Though it doesn’t usually get mentioned in the same breath with storied venues like Radio City Music Hall and Red Rocks Amphitheatre–where Goose will play sold-out shows in two weeks and two months’ time, respectively–Legend Valley is one of those magical places that is slowly becoming home away from home for Goose, the indie-groove-jam band from Wilton, CT.
A venue rich in history with oversized dinosaurs dotting the landscape, it’s hard to deny the spiritual nature that pervades this Midwestern treasure. As Goose continues to write its history in real-time, Legend Valley is unfolding to be a big part of the storyline. Walking the grounds and taking in the surroundings, it was impossible not to notice the empathic spirit that is coming to define Goose’s burgeoning subculture where music and community are inextricably linked.
Exponential growth has defined Goose’s trajectory and that has been equally evident in the band’s songwriting as it is in the size of the venues it frequents. This past weekend saw three brand new song debuts: one each from Vasudo and Great Blue on Friday night and a third written by guitarist Rick Mitarotonda on Saturday. Overall, six of 12 songs played on Friday night debuted since October of last year and Saturday night that ratio rose to six of nine. Songs that used to reside at the top of my wishlist keep getting pushed back by new ones as Goose continues to turn that list on its head and rearrange what I think I know with apparently boundless creativity.
After opening the weekend set with a Friday night heater, Goose returned to the stage in the early afternoon hours on Saturday and treated campers to a 45-minute soundcheck that featured covers of Tommy James’ “Dragging The Line” and Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island”.
Returning at nightfall for the scheduled main event, multi-instrumentalist Peter Anspach got the festivities started in high fashion with “Elizabeth” before the band dug into the heart wrenching and emotional “Borne” off the upcoming Dripfield album set to drop June 24th. As the song neared its conclusion, Goose directed a fitting transition marked by evil synth and haunting drums amidst a cacophony of drones and loops and dials, a diabolic foundation that made the ensuing and aptly titled “Dr. Darkness” seem like a bedtime story in comparison to its sinister developments.
In a set that alternated between light and dark, new and old, “Drive” would follow and the eager crowd was primed to shake off the willies and get more down. Sometimes less is more and on this night “Drive” was less of a trip on the Autobahn and more of a lap around the block to smoke a bowl with deliberate joy. Goose fans are good dancers and everywhere one turned, folks were delighting in a healthy dose of soul fuel as Peter and Rick tossed tasty guitar licks across Legend Valley.
Continuing to color the emotional spectrum, Goose would then offer “Silver Rising”, a serious power ballad that adds significantly to the bottom line of the band’s growing catalog. Perhaps providing context to his affinity for full moons, Rick Mitarotonda set his inner wolf free in the land of dinosaurs, unleashing one of a kind guitar tone and world class vocals as he howled at the night sky amidst show-stopping three-part harmonies with Anspach and percussionist Jeffrey Arevalo. As “Silver Rising” has continued to develop, it has quickly become a giant in Goose’s growing catalog.
It’s almost time and I know
That the wolf will be set free
So run my love
I’m not the man I was
There’s a killer inside of me
All that I am fades away
The rage in my heart flows out thru my veins
I’m losing my mind but all I can do
Is empty my lungs to the sky
Cause I know that I’ll always belong to the moon
Soaring now, lyrical references to the moon continued with “Arrow”, rearranged in the studio for the upcoming Dripfield but true to its improvisational form on the live stage. “Arrow” is now my most seen Goose song with ten live viewings and every one is a unique gift, this particular version marked by Mitarotonda tapping what felt like an EDM vein. Twenty-four minutes later, I felt like I was sweating blood as the fire was extinguished by set break.
“Is this sh*t fun or what?” Anspach asked as Goose returned to the stage, tweaking the dials on his Moog as a synthy intro was followed by a knee-slapping downbeat that opened the second set and signaled the weekend’s third debut. The 22-minute set-opening “Animal” was met with immediate approval amidst thunderous applause and rowdy dancing as the recently-penned Mitarotonda tune furthered the weekend’s theme that Goose’s creativity might in fact be outpacing their trajectory. As bassist Trevor Weekz slapped his five-string, big fills from drummers Arevalo and Ben Atkind created space for the playful back-and-forth between Snakes and Handini on guitar and keys, respectively.
The lyrics from “A Western Sun”–”Go everywhere, feel everything, see everyone you want, yourself”—are anthemic in the Goose community. Only played 23 times since its inception in January 2017, this power ballad with screaming peaks has fallen to once-a-tour status and Legend Valley certainly felt like the right time and place. Stretching to the 20-minute mark, Goose found one-of-a-kind peaks in improvisational waters.
Even after the emotional release following “A Western Sun”, the crowd was absolutely freaking for the ensuing “Dripfield” and it was nothing short of glorious. Dripfield’s title track was probably the song of the night, quite the statement considering the heat that preceded it as even a light rain was met with welcome approval.
Goose – “Dripfield” – 6/11/22
As the song found a gentle outro, the stage lights went dim and Legend Valley went dark, the band sneaking off the stage amidst the crowd’s heavy cheering. I didn’t realize it was the encore break until the band returned, and I was somewhat surprised given the three-song, 60-minute set and lack of a curfew. It would later be revealed on the band’s handwritten setlist that a “Pancakes” > “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” > “Pancakes” sandwich had been stricken from the festivities. The amount of time or number of songs played are never fair critiques of live music, but I couldn’t help but feel that this otherwise flawless set felt incomplete, especially given the band’s mysterious exit.
Goose never stops having fun and silliness always prevails, so after the perplexing encore break, the band returned to present their first ever Golden Glizzy award, a trophy in the form of a hot dog hat presented to tour manager Sam King for being named MVP of the weekend amongst the band’s touring party, edging stage manager Padge McQuillan and percussionist Jeffrey Arevalo 7 to 6 to 3. Shoutout to Sam and the rest of the team from lights to sound to merch and everything in between as this traveling road show is dialed in and teeming with professionalism, as well as Goose for continuing to publicly recognize the crew/family that makes their production possible.
Festivities behind us, only “Rockdale” remained, the sixth of the evening’s nine songs to have debuted since last fall and already a fan favorite. Vintage Goose with its three-part harmonies and swampy funk, a “Factory Fiction” outro jam in the middle brought the crowd to a tizzy while demanding an immediate relisten. But all good things must end and the end of “Rockdale” signaled the end of Legend Valley ‘22 as “Ophelia” played over the PA and fireworks popped off toward the exit.
Establishing its commitment to an ever-expanding catalog, Goose continued to write their own special history in the land of dinosaurs where Legend Valley has become a bucket list destination for Goose fans. Every show is *still* the best show since the last show until the next show, and both nights of Legend Valley lived up to the hype. For details and ticketing information on Goose’ upcoming tour information including stops at Bonnaroo, Radio City Music Hall, The Peach Music Festival, and Red Rocks, click here. Full-show audio is available thanks to taper VINESY412 as well as a gallery of images from photographer Daniel Ojeda.
Goose – Legend Valley – Thornville, OH – 6/11/22 – Full Audio
Setlist: Goose | Legend Valley | Thornville, OH | 6/11/22
Set One: Elizabeth, Borne > Dr. Darkness, Drive, Silver Rising, Arrow
Set Two: Animal , Western Sun, Dripfield
Encore: Golden Glizzy Award , Rockdale > Factory Fiction Jam > Rockdale
 First ever awarded to tour manager Sam King