While nestled inside its chrysalis, a caterpillar’s old body dies while its new, winged form prepares to take flight. In truth, the process is more of a liquefaction followed by a transformation. As such, it couldn’t have been more fitting that the Chrysalis, a 60-foot structure modeled after the pupal stage of a butterfly, was host to Goose, who used music to liquify the constructs of space and time.
Picture perfect conditions conspired on Saturday to create an ideal setting, with temperatures in the mid-70s, zero humidity, generous shade, and most importantly, a relaxed atmosphere among concertgoers that helped to highlight the space’s natural beauty. Anticipation for the band’s upcoming Colorado run has been growing, and rightfully so, but on this night, the best piece of real estate in live music wasn’t an amphitheater carved out of stone but a dramatically oversized butterfly larva in Columbia, MD.
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One might expect that a band would hold a little something back with such an important and highly anticipated run waiting in the wings, but one would be wrong as Rick Mitarotonda is clearly incapable of moderating his talent. Perhaps emboldened by the image of Captain Jean Luc Picard on his t-shirt, Rick would boldly lead his crew to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, and to boldly go where no band has gone before.
During the opening “Elizabeth”, freedom of expression, motion, and emotion marked the early proceedings as the crowd fell into an easy and collective groove. “Atlas Dogs” followed, returning to its original arrangement which the double drummers hijacked and brought to a powerful climax before shifting gears into a more ambient space. Whereas “Atlas” ran at a more measured pace, “Echo Of A Rose” reached warp speed right out of the gate, never looking back as funky keys and twangy bass gave way to a sweet guitar tone that ultimately found its way to hyperspace.
“Yeti” kept the energy high, like a marlin navigating a coral reef at top speed, as the sky darkened and the stage exploded in a swirl of color. “Turbulence & The Night Rays” followed, a recent debut that not only highlights the accessibility of Goose’s growing catalog, but also showcases the full scale of the band’s production team, from lights to sound and everything in between. Seducing with its sultry bass lines, swelling organ, and poignantly delicate lyrics, “Jive II” put the finishing touches on a flawless, time-bending opening frame. (“Was I wrong to think it epic? / Was I naive to think it grand? / Was I wrong to think it magic?“)
Overheard during intermission, one fan told another, “That’s the best set of Goose I ever saw. I only saw three, but that’s the best one, ” before the second set lifted off with a 25-minute “Earthling Or Alien?”, an easy jam-of-the-year contender as Mitarotonda channeled his inner Picard and captained his ship to explore uncharted sonic territory in uncharacteristically dark spaces. “So Ready” followed without pause, Peter Anspach playing the most ethereal jazzy guitar line before throttling the tempo once again. Two songs, almost 40 minutes, a sip of water, and a deep breath before “Travelers”, a most appropriate lyrical selection for the metaphorical transition taking place within the Chrysalis. Perhaps when this butterfly lands in CO, the saga will be completed…
Goose – “So Ready”
Goose then put their signature on the Pat Benetar classic “Love Is A Battlefield” with an exploratory segment that would make the perfect soundtrack for piloting the USS Enterprise through deep space, before calmly landing back in the song’s familiar notes at its conclusion. Trevor Weekz preached the low end as “The Empress Of Organos” took off low and slow before launching his mates into yet another jam-of-the-night in a night full of them.
A “White Lights” encore wrapped up a weekend that will stand forever as an all-time Goose memory. Perfect venue, perfect music, perfect people to share it with. “We hope that someday we can play in that amphitheater over there,” said Peter as the show concluded. If every show continues to be the best show since the last show till the next show, then dare I say it shouldn’t be too long before this butterfly lands across the woods at Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Goose tour continues Tuesday in Colorado with two nights at Dillon Amphitheater before a Thursday visit to Red Rocks. Upcoming tour and ticketing information is available here.
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Setlist: Goose | The Chrysalis At Merriweather Park | Columbia, MD | 8/13/22
Set 1: Elizabeth, Atlas Dogs , Echo Of A Rose, Yeti, Turbulence & The Night Rays, Jive Il
Set 2: Earthling or Alien?, So Ready, Travelers > Love Is A Battlefield (Pat Benatar), The Empress Of Organos
Encore: White Lights
 Old arrangement