On July 19th, 2018, Goose, a local upstart from Norwalk, CT, played a show at the Levitt Pavilion in neighboring Westport. Mostly a local band back then, Goose was first starting to explore areas outside the Northeast and even this hometown show was lightly attended. Fast forward to the present day, Goose has garnered massive attention while headlining and selling out national tours in increasingly larger venues from coast to coast but it felt decidedly different when Orebolo took the stage Wednesday night at Levitt Pavilion. Orebolo, Spanish for Orebolo, is an “aGoosetic” trio consisting of Rick Mitarotonda (guitar/vocals), Peter Anspach (guitar/vocals), and Jeffrey Arevalo (upright bass/vocals).

Though there may be a measure of confusion over how to classify its indie-groove-jam band parent act Goose, there’s no such dilemma when it comes to Orebolo. Often upbeat but at times melancholy, the acoustic format is highly accessible, the music textured and blissful. At any time, fans could be seen dancing in a general admission area up front or relaxing in a beach chair a little further back. There’s no wrong way to enjoy these tunes and no age restrictions by which to abide, evidenced by a young father hand drumming a double-wide stroller for the duration of the night.

Sitting on the bank of the Saugatuck River where it meets the Long Island Sound, the Levitt Pavilion shares a parking lot with the local library which does nothing to discourage the venue’s small-town feel. On a beautiful Wednesday night in the Connecticut suburbs, this was very much a hometown and heartfelt show, as the band was eager to play for a crowd of nephews, nieces, neighbors, and friends.

The evening’s setlist could be easily divided into one of three categories, the first being true-to-form but acoustic versions of Goose originals. “Echo Of A Rose”, “Honeybee”, “It Burns Within”, “Seekers On The Ridge”, “Animal”, and “Silver Rising” fit well within this bucket, the acoustic format lending an air of je ne sais quoi that inexplicably elevated the otherwise stripped down offerings.

Orebolo – “Silver Rising” – 9/7/22

[Video: Marc Komito]

Orebolo – “Rockdale” [Pro-Shot] – 9/7/22

Cover songs describes the next chunk of selections, ranging from The National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio”, a song debuted during Goose’s sold-out performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre just last month, to a trio of cuts from Grateful Dead. “New Speedway Boogie” was the first of the three, a mid-first set selection that seemed to break the party open. Only played once by Goose in 2014 and never before by Orebolo, this surprise choice was met with widespread approval in the form of stroller drumming and unencumbered dancing.

“Brokedown Palace” and “U.S. Blues” took the traditional encore slot though they weren’t quite encores, the band not quite leaving the stage to end the second set as Rick quipped, “We can walk off or not. No? Cool, cool.” For those keeping score, Goose has only played “Brokedown Palace” once during a much-lauded visit to Legend Valley (6/18/21) and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to be treated to Robert Hunter’s lyrics than as a nightcap on the banks of the Saugatuck. This trio of cuts from the Grateful Dead’s beloved songbook also served to whet the appetite for late October when Mitarotonda will join Phil Lesh during the annual Phil & Friends run at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY.

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

Orebolo – “Brokedown Palace” (Grateful Dead) – 9/7/22

[Video: Marc Komito]

Orebolo – “U.S. Blues” (Grateful Dead) – 9/7/22

[Video: Dean Novin]

The last and most exciting category, especially for the Goose faithful, is originals that were reworked with new arrangements more suitable to the acoustic format. “Hungersite”, “Tumble”, “Arrow”, and “Dripfield” fit this bill, each so sweet, so special, and so uniquely different from normal. “Hungersite” started sweetly behind Mitarotonda’s angelic guitar licks before taking a turn on Jeff’s heavy bass drops and finding a space that really highlighted the stringed interplay between him and Anspach. I find many of Goose’s most exciting and off-script jams occur when Peter’s guitar is in hand, and Orebolo’s strictly two-guitar format feeds into his ability both to solo and create a complementary space for Rick to make magic.

“Dripfield”, in the set-closing position discounting the fact that the band never left the stage, was uncharacteristically upbeat and jolly in its acoustic arrangement. With a noticeable rise in tempo, it felt vivacious and buoyant, a total changeup from its usual pensive gloom. Midway through, Jeb would reach for his bow to usher in a little psychedelia from the dual guitarists before Rick showcased his tender side with vocals laden with latent energy, soft and powerful all at once which built in power until the trio reached a climax.

Orebolo – “Dripfield” – 9/7/22

[Video: Kami]

There was a decided sense of ease and comfort amongst the trio last night, very much the product of its experiences as the three men humbly bore the spoils of their success in front of a very appreciative local crowd. I can’t imagine what this show felt like for them, especially in comparison with prior experiences on this very stage, but the term “full circle” certainly comes to mind. Orebolo shows are warm, intimate, and rare. Peter admitted as much before the last song, “We love this and we don’t get to do it very often. Thanks for supporting us in this format.” If I’m counting correctly, this was just the group’s tenth in front of a live audience. Each one feels like something special, last night sure did.

River gonna take me
Sing me sweet and sleepy
Sing me sweet and sleepy
All the way back back home
It’s a far gone lullaby
Sung many years ago
Mama, mama, many worlds I’ve come
Since I first left home

Another Goose-adjacent side project, drummer Ben Atkind’s band ElephantProof, will share the stage at Levitt Pavilion with local talent Funky Dawgz Brass Band on September 17 for a free end-of-summer show. Goose’s fall tour commences on September 30th in Richmond, VA. For tickets and a full list of tour dates head here.

Setlist: Orebolo | Levitt Pavilion | Westport, CT | 9/7/22

Set One: Echo Of A Rose, Honeybee, Rockdale, It Burns Within, New Speedway Boogie [1] [2], Dim Lights, Hungersite, Tumble

Set Two: Arrow, Bloodbuzz Ohio [3], Seekers On The Ridge Pts. 1 & 2, Animal, Silver Rising, Dripfield, Brokedown Palace [1] [2], US Blues [1]

[1] Grateful Dead
[2] FTP
[3] The National