Goosemas X, IN SPACE!, continued its two-night, intergalactic voyage at Hampton Coliseum with two more planetary-themed sets and a guest sit-in from Virginia legend Bruce Hornsby on “The Way It Is”. Historically a holiday celebration, the tenth iteration of Goosemas shunned Christmas and broke course to deliver musically themed sets with eclectic covers around a Mirror planet (“Echochrome”) and a Fire planet (“Inferno Prime”) on Friday night  before recalibrating to a Bubble planet (“Puffaria”) and a Neon Jungle planet (“Vivadora”) in Saturday night’s first and second set, respectively.

While the opening night’s covers spanned artists including Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Kings of Leon, and Talking Heads, Saturday’s eclectic list of seven first-time-played covers ran the gamut from Post Malone, Nena, and Vampire Weekend in the Bubble Set to ELO, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Kool & The Gang in the Jungle Set. Not to be forgotten, of course, is Bruce Hornsby, who had no discernible connection to the interplanetary voyage, but that’s just “The Way It Is”.

The Will Thresher-produced theatrics began with Goosemas, IN SPACE!, an eight-minute trailer that set the stage for the weekend’s space voyage. With different stage sets representing each planet thus far, the general admission crowd was quick to note that Saturday’s stage was adorned with phalanges of what appeared to be white coral topped with large bubbles. The stage set lent credence to a supposed water theme that appeared to be confirmed by a secret run of posters that a few select fans were able to access by QR code.

As far as the storyline goes, time before and between sets was spent traversing the galaxy and accompanied by a playlist that appropriately included David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” before Goose piloted The Mothership to touch down and took the stage still dressed in the previous night’s space costumes. “Pancakes” kicked off the circular set with some early improvisation before floating seamlessly into the arena-sized reggae vibes of “Doobie Song”.

With Rick Mitarotonda on vocals, a cover of Post Malone’s “Circles” followed as a first-set stand-out before segueing into a bring-the-house-down version of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons”. The now apparently circular festivities continued as Goose turned a short stack into a tall stack with a segue back into “Pancakes” to close forty minutes of uninterrupted music.

The third cover of the set came by way of Vampire Weekend’s “Big Blue”. “Dripfield” followed, with its “falling around in circles” lyrics returning the set to thematic form as the band took the eponymous track of its heralded 2022 album to uncharted territory behind the savage double drumming of Ben Atkind and Jeffrey Arevalo. Another thematic wildcard followed with “Red Bird” as lighting director Andrew Goedde bathed the Mothership in vermillion hues and patiently followed the improvisational jam with the narrow geometry of arena-wide spotlights that wrapped the Hampton Coliseum from the stage all the way to the soundboard at the back of the floor.

What is now known to be a Bubble Set on the planet of “Puffaria” concluded with the thematically appropriate but otherwise head-scratching selection of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”, a song written by John Kellette in 1919 that was tapped in lieu of more obvious crowd-pleasing choices like Jack Johnson’s “Bubble Toes” or Jimmy Buffett’s “Bubbles Up”. The voice of the ship computer returned to guide the crowd into intermission and the Mothership on its final voyage to the fourth and final planet.

Setbreak music would clue the final destination of the intergalactic crusade as Steve Miller’s “Jungle Love”, Guns & Roses’ “Welcome To the Jungle”, and avowed Rick Mitarotonda fan John Mayer’s “Neon” played over the PA while the stage decorations were swapped out for the neon jungle trimmings of planet “Vivadora.”

With tropical flora and fauna illuminating the landscape, the voice of the Mothership computer counted down the final touchdown as Goose played what in real time sounded like an arena-sized live movie soundtrack built for the otherworldly jungles of Avatar. Rick’s guitar soon emerged from the resonant chimes and ambient forest noises and the band dropped into a cover of ELO’s “Jungle” that ran into some groovy type 2 territory replete with elephant and bird sounds that signaled the coming transition into an extended “Animal”.

Perhaps the most obvious choice for a space-themed Jungle Set from Goose’s original catalog followed with “Echo Of A Rose”, whose lyrics reference both space and jungles–”jungle rooms” to be precise–and reflections of the previous day’s voyage to the aptly titled Mirror Planet “Echocrome” surfaced when fast and slow versions of Echo sandwiched a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Run Through The Jungle”.

Interplanetary travel and B-movie narrative aside, the headline-stealing moment of this highly memorable weekend was no doubt the guest sit-in from Virginia native Bruce Hornsby on his song “The Way It Is”, with Hornsby on keys and trading verses with Mitarotonda. The tune used to take a regular turn in Goose’s sets during 2018 and 2019 but has since become a rarity.

Goose With Bruce Hornsby – “The Way It Is” (Bruce Hornsby) – 12/9/23

Percussionist Arevalo grabbed a guitar as Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” emerged in the middle of a set-closing “Empress Of Organos” sandwich, returning again to the set’s thematic form while Peter Anspach turned to his Clavinet to dial up the funk. After a short encore break, Goose returned with “Arcadia”.  The most-played song in the band’s history, “Arcadia” is the only tune played at both Goosemas I (11/9/2014) and Goosemas X. Inspired by a poetic term associated with bountiful natural splendor and harmony, the song was a fitting choice as the final thematic element of this astounding and creative nebular voyage, and the confetti cannons were a nice touch too.

With 83 shows in 63 venues, 30 states, and 8 countries in 2023, Goose approaches the new year with only a single show scheduled at Northlands Music Festival next June.

Check out pro-shot video of the entire show, and click below to view a collection of fan-shot videos, full-show audio, and a gallery of photos courtesy of photographer Daniel Ojeda. And until next time, Merry Goosemas and Happy New Year.

Goose | Hampton Coliseum | Hampton, VA | 12/9/23 [Full Show]

Goose – “Circles” (Post Malone) – 12/9/23

[Video: Dean Novin]

Goose – “Arcadia” – 12/9/23

[Video: Concert Club]

Goose – “99 Red Balloons” (Nena) – 12/9/23

[Video: Concert Club]

Goose – “Doobie Song” – 12/9/23

[Video: Seth Dye]

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Setlist: Goose | Hampton Coliseum | Hampton, VA | 12/9/23

Set 1: Pancakes -> Doobie Song > Circles [1] > 99 Red Balloons [2] > Pancakes, Big Blue [3] > Dripfield [4], Red Bird -> I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles [5]

Set 2: Jungle [6] -> Animal, Echo of a Rose [7] -> Run Through The Jungle [8] -> Echo of a Rose, The Way It Is (feat. Bruce Hornsby) [9], The Empress Of Organos, Jungle Boogie [10] -> The Empress Of Organos [11]

Encore: Arcadia [12]

Coach’s Notes:
[1] Post Malone. FTP.
[2] Nena. FTP.
[3] Vampire Weekend. FTP.
[4] Unfinished. With Animal tease from Rick.
[5] John Kellette. FTP.
[6] ELO. FTP.
[7] Fast version.
[8] Creedence Clearwater Revival. FTP.
[9] Bruce Hornsby. With Bruce Hornsby on keys and vocals.
[10] Kool & The Gang. FTP. With Jeff on guitar and Animal teases from Peter.
[11] With Jeff on guitar.
[12] With Jungle Boogie tease from Peter.

Show Notes: This show was part of Goosemas X aka Goosemas. In Space! Set One was a Bubble planet named “Puffaria”. Set Two was a Neon Jungle planet named “Vivadora”. Before/after each set, the ship landed and took off.