While the live event industry has ground to a halt in 2020, Goose has been riding a wave of momentum carried from 2019’s Peach Music Festival that has inexplicably gained steam during otherwise lean times. Utilizing socially-distanced formats to deliver big-time shows, Goose has not only perpetuated their relevance but also given their exponentially expanding gaggle of supporters a much needed dose of normalcy with a super high fun quotient.
Having postponed their scheduled October 31st show due to weather, Goose celebrated Halloween a week late for the second show of a two-night run on Saturday at South Farms in Morris, CT. Continuing a tradition started last year at New York City’s Mercury Lounge when they donned Flint Tropic jerseys and covered tracks from Will Ferrel’s Semi-Pro, last night saw the band dressed as characters from the movie Donnie Darko, in musical costume to boot as tracks from the 2001 psychological thriller infiltrated their setlist.
Last night’s Halloween show was a celebration of all things Goose, a fowl assault on the senses that firmly explains why I find myself amongst the fans that have fallen so hard and fast for this Connecticut quintet. While these recaps are generally afforded a certain tone that often fails to convey the excitement of the experience, I promised myself I wouldn’t let that happen today.
First and foremost, I am a fan just like you. Ticket procurement, anticipation, road trips, pregames, postgames, and hangs with my crew, they’re all part of the total package that informs the experience. Somewhere along the line, I started documenting my escapades so I could remember and relive them and that resonated with people.
As these things go, I started writing for more “professional” outlets and lost some of the voice that has become the hallmark of my prose in the process. Last night Goose put together a performance for the record books, forcing me to decide early on that this review merited the full force of my voice with all the excitement and individuality that I could muster.
I’ve been super lucky to have had the front pod center for each of the four shows at South Farms and believe me when I say that this good fortune is not lost on me. The defining characteristic of live music is the transfer of communal energy that exists amongst the band and the crowd; it is tangible, it is real, and it is the very thing that keeps us all coming back.
From my first Goose show on Halloween 2019 to my seventh on Halloween 2020, Goose has never failed to deliver. As a fan, it’s always my goal to give at least a little bit back as the band needs to feel our energy, too. Especially in a socially distanced venue, the person in the front row center has an obligation to uphold the highest standards of both energy and fun. As one who’s been blessed with energy for days and one of the few people in the venue that the band could see, I wanted to make sure that I brought my very best, taking “my job” seriously and never once letting down. If you’ve ever envisioned yourself in the front row, I’d like to hope that I honored the standard upheld by your dreams, raging like you wish you would have if you had been given the chance to switch places.
The appointed hour had finally arrived and Trevor Weekz was first to the stage, dressed as Frank the imaginary bunny from Donnie Darko. Frank was followed shortly by Donnie Darko (Rick Mitarotonda) and Hulk Hogan (Jeff Aravelo) with Peter Anspach (silver track suit, natch) and Ben Atkind (viking hat) dressed as a couple other characters from a movie I’ve never seen and would definitely not have identified without my good friend the internet.
As such, the soundtrack references were all lost on me including the opening cover of Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon”. A glorious version of “Arrow” emphatically announced that this was going to be one of those special nights as Peter took his new clav for an early spin, mixing in some tasty funk into “Arrow”‘s reggae rhythms. More reggae vibes came as the band segued into “Doobie Song” which was cut from the previous night’s setlist due to time constraints.
“Slow Ready”, the slow and seductive version of “So Ready”, seemed to defy its namesake as it broke into a full-on rave brought to you by Goedde Sound & Light. As Goose’s sound and lighting team continues to elevate, it bears repeating that this production team has firmly entrenched themselves as best in class. Shoutout to Andrew Goedde in particular, one of the best young lighting directors in the business.
The combo of “Jive I” > “Jive Lee”—brought on by the deadly combo of drums, bass, and clav—was an exercise in funk as Rick, never to be outdone, responded with a guitar solo for the ages for which my notes read “Legend!”. It was also at this point that I emphatically decided not to tone this review down in the interest of professionalism, to share with you the full sweat-soaked details of my experience. Also worth noting, it felt great to be part of a collective groove as the crowd seemed to be in full boogie mode for the duration. The Donnie Darko soundtrack bookended the set as Goose next covered Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels” for the first time ever as they put the finishing touches on what felt like a damn-near perfect opening frame.
Goose – Set One – South Farms – Morris, CT – 11/7/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
Picking up where they left off, Goose honored their musical costume again with the night’s third debut, this one a cover of Duran Duran’s “Notorious” marked in the early goings by a Tweekz bass solo and Peter’s funky clav. The ensuing “Tumble” was characterized with an “Axel F jam” (Beverly Hills Cop, 1984) and a “Hot Tease” (Hot Tea tease) that foretold the good times yet to come.
Goose – “Notorious” (Duran Duran) > “Tumble” – South Farms – Morris, CT – 11/7/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
A second original debut on consecutive nights, “Seekers On The Ridge”, had a noticeable change in progression along with another of one those face-melting Rick guitar solos that marked the segue from part one to part two as indicated in Coach’s notes. As this four show mini-series of South Farms shows has yet to see a repeat, “Hot Tea” finally materialized in full. A jam band dance anthem if ever there was one, the anticipation and the teases instantly vaulted this Halloween 2020 edition into all-time favorite status. Just shy of 20 minutes later, I was grateful for a moment’s reprieve to catch my wind as Rick and Peter engaged in a little banter that I quite frankly couldn’t hear a word of over the heavy sound of my breath.
Goose – “Seekers on the Ridge” > “Hot Tea” – South Farms – Morris, CT – 11/7/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
A triumphant “Wysteria Lane” followed, more of a victory lap than anything, that featured a ridiculous and extended “Hot Tea”-prise (!) before revisiting “Head Over Heels” to close the show with plenty of time to walk off stage before returning for a proper encore.
Being unfamiliar with the show’s theme, I may have been the only fan in the venue caught by surprise for the ensuing cover of “Mad World”, another Tears For Fears number from the Donnie Darko soundtrack. Regardless of my preparedness or lack thereof, Goose was tailor made to cover this tune and kicked it off with sexy and seductive grooves on the heels of Rick’s lead vocals before finding a signature Goose peak to bring it all home.
Goose – “Mad World” (Tears For Fears) – South Farms – Morris, CT – 11/7/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
A special show by a special band, characterize this one under the heading: instant classic. As longtime fan and semi-professional Goose analyst Bruce Robinson commented to me after “Hot Tea”, “They’re playing like grownups tonight.” Well said, sir, well said.
In a manner of speaking, Goose saved 2020 and this show was especially poignant and celebratory on a day when America had just elected its 46th president. Goose has been a lot of things to a lot of people, especially during a time when a lot of folks have suffered. Make no mistake about it, these local Connecticut boys have ascended a national stage to stardom, but they’re also just like you and me and nothing characterizes that fact more beautifully than having caught Peter in conversation with an 11 year-old fan after the show.
Giving of yourself to make people feel important while making personal connections, being proud of who you are and standing proudly for what you believe in, that’s the stuff that matters. We see you, Goose! In spite of it all, congratulations on a great year and I think I speak for all of us when I say that I’m looking forward to whatever’s next.
19,483 glorious steps.
Scroll down to check out a gallery of images courtesy of photographer Chris Quinn.
Setlist: Goose | South Farms | Morris, CT | 11/7/20
Set One: The Killing Moon , Arrow > Doobie Song > Slow Ready, Jive I > Jive Lee, Head Over Heels 
Set Two: Notorious , Tumble [5a], Seekers on the Ridge pt. 1  > Seekers on the Ridge pt. 2  > Hot Tea, Wysteria Lane  > Head Over Heels 
Encore: Mad World 
 Echo & The Bunnymen, FTP
 Tears For Fears, FTP
 Duran Duran, FTP. Hot Teases
[5a] Axel F tease, Hot Tease (Hot Tea teases)
 Hot Tease (Hot Tea teases)
 Tears For Fears
Tonight’s Netflox & Chill movie was Donnie Darko