Goose took its fans on an extraterrestrial ride on Friday night as the Hampton Coliseum, affectionately known as the Mothership for its spaceship-like exterior, blasted off to planets of Fire and Ice during the first installment of a space-themed Goosemas weekend at the legendary Hampton, VA arena.

Four first-time-played covers included a 23-minute, jammed-out version of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” and a take on Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” during an ice-themed first set followed by Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire”, Kings Of Leon’s “Sex On Fire”, and a seven-year bust-out of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” (last played 5/20/2017) as part of a fire-themed second set laced with pyrotechnics. More abstract, thematic “mirrors” abounded throughout the show, too, as the band performed both fast and slow versions of originals “All I Need”, “Tumble” and “So/Slow Ready”.

Goosemas X, the tenth iteration of the band’s annual holiday celebration that started as a three-set pizza and keg party at the Factory Underground in Norwalk, CT in (12/20/14), also serves as the largest headlining sellout of Goose’s nine-year career—in a legendary venue that has also played host to notable acts ranging from Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, The Grateful Dead, and Phish. Beyond its staggering history, Hampton Coliseum provides a uniquely communal concert experience for fan. The Mothership is a live music time machine that strips away the layers of modern luxury that most other venues afford and gets down to the raw essence of rock and roll. Sound and sightlines are perfect from everywhere, the staff is outwardly kind and helpful, parking is free and easy, nearby hotels abound, and the full-arena general admission policy makes it easy to congregate with large groups of friends.

Pre-show music like David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity”, Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, and R.E.M.’s “Man On The Moon” served as telling clues while fans filed in and got their first look at a stage adorned with giant white stalagmite ice crystals. It was also hard not to notice that the band’s usual light rig, rightly impressive in its own right, had been expanded out in wings of the arena, wrapping all the way to the soundboard at the back of the floor.

As the voice of a ship computer counted down the proceedings from T-30 seconds, Goose–Rick Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach, Trevor Weekz, Ben Atkind, and Jeffrey Arevalo–materialized onstage in a haze of smoke in the same costumes worn in Goosemas, IN SPACE!, the 8-minute short film directed by Will Thresher that premiered a week ago to remind fans to dress the part. The crowd nailed its assignment, too, with an impressively large number of space suits outnumbering the usual Goosemas Santa suits 2:1.

“Earthling Or Alien?” predictably opened the show as LED light bars and neon spotlights enveloped Mothership’s interior courtesy of Andrew Goedde‘s sprawling. If one considers an alien to be the mirrored space version of an earthling, then the second hint of the mirrored developments unfolding was “All I Need”, which began with the slow, melodic version and switched to the fast version after the first chorus, Just a few minutes in, the first improvised jam of Goosemas X was underway, Captain Rick Picard leading the way with a barrage of staccato sixteeenth notes.

Goose – “All I Need” – 12/8/23

[Video: Marc Komito]

Jam band fans could be forgiven for being momentarily confused when the first notes of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors” echoed through the arena, but one and all were singing along in widespread agreement by the time Rick crooned the chorus. The spinners at the back of the floor twirled in all their glory as Peter Anspach tickled his Vintage Vibe. Nearly 23 minutes later, most had long ago forgotten that the jam of the night had originated from the 2013 pop hit. Slow/fast reflections continued as Goose began “Tumble” slow and vibey for a stretch of improv, then jolted into a wild, upbeat jam after the composed section for the set’s second consecutive 20+ minute monster.

Goose – “Mirrors” (Justin Timberlake) – 12/8/23
[Video: Seth Dye]

Goose then closed the five-song mirror set with Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”. Rick honored the King of Pop with rich vocals as every voice in the building sang along, imploring each other to be the change they want to see in the world, before the band disappeared in a haze of production smoke and whining computer drones.

Goose – “Man In The Mirror” (Michael Jackson) – 12/8/23
[Video: Concert Club]

Set one-of-four of Goosemas IN SPACE! was now firmly in the rearview mirror as the icy-white, crystalline stage was swapped out during intermission for what appeared to be a fiery cave. “Great Balls Of Fire” played over the P.A., the setbreak music continuing to clue attendees in to the nature of what was to come. If anyone was still unsure, Katy Perry’s “Fireworks” and the Grateful Dead’s “Fire On The Mountain” sealed the deal before the band engaged the countdown for set two.

“WARNING! WARNING!” echoed the voice of the ship computer as the second set kicked off in a haze of pyrotechnics with the familiar, frenetic notes of Jimi Hendrix’ “Fire”, percussionist Jeffery Arevalo took the reins on vocals before Rick did his part to honor Jimi’s unmistakable guitar tone with a smoldering solo.

Goose – “Fire” (Jimi Hendrix) [Pro-Shot] – 12/8/23

The third 20+ minute jam of the evening came next by way of “Creatures”, its lyrics appropriately pointing to both fire and ice as the music lent itself to the darkness of the fiery second set. A seamless transition into “(dawn)” followed, offering ten minutes of brightness in an otherwise red-hued set.

Another thematic, first-time-played cover followed with Kings of Leon’s “Sex On Fire”, perhaps obvious in hindsight but downright stunning in real time as pyrotechnics continued to rise from the red planet that was the Goosemas stage. Andrew Goedde provide yet another innovative and new look for the ensuing “Butter Rum” with vertical rainbows encircling the floor to the stage. “Arrow” followed with, you guessed it, real “FIYO,” and fell just short of being the fourth improv voyage of the night to reach the 20-minute mark. The inferno continued as Goose awakened Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” from a 7-year, 515-show slumber with flamethrower blasts both literal and musical.

Hampton, VA is not a European city so encores returned on the first night of Goosemas X with a mirrored “So Ready” > “Slow Ready” before a proper “Hot Tea” reached a boil on the back burner. The band once again disappeared in a haze of production smoke as the voice of the Mothership computer reminded us all—as if we could ever forget—that this was only the halfway point of Goosemas IN SPACE. No detail left unaccounted for until the very end, “Disco Inferno” was appropriately tapped as walkout music.

Two sets down and two to go. Predictions might abound–”2001″, anyone?–but the only thing left to do is expect the unexpected. Tonight’s sold-out second installment of Goosemas X is available to livestream on and will mark Goose’s last scheduled show until a headlining spot at Northlands Music Festival in June 2024. You can bet they’re ready to go out with a bang.

Below, check out photos and the full setlist from night one of Goosemas X at Hampton Coliseum. For a full list of upcoming Goose tour dates, head here.

Goose – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA – 12/8/23 – Full Show

Setlist [via]: Goose | Hampton Coliseum | Hampton, VA | 12/8/23

Set 1: Earthling or Alien?, All I Need[1], Mirrors[2], Tumble[3], Man in the Mirror[4]

Set 2: Fire[5], Creatures > (dawn), Sex On Fire[6], Butter Rum, Arrow[7] > Burning Down the House[8]

Encore: So Ready > Slow Ready[9] > Hot Tea

Coach’s Notes:
[1] Began as slow, melodic version and switched to “fast” version after the first chorus.
[2] Justin Timberlake. FTP.
[3] Vibey Tumble. Played with regular Tumble composed section and jam.
[4] Michael Jackson. FTP.
[5] Jimi Hendrix. FTP.
[6] Kings of Leon. FTP.
[7] Unfinished.
[8] Talking Heads.
[9] Jam only.

Show Notes: This show was part of Goosemas X. Set One was a Mirror planet named “Echochrome.” Set Two was a Fire planet named “Inferno Prime.” Before and after each set, the ship landed and took off. Burning Down the House was played for the first time since May 20, 2017.


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