After early summer saw storied visits to Radio City Music Hall, The Peach Music Festival, and Newport Folk Festival followed by a well deserved but brief respite that felt longer than it was, Goose kicked off the second leg of the band’s Dripfield summer tour last night at The Chrysalis at Merriweather Park in Columbia, MD.
Nestled into Maryland’s suburban woods, the bright green asymmetric orb soars 60 feet into the air as if an alien butterfly dropped its pupa straight into Maryland’s rolling hills. Simple from a distance but stunningly complex up close, the futuristic urban art is composed of 7,700 aluminum tiles that meld to create a sculpture flowing among the trees in every direction and covering a 5,000-square-foot stage that hosts concerts on the grounds of the aptly named Symphony Park at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
As fans eagerly awaited showtime, they lounged casually on the grass enjoying generous shade and community while the Connecticut indie jam quintet got set to take the stage and kick off the much anticipated back end of its summer tour with what felt like an intimate keg party in the woods.
Goose took the stage intent on proving that this weekend’s shows were more than just a warmup for the band’s highly anticipated three-show run in Colorado next week, which will include its first-ever visit to the storied Red Rocks Ampitheatre. With a setlist nod to the pupal structure under which they stood, Goose opened with “Butterflies”, a Peter Anspach-led Great Blue tune debuted at Legend Valley this past June.
The party kicked into high gear with the opening notes of “Butter Rum”, Anspach dazzling with his pink Fender Stratocaster before moving to the singular piece of his keyboard rig best suited for tropical magic, the Vintage Vibe. Not to be outdone, guitarist Rick Mitarotonda followed with the kind of savage cowboy guitar licks that make Phil Lesh take notice and invite you into his band. (Yes, this actually happened and Rick will join Phil & Friends over this year’s edition of the group’s annual October run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.)
“Lead The Way” was next, getting muddy and testing darker improvisational waters early as Goose created in real time before emerging into a brighter space led by Andrew Goedde’s lights. I often wonder if new songs are ever born from listening back to live improvisation. If so, then Goose should go back and write words to that song they just wrote in the middle of that other song they were just playing. It was that good.
Attesting to both the privacy and exclusivity that we felt under the wooded canopy, Peter reminded the crowd, “This is the first show we haven’t streamed in a while so it’s just us here,” before dropping into “The Whales”, a song that has really evolved with three-way harmonies and soupy bass. As low end manager Trevor Weekz continued to make his mark on the evening, the band rode a sick bass drop into a cover of “My Generation” as percussionist Jeffrey Arevalo took his turn on lead vocals. As this 3:19 song by The Who stretched to the 18-minute mark, what started as free-for-all hillbilly rock turned heavy once again, feeling like the musical equivalent of a steep yet rewarding uphill climb before a raucous “Jive I” crested the mountain and brought the set to a satisfying close.
While relaxing and enjoying each other’s company during the break, the crowd was treated to a dose of Frank Sinatra, Kool & The Gang, and Trey Anastasio in turn while awaiting the second frame. Straight class.
Goose returned with an “All I Need” for the ages, an absolute behemoth that left its structure early and explored five separate jam segments along its 35-minute journey, each completely unique yet woven from a common thread that seemed to originate from Ben Atkind’s drumkit. Though at any time one could easily lose themself in Rick’s guitar, Pete’s keys, T’s bass, or Jeff and Ben’s drums, what was really on display under the green orb was the true five-as-one mind meld taking place among these long time friends.
Goose – “All I Need” – The Chrysalis At Merriweather Park – Columbia, MD – 8/12/22
A spectacular “The Old Man’s Boat” underscored the attention to detail and songwriting that allow Goose to keep one foot firmly planted in the band’s indie roots; stretching the tune close to the lauded 20-minute mark highlighted its presence in the jam community. Goose is firing on all cylinders and just 50 minutes and two songs into this second set it was clear why. “This moment is the only thing you know, you know,” the band reminded the audience as a seamless transition to “Creatures” took the set over the hour mark. An elusive cover of Otis Day & The Knights‘ “Shama Lama Ding Dong” followed, putting a relatively rare but emphatic punctuation mark on a flawless start to the tour.
Goose would take a quick encore break and return with “Tumble”, compact against its own standards, but powerful, dense, and complete in a 13-minute jaunt that took the band to the limits of the venue’s hard 11 p.m. curfew. Every show is the best show since the last show until the next show, and damn if it doesn’t feel good to say that again.
Goose returns to The Chrysalis tonight to complete the band’s tour-opening weekend run. For a full list of upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, click here.
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Setlist: Goose | 8.12.22 | The Chrysalis at Merriweather Park | Columbia, MD
Set 1: Butterflies, Butter Rum, Lead The Way, The Whales, My Generation (The Who), Jive I
Set 2: All I Need, The Old Man’s Boat > Creatures > Shama Lama Ding Dong (Otis Day & The Knights)