When Goose last set foot in Los Angeles, they pointed to a prosperous future on the live music scene. The quirky, contemplative quintet from Norwalk, CT was technically the undercard to Pigeons Playing Ping Pong during consecutive sellouts at the famed Troubadour in West Hollywood back in February 2020. But make no mistake—and no offense to PPPP—the hype on those nights centered squarely on the relative newcomers from New England.

Even then, it was apparent—if not downright obvious—that Goose would be loosed upon a larger venue as a headliner, and soon.

Then came March 2020, and the world as we knew it flipped upside down. Goose, though, seemed to make the most of the ensuing lockdown. They turned uncertainty into an opportunity to experiment with what live performance could be in a quarantined world, and to express themselves in ways that pushed the boundaries of what a jam band could become.

For Goose’s burbling fanbase beyond the Rocky Mountains, there was ample opportunity to follow the group’s evolution through virtual broadcasts, including chiming in on the crowd-sourced setlists of the livestreamed Bingo Tour. But as the band curated drive-in shows around the Northeast and, eventually, returned to full-on attended concerts in 2021, fans on the West Coast could do little more than observe from afar, save for those whose passion put them on long flights to the East Coast.

That is, until the final Friday of January 2022, when the jam scene’s darlings made their triumphant return to L.A.—not as an eye-opening supporting act, but a full-blown marquee artist with two sets in front of a packed house at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood.

For those who hadn’t tracked Goose quite as closely since the start of the pandemic, the setlist might’ve seemed like it was pulled from outer space. Save for stirring renditions of “Arcadia” and “Creatures” during the first set, as well as covers of Bruce Hornsby & The Range’s “The Way It Is” and Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head”, the band’s nearly three-hour performance was populated primarily by COVID-era additions to its catalog.

There were the warm, pseudo-eerie vibes of “Honeybee” to open the evening’s proceedings and the longing in the voice of lead singer/guitarist Rick Mitarotonda on “Travelers”. There was Peter Anspach stepping away (briefly) from his Luigi-adorned keys to add more guitar to the uplifting live debut of Goose’s just-released single, “Borne”, along with the more familiar, barnyard romp of “Flodown” to send the crowd into intermission.

Goose – “Honeybee” – Los Angeles, CA – 1/28/22

Goose returned from the set break for an epic run that began with the funk and twang of a new original, “Atlas Dogs”, continued through both parts of “Seekers on the Ridge,” and met its match with the rhythmic variety of “Arrow”.

Following the aforementioned foray into Kylie Minogue’s repertoire, Goose closed out the second set with the attention-grabbing tandem of “White Lights” and “Loose Ends” before bounding back out for an ethereal encore with “726”.

From end to end, Goose captivated the crowd’s collective imagination with jam after epic jam. Some were tinged with the band’s signature infusion of lightly layered electronica. Others were more analog, albeit fitting well within the traditions set forth by the band’s forebears, Phish chief among them.

That’s not to say that these New Englanders—with a rhythm section comprised of the always-shaded Trevor Weekz on bass, the well-protected Ben Atkind on drums, and the curly-haired Jeff Arevalo on percussion—are bound to follow in perfect lockstep with musical mavens from Vermont or, say, Northern California. If anything, Goose has made it clear that they’re equipped, in skill and song, to guide the scene from which they emerged into a new era.

How soon might Goose assume that leadership mantle? They should have a better answer for that question later this year, when they return to Southern California for a show that Peter teased toward the end of Goose’s Friday night at the Fonda.

Given Goose’s current trajectory, don’t be surprised if their next L.A. outing is a similar step-up in size and hype to their last one.

Scroll down to check out galleries of images from Goose at The Fonda Theatre courtesy of photographer Josh Martin and Matthew Rea. Full audio is available thanks to taper wharfratjoe.

Goose – The Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA – 1/28/22

Setlist: Goose | The Fonda Theatre | Los Angeles, CA | 1/28/22

Set One: Honeybee {1}, Arcadia, Travelers, The Way It Is {2}, Creatures, Borne {3}, Flodown

Set Two: Atlas Dogs {4}, Seekers On The Ridge Pt 1 & Pt 2 , Arrow > Can’t Get You Outta My Head {5} > Arrow, White Lights > Loose Ends

Encore: 726

Coach’s Notes:

{1} JonL on rain stick
{2} Bruce Hornsby
{3} New Original, FTP
{4} New Original, FTP, After the song Snakes said “This song is called cheeseburger in paradise”
{5} Kylie Minogue