Goose returned to The Met Philadelphia on Saturday looking to stay undefeated while improving its record to an all-time 4-0 in the City Of Brotherly Love. Well known for having some of the most passionate, diehard sports fans of any town in America, Philadelphia fans are dedicated, loyal, and obsessed with an intensity that can be somewhat offputting to those on opposing sidelines. Goose fans, by comparison, draw similar parallels.

As a visiting fan who’s been seeing my favorite bands in Philly for years, this writer has seen few other cities and their inhabitants do more to elevate a band, its vibe, and its product. And music, unlike sports which are divisive, is unforgiving in building community and that sense of connection manifested itself this weekend as two bird-loving fan bases crossed geographical boundaries to ink the contract on their lifelong bond. The Met Philly did its part to make Goose and its following feel extra welcome, too, greeting fans with dynamic liquid projections that wrapped the building’s entire Broad Street-facing facade and adorned its well-known marquis. Notably, the venue staff also deserve the highest marks for service with a smile.

Photo courtesy of The Met

Goose–Rick Mitarotonda, Peter Anspach, Ben Atkind, Trevor Weekz, and Jeff Arevalo–has been rapidly expanding its catalog and as quickly as the ink dries on the band’s newest material so, too, has it been given a regular turn in the setlist rotation. Of equal significance is how quickly these new additions have been climbing fans’ depth charts.

Friday night’s instant classic, for example, featured seven (out of 11 total) tracks that debuted in the last year. Saturday would continue in familiar fashion as “Dr. Darkness” drew its first show-opening call with a fresh intro that included an evil synth-generated laugh track from Peter Anspach. While the multi-instrumentalist barely touched his guitar at all on Friday night–with the exception of some one-handed fretwork during the “Echo” (Wiz Wit)–that changed quickly on Saturday as Anspach tested the limits of his wireless setup and went full guitar hero during the ensuing “Yeti”.

“Borne” is another relatively fresh song that shows Goose’s continuing commitment to creativity and keeping things fresh as this year-old tune has already been reworked with a fast-tempo version that made its second appearance since debuting at The Capitol Theatre two weeks back. This newer version is upbeat and vibrant in a way that somewhat conflicts with the emotional heft of the song’s original construction. After finding some big peaks around the halfway point of this nearly 30-minute first set improvisational centerpiece, Goose spent the remaining time exploring the type of easy and patient grooves that will provide the foundation for the song’s continued growth.

Goose – “Borne” [Pro-Shot] – 3/25/23

The first of the evening’s two covers followed as The Band’s “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” made its return after a 59-show gap dating back to last summer. “Butter Rum”, having established itself within the last year as another of the band’s more reliable jam vehicles, followed its highlight reel effort at The Cap a few weeks back with another very impressive rendering under lighting director Andrew Goedde’s swirling lights.

“Come on, Wizdini,” urged Mitarotonda, as Anspach aka The Wiz Kid aka Handini took an early solo and the two guitarists supplied what has become a heaping pile of evidence for the growing gaggle of fans who believe that two-guitar Goose pushes the band furthest beyond its creative comfort zone in the very best way. “Seekers On The Ridge Pts. 1 & 2” then put the finishing touches on another white-hot set in Philly.

After a short break, “Same Old Shenanigans” brought the heat right back up as “(dawn)” rose to set the second frame ablaze. Continuing its commitment to writing and playing new material with regularity, Goose then offered “Lead Up” for just the second time since its debut at The Cap. “So Ready” followed, Mitarotonda showing off his newly tinkered tone as he made this catalog staple and anthemic dance tune fresh and exciting with some new licks and leads before ultimately turning on a dime and leading his mates to quickly find glory in improvisation over the song’s waning minutes.

While it’s commonplace in jam band circles to assume that an improvisational spark might be found when a song etches into double-digit minutes, it’s perhaps even more impressive when a band can make clear and concise journeys off the beaten path for 3–4 minute sonic excursions. As the waning minutes of “So Ready” underscore this point, so, too, did Anspach agree with a simple exclamation, “Holy moly, Rick.”

With eight shows already knocked down in March, Goose affirmed its commitment to spending nearly half of its time onstage in pursuit of creating uniquely in-the-moment magic. While Friday night offered a unanimous jam-of-the-night winner with the “Philly Echo”, Saturday’s jam-heavy affair was more of a pick-your-pleasure kind of night.

For some, it might be the 30-minute first set double time “Borne” that explored darker space in its latter half while others might opt for the brighter and somewhat frenetic “Butter Rum”. Others still might point to the exploratory and patient “Rosewood Heart” that just nicked the 20-minute mark, but don’t tell that to the legion of Deadheads who will be so enamored with Rick’s “The Eleven” tease that they won’t be able to see past the 19-minute second-set closing “Dripfield”.

Or maybe others prefer brevity and it’ll be the night’s second cover, Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Turn On Your Lovelight”, which at just 8-minutes long in the encore slot was still enough to not only go Type II but also feature a full-on tease of “Secret Agent Man” as well. Whatever your style, whatever your pleasure, Goose has likely got you covered.

While Goose was unleashing some March Madness of its own to go 4-0 and stay undefeated for its career in Philadelphia, perhaps it’s fitting to add that somewhere during the “So Ready” peak the band’s hometown Connecticut Huskies were cutting down the nets in the West Region after blazing their way into this year’s Final Four (with local Philadelphia favorites Villanova down and out, this bore no ill effect on the evening’s proceedings). Goose loves Philly, that much is clear, and as long as they never have to play the Eagles, The City That Loves You Back will continue to live up to her name. Every show is the best show since the last show till the next show. Until then, fly, Goose, fly.

Goose’s spring tour continues on Tuesday with an intimate show at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. Paid subscribers to can livestream every show on this tour free of additional charges.

Goose – “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” (The Band) – 3/25/23

[Video: Dean Novin]

Goose – “Butter Rum” – 3/25/23

[Video: Marc Komito]

Goose – “Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 1 >  Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 2” – 3/25/23

[Video: aershko]

Goose – “So Ready” – 3/25/23

[Video: aershko]

View Videos

Goose – The Met Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA – 3/25/23 – Full Audio

[Audio: Rich Stoler]

Setlist: Goose | The Met Philadelphia | Philadelphia, PA | 3/25/23

Set 1: Dr. Darkness, Yeti, Borne[1] -> The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show[2], Butter Rum, Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 1 >  Seekers On The Ridge Pt. 2

Set 2: Same Old Shenanigans, Lead Up, So Ready, Rosewood Heart > Dripfield

Encore: Turn On Your Love Light[3]

“The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” tease in Borne
“Secret Agent Man” tease in Turn On Your Love Light

Coach’s Notes:
[1] Double time version. With W.S. Walcott Medicine Show teases from Rick.
[2] The Band.
[3] Bobby Blue Bland. With Secret Agent Man teases.