute mark.

To watch Goose progress from tour to tour, show to show even, it’s no wonder that their fanbase continues to swell as newer fans solidify their commitment and more seasoned fans become more enveloped in Goose’s all-encompassing wingspan. The band’s songbook has evolved as fast as its fanbase of late, at last count having added at least 12 new songs since Goose’s first show of the year in Tempe, AZ on January 26th.

“California Magic”—played for just the third time since debuting on the opening night of winter tour at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.—has aged like an 18-year single malt in just 11 days. Even as this song has continued to color within the lines in its brief history, Rick Mitarotonda gave a master class in guitar tone in the confines of its composed guitar solos.

A dark and super-Ted outro (Jon “Coach” Lombardi) appropriately segued into the aptly titled “Dr. Darkness” as Rick continued his Ted Talk on tone. When Rick comes in for a solo, he doesn’t stop to shake hands and introduce himself, he just wraps you up in a big old bear hug. Whether you’re watching from the front row or enjoying Goose’s first-class production from the best seat in the house on your couch, noticing these guys enjoy one another as they pass smiles and laughs and sidelong glances back and forth only serves to make them all the more lovable.

The third song in a row to debut this year, Goose would continue to put its evolution on display and “fly for tomorrow tonight” with a 22-minute “Red Bird” that gets my hasty “Jam of the Year” ranking. Peter Anspach is a flowering songwriter, and this gem that he penned in homage to his mother just keeps climbing the leaderboard of Goose lore. Ben Atkind would take a beat from the kit to flap his proverbial wings as the band then settled into its three-way harmonies before it was time for this bird to fly. The crowd would absolutely lose their composure, jumping, waving their arms, even wildly swinging scarves in some cases, as Ben’s bald beats paved a path for Rick’s mind-blowing speed and dexterity, exploring the concept of infinity as “Red Bird” soared in full flight into the break.

As the house lights came on, the aforementioned scarf-wielding lunatic in the front row would serve an offering to the band by way of a 12-foot jump shot (March Madness is upon us, after all), a tie-dyed benefaction that landed at Rick’s feet. On the way to their dressing room, Peter would adorn the scarf as a cape—red wings for the Red Bird—before waving it over his head on the way to setbreak.

When the band returned 30 minutes later, Peter offered said fan the scarf back but it was clearly meant to be a gift and Anspach received it in kind, giving it a home around Luigi’s protective shoulders which Jon “Coach” Lombardi would then secure at the foot of Peter’s rig. I happen to know that there’s a lot of love and sweat equity baked into the DNA of that scarf, and never has a gift been given with more intention nor received more meaningfully. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Luigi with a tie-dyed prayer shawl in perpetuity from here on out, or perhaps it will replace the blanket draped over Peter’s organ, only time will tell.

Goose – The Scarf Ceremony – 3/12/22

[Video: Marc Komito]

A fourth consecutive 2022 debut opened the second set—this one from Goose’s upcoming Dripfield album set to drop June 24th—as “Hungersite” fell one minute short of being the fifth 20-minute offering of the evening, and it’s quite simply unbelievable to think of all that’s transpired since this song debuted at Goosemas VIII just ten shows and two weeks prior. As if Sam Bardani’s masterful house mix could let us forget as bass waves assaulted from 360 degrees, Rick would remark “Trevor Bass” before launching into a cover of David Grey’s “Please Forgive Me”. Goose’s cover game is on point, as is the meaning and intention behind their lyrics, be they written or borrowed:

Help me out here

All my words are falling short

And there’s so much I want to say

Want to tell you just how good it feels

When you look at me that way, ah

When you look at me that way

No matter how good Goose’s songwriting continues to be or how many new offerings keep winning hearts and climbing the depth charts, “Arcadia” will *always* be Goose’s opus. So while all these new songs have become standouts for their jam-ability and lyrical prowess alike, as well as offering more variety to the bottom line for touring fans who pine to see every show, there is perhaps no better evidence of Goose’s placement in the mainstream than a sold-out 2,500-cap room belting the opening verse to “Arcadia” at the top of their lungs. A hair-raising and goosebump-worthy moment, this was one for the books. Merriam-Webster had this to say of “Arcadia”, which properly explains the improvisational space that Goose explored:

In the poems of Arcadia, naive and ideal innocence is often unaffected by the passions of the larger world. Shepherds play their pipes and sigh with longing for flirtatious nymphs; shepherdesses sing to their flocks; and goat-footed nature gods cavort in the fields and woods. Arcadia is used to designate a place of rustic innocence and simple, quiet pleasure.

Goose – “Arcadia” – 3/12/22

[Video: aershko]

The room was hot and tour manager Sam King would cool down Mitarotonda with a cold beer before the band launched into a cover of Fat Freddy’s Drop’s “Fish In The Sea”, Goose funking it up as the room got down. Keeping the ocean theme alive, Goose would then play “This Old Sea” for the first time in 15 shows, its longest hiatus since being busted out after a 374-show gap during Bingo Tour.

Goose – “Fish in the Sea” – 3/12/22

[Video: Daniel Altice]

As a 17-year-old kid, I remember being at Grateful Dead shows with my two best friends who would hold each other during “Brokedown Palace” and I’ve longed to share moments like that with my loved one for the 30-plus years since. Goose is something that my wife and I share, and they have sparked a passion in our partnership heretofore unknown in our prior seventeen years of marriage. Goose came into our lives—and from what I understand with the band’s emergence during the pandemic the lives of many others, as well—during a time that amounts to nothing less than a spiritual revolution and I’m not here to debate whether it was the chicken or the egg. “This Old Sea” kept the renaissance alive, giving the lovers in the room a chance to dance in each other’s arms, oohing along with the bridge as they whispered the chorus in each other’s ears:

Oh my child worry no further lay your burden on me

And I will take your every trouble down to the bottom of this old sea

After a tour this special, a weekend this epic, and a night this transplendent, there was only one way to end this thing and everyone in the room knew it when Trevor Weekz‘s five-string exploded in the now familiar but once elusive first notes of “Factory Fiction”. Sheer musical bliss, this version had it all, from the danceable grooves that gave Peter a chance for an extended shoulder shimmy to Rick exploding deep psycho while Jeff Arevalo could do nothing more than rest his head on his hand drum and look on in awe as his best friend put on a display for the ages.  This was quintessential Goose, but all good things must end, and this one did, too, as the band would wind it up after a ballistic 23-minutes for a short encore break.

Returning to thank the city of Philadelphia as well as its road team, Goose would swing for the fences one more time, taking “Arrow” deep with speed and ferocity as Andrew Goedde had the room exploding in a rainbowed spiral of joy and Rick had one more chance to toy with the crowd, this time to the point that it looked he was actually messing with us with his dexterity and speed. And just like that, it was over, this was one for the books, for sure.

Find details about Goose’s upcoming tour here, which continues April 28th in North Charleston, SC. Full-show audio is available thanks to taper dueling.

Goose – The Fillmore Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – 3/12/22

 

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Setlist: Goose | The Fillmore | Philadelphia, PA | 3/12/22

Set One: All I Need, California Magic {1} > Dr. Darkness, Red Bird

Set Two: Hungersite, Please Forgive Me {2}, Arcadia, Fish in the Sea {3}, This Old Sea {1} > Factory Fiction

Encore: Arrow

Coach’s Notes:

{1} Super ted outro jam

{2} David Gray

{3} Fat Freddy’s Drop