After having rescheduled last weekend’s shows due to weather, Goose returned to the stage at South Farms for back-to-back shows in their home state of Connecticut on Friday night.
Aside from one couple who drove fifteen hours only to be turned around upon learning of the postponement, the rest of us did well to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather as opposed to last week’s arctic tundra of snow and mud. Wait, what? Someone drove fifteen hours to see Goose?!?! They have indeed become that band, the one that their adoring flock rearranges vacation time for while driving unthinkable distances to catch a couple of their shows and any fears that Goose wouldn’t continue their momentum from a scorching 2019 to pandemic-ravaged 2020 have been completely unfounded. Goose is soaring in full flight, perhaps hotter now than ever as they are one of only a few bands to have consistently provided their enthusiastic fans with something to look forward to amidst otherwise lean times.
Related: COVID-19 Concert Cancellation Tracker: Gauging How Long The Event Shutdown Will Last [Updates]
Having first visited South Farms on September 16th and September 17th of this year, Goose has since played drive-in shows in Essex, VT, Swanzey, NH, Thornville, OH, Waynesville, NC, and Frederick, MD. What makes these shows at South Farms special, however, is the format that without question provides fans with the closest experience to a real concert since, well, real concerts, social distance notwithstanding. Unfortunately, with fall slowly turning to winter and the Coronavirus ramping up, this weekend’s shows will be the last at South Farms since the town of Morris issued a cease-and-desist order effective February 1, 2021. Our sincere thanks to the folks at Premier Concerts/Manic Presents for having the creativity and gumption to have turned this Litchfield County farm into the Northeast’s premier pandemic concert venue, as well as to Goose’s management team for booking the most aggressive schedule possible to keep fans satiated during an otherwise tough time for the music industry. Count me among those fans, bravo.
Even as Saturday’s show (rescheduled from 10/31) is anticipated to bear the full weight of Halloween, many fans took to the farm in costume providing an anything goes atmosphere of festivity and fun. Loosened up and primed to go by the seductive beats of DJ Doey Joey, the crowd was in fine form when the band appeared and opened with the instrumental “Lily’s Tiger”, a Great Blue cover featuring Peter Anspach on keys for the first of three firsts on the night. The jamband-indie-reggae sounds of “Butter Rum” followed, highlighted by an all too rare and momentous vocal appearance from drummer Ben Atkind for which he later jokingly apologized, “Sorry you had to hear me sing.”
Goose – “Lily’s Tiger” > “Butter Rum” – 11/6/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
In a set of bustouts, rarities, and newish material, “The Whales” was up next, a song first introduced at Bingo Tour in June of this year. Though not an official first, “It Burns Within” was played for the first time since Goosemas on December 22nd, 2014 and was likely unheard previously by all but the most serious and longtime fans. “All I Need” felt more energetic than the slow and melodic tag given to it by the master of all things setlist, Jon “Coach” Lombardi, especially as it segued into the first appearance of Johnny Rivers‘ “Secret Agent Man” in over two years. The band rode “Into The Myst” into the break.
Goose – “It Burns Within” > “All I Need” > “Secret Agent Man” – 11/6/20
[Video: Marc Komito]
The second set had a wholly different vibe, even as it opened with another Goose first, this one “Empress of Oreganos”, last played in front of a crowd by Goose’s predecessor Vasudo in July of 2012. A fan favorite cover of The Band’s “Don’t Do It” followed a dedication by guitarist Rick Mitarotonda, “This one’s for my lady.”
Things then got a little melty with an exploratory sequence of “Creatures” > “Honeybee” that for my money was one of the most satisfying segments of the night. As has become the norm, Goedde Sound & Light continues to dazzle with a mind-bending light show that seemed at times to not just complement but lead the music while also featuring a bunch of never before seen looks. Coupled with a massive soundscape and next level video work, Goose’s production team really elevates not just the music but the total experience. A fairly standard but engaging “Your Ocean” followed.
For my money, the entirety of the second set showcased everything there is to love about Goose, not least of all the debut of “Earthling Or Alien”, a song recently written by Anspach that left many fans in a pool of sweat with jaws agape. While it’s easy to lose yourself in Trevor Weekz’ bass lines, Ben Atkind’s beats, or Rick’s sensational guitar work and unique tone, it was Peter’s relatively new Hohner Clavinet that stole the show on this night. Synonymous with funk, this recent acquisition is new to both Peter’s setup and the stage at South Farms and Goose got down and dirty behind its unmistakable sounds.
As far as jamband funk goes, “Yeti” is always on the mind, even more so since releasing a studio single version last week, and there couldn’t have been a more perfect set placement for Great Blue’s most notable tune. Worthy of mention, a fan costumed as a Yeti raised smiles while perturbing security as he danced around the venue and in front of the band in defiance of the “don’t leave your pod edict.” As the band was running out of time, “We always find ourselves in this situation,” quipped Peter, without leaving the stage hey took a hard turn into what would have been the encore, an energizing jamband take on Run DMC’s “Ghostbuster Rap”.
After last weekend’s postponement, things couldn’t have come together more perfectly for Goose’ penultimate show of 2020. Having really risen the ranks and arrived as a force all their own, Goose has stayed true to their sound and grown their brand while shedding the musical comparisons that marked their earlier shows. Though Peter’s track suit will be greatly missed, if tonight follows the pattern of last year’s epic Halloween bash at Mercury Lounge we will likely see the band in musical costume for their next and last show of the year. Though anything is possible, Goose has a documented penchant for the 80’s and tackling the Top Gun soundtrack seems a natural choice. Thirty-four years ago, Maverick and Goose didn’t know how prescient their comments would be…
Maverick: “I feel the need…”.
Goose: “…the need for speed!”
Speculation is half the fun but regardless of what the band chooses, Goose is in remarkable form and tonight’s show figures to be an instant classic. Mach speed, baby.
Setlist: Goose | South Farms | Morris, CT | 11/6/20
Set One: Lily’s Tiger , Butter Rum , The Whales, It Burns Within , All I Need  > Secret Agent Man , Into The Myst
Set Two: Empress Of Organos , Don’t Do It , Creatures > Honeybee , Your Ocean, Earthling or Alien?  > Yeti, Ghostbusters Rap 
 Spuds on vocals
 LTP Göosemas 1 (12.22.14 Factory Underground • Norwalk, CT)
 Slow & Melodic version of AIN
 Johnny Rivers, LTP (7.12.18 BRYAC, Bridgeport, CT) Netflix & Chill
 FTP as Göose, LTP at last Vasudo Show (7.8.12 SPAC house)
 The Band, Kurt said “This ones for my lady”
 JonL on rain stick
 Run DMC