Pigeons Playing Ping Pong and Goose made the latest stop on their ongoing run of winter shows together at Covington, KY’s Madison Theatre on Wednesday night. The sold-out performance saw Pigeons return to their element in the room where the band held its DisNYE New Year’s Eve celebration in 2017.

Goose kicked off the night’s festivities as they took the stage at 8 p.m. sharp, while, unfortunately, hundreds of fans were still lined up on the Covington sidewalk waiting to get in. The band’s set began with “Time to Flee” followed by “Indian River”, as people slowly started trickling in and filling up the 1,200 person-capacity venue. Even with the upstairs viewing area, the multi-leveled floor pits started to get pretty cozy as Goose transitioned into “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, where guitarist/keyboardist Peter Anspach got a chance to show off his bird-like backing vocals. During the “Arrow” that followed, Goose welcomed Pigeons’ guitarist Jeremy Schon for the latter half of the jam going into “Butter Rum”, which Schon also stuck around for. The resulting jam in “Butter Rum” featured Schon and Goose’s Rick Mitarotonda (both lead guitarists) working in tandem to really create something special melodically, rather than just taking turns shredding. Finally, Goose bid farewell to Schon and delivered a set-closing “Madhuavan”.

It was then Pigeons’ time to ride, as the band started their own performance with a throwback to their sophomore album with “Pop Off”. Pigeons gave a thoroughly-dark instrumental intro as the room collectively scratched its chin wondering how they’d begin the show. It was immediately apparent that the band members were connecting to each other as they kept the energy going into another time-tested tune, “Funk E. Zekiel”. The hits kept on coming with the upbeat melody of “Burning Up My Time”, segueing into a rare first-set “Horizon”, which brought the crowd to a roar as Pigeons took their time with the fan-favorite song.

By this point, the band had already played a couple of repeats from the show the previous Thursday at the Agora Theatre in Cleveland, but Pigeons immediately proved that, despite the setlist, this was going to be a whole new show with completely different energy.

Next up came “Lightning”, a song where Pigeons has taken the opportunity on several occasions to bring up members of Goose on this tour, but alas it was not meant to be in Covington. “Lightning” was followed by the happy-go-lucky “Fortress”, which transitioned straight into the instrumental madness of “Skipjack” to close out the first set.

As the lights went back down to mark the beginning of the second set, singer/guitarist Greg Ormont returned to the stage and took the time to thank not only Covington, but also neighboring Cincinnati, Madison (presumably the venue and not the Kentucky county over 100 miles away), and Essential Productions for getting the band back into what has become a special room for Pigeons.

Opening the second frame with “Paperboy”, Pigeons showed they still had plenty of energy left for the rest of the night. The “King Kong” that followed got its legs from an extended interplay between the rhythm section of drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos and bassist Ben Carrey. After the raging “King Kong”, the band settled into the blues groove of “J-Town”, lulling the audience into a false sense of security that the band might finally be taking it down a notch and relaxing, only to blow everyone back with the huge sound of Led Zeppelin‘s “Black Dog”. After the second verse, Pigeons jumped out of Zepp mode and right back to the band’s original sound for the jam, with Schon still holding onto the Jimmy Page chorus-y guitar tone to stay in full rock star mode.

A reprise of “J-Town” led straight into “Move Like That”, a number that the band debuted while on the West Coast and has been consistently testing out on the road since. The song shows potential for being a vehicle for short, punchy jams that give audiences their money’s worth without the song getting too drawn out, all while wrapped around an infectious guitar lick. After the relatively brief “Move Like That”, Pigeons had to once again spread its wings with a leisurely jam in “Whoopie”, that is until the massive peak came in at the end like something out of “Also Sprach Zarathustra”.

As the set began to wind down, Pigeons launched into a topical “Sunny Day”, as the band’s midwest leg of the tour has been plagued by sunny skies and unseasonable warmth. Finally, the band had time for just one more and went with the straightforward funk of “F.U.” to close out the second set by getting a big F You from the audience for all of the band’s hard work on stage.

For the encore, to put a bow on what had been a remarkable performance, Pigeons went with the controversial call of “Yo Soy Fiesta”. While everyone in the crowd may not have been the biggest fan of the Tex-Mex equivalent of a salsa song, everyone had to get down regardless as this was the last hurrah.

Scroll down to see some fan-shot videos of Goose and Pigeons at Madison Theatre, as well as Goose’s pro-shot video of “Arrow > Butter Rum” featuring Schon.

Goose – “Arrow > Butter Rum” – 3/11/20

[Video: Goose]

Goose – “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers) – 3/11/20

[Video: BeefVan Mey]

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong – “Pop Off”  – 3/11/20

[Video: BeefVan Mey]

View Videos

On Thursday, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong announced that the band’s next three shows alongside Goose in Tennessee and Georgia are postponed due to coronavirus concerns. Head to Pigeons’ website for up-to-date information on the cancellations.

Photographer Adam Berta was on-site for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong with Goose at the Madison Theatre in Covington, KY and captured a gallery of images, available below.

Setlist: Goose | Madison Theatre | Covington, KY | 3/11/20

Set: Time To Flee > Indian River > Lovely Day (Bill Withers) > Arrow [1] > Butter Rum [1], Madhuavn

[1] featuring Jeremy Schon

Setlist: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong | Madison Theatre | Covington, KY | 3/11/20

Set one: Pop Off, Funk E Zekiel > Burning Up My Time, Horizon, Lightning, Fortress > Skipjack

Set two: Paperboy, King Kong, J-Town > Black Dog (Led Zeppelin) > J-Town > Move Like That, Whoopie, Sunny Day, F.U.

Encore: Yo Soy Fiesta