After welcoming Billy Strings on Thursday night in Fairfax, VA, Trey Anastasio Band and Goose took the stage together again on night seven of eight in Syracuse, NY.

While both bands have been providing memorable shows nightly, the story has been—and continues to be—in the collaboration. Like chocolate and peanut butter before them, the tour slogan nails it perfectly: “Two great bands that taste better together.” Taboose tour patterns were for the most part restored last night as Trey joined Goose for “Madhuvan” and “Animal” before Rick Mitarotonda and Peter Anspach returned the favor to join TAB for “Mr. Completely”, “Plasma”, “A Wave Of Hope”, “Quantegy”, and “Money, Love And Change”.

Just as surely as Trey Anastasio has found the fountain of youth, so, too, has Goose leveled up yet again. What’s less clear is how Obi Wanastasio has harnessed the Jedi power of projected telepathy to mindmeld with eager pupil Rick Mitarotonda. The two play in and around each other to great effect, rarely taking their eyes off of each other when on stage, but it’s the eyes closed moments when each is locked onto identical notes of guitarmony that confound the historical record and leave fans shaking their heads in stunned appreciation. With very rare exceptions in isolated instances, Trey has never really had a second guitarist on stage in any format—until now, that is, and in Rick Mitarotonda (and Peter Anspach), he clearly found a couple young musicians who excite him.

As evidence of the bond that exists between these musicians in what’s turning out to be a historical collaboration, Trey remarked, “This tour is really just magical. See how deeply we are in this, they (Rick and Pete) don’t even know what we’re playing.” “We got it,” said Peter. “I know you do,” replied Trey.

Given the widespread availability of the livestreams and with both bands dropping audio within hours of each show, even fans who have been kept away in person have been able to experience the tour from afar. However, the marvels of technology fall woefully short when it comes to approximating what it’s like to actually be in the room where it happened. (Spoiler alert: it’s spectacular.) While the camera might be able to bring the viewer closer than 99% of those actually in the room, the joy in those shared glances translates to molecules of energy that can’t be fully perceived over digital media.

Even though doors opened a little late, Goose took the stage at the appointed time, Peter recognizing a “Welcome To SyraGOOSE” sign as thousands of fans still awaiting entry were queue up outside. The band would waste no time, though, diving right into an uninterrupted trio of ten-minute tracks with “Slow Ready” > “Jive I” > “Jive Lee”, the latter two marking the tour’s first entry in the Jive trilogy. Fans looking to complete the Jive-fecta remain hopeful that “Jive 2” will emerge at tonight’s tour closer in Reading, PA—perhaps with Papa Trey?

Goose – “Slow Ready” > “Jive I” – 11/18/22 [Pro-Shot]

Goose also saw fit to release an album yesterday, essentially a collection of Dripfield B-sides called the Undecided EP. The album’s name is a shoutout to track four, the song formerly known as “Bob Don”, which sources reveal Rick wrote at 14 years old, originally naming it “Undecided”. Regardless of how it’s labeled on your setlist, it was a timely selection on the day of its eponymous release. “Factory Fiction” would follow for the second time in three shows, the shortest show gap between plays in the history of a song that at one point was never to be played again before being earmarked as a special song for special occasions. For the record, if Goose wants to reinsert the song into the regular rotation and leave “Elmeg” for the special nights, then I’m here for it.

When this tour and its collaborative aspects were first announced on the heels of Radio City Music Hall, a few songs immediately came to mind for collaboration with Papa Trey, and “Madhuvan” tops that list. In fact, when it was played in Glens Falls without Big Red, some fans considered that to be blasphemous territory for the Better Together tour, but when repeats started surfacing on night four, hope was renewed. Last night delivered hand over fist, the always reliable jam vehicle providing perhaps the best opportunity yet for Trey and Rick to showcase the two-as-one, better-together fact that 12 strings are better than six.

As “Animal” closed Goose’s set proper, Russ Lawton took Jeffrey Arevalo’s place on the second drum kit while Jeff moved to the front of the stage to add percussive elements on the cowbell. As the Jedi master and his protege continued to dazzle, the progression from night one to night seven was clearly apparent. It’s easy to see–and feel–what Trey and Rick see in each other.

Goose – War Memorial Arena – Syracuse, NY – 11/18/22 – Full Set

Fortunately, there’s nothing better than a TAB after-party, and Trey Anastasio would return with his band minus Cyro Batista, who was absent battling health issues. Digging right into “I Never Needed You Like This Before”, TAB kept the energy high with “Blaze On” and “Wolfman’s Brother”. “Blazing Down The Twisted Wire”, “Sand”, and “Shine” continued the set before the horn section departed, leaving Trey alone to play a notable version of “46 Days” with a new quartet that would surely make his usual quartet proud.

Trey Anastasio Band – “I Never Needed You Like This Before” – 11/18/22 [Pro-Shot]

The horns then returned with Rick and Peter in tow to close out the main set with “Mr. Completely”, “Plasma”, and “A Wave Of Hope”. The end of the set seemed to transform the arena into a small jazz club as the dual guitarists found ample space in the pocket created by bassist Dezron Douglas, another musician on stage who deserves note for an album release yesterday. Breaking the pattern of full band collaboration, Rick and Peter alone stayed out for the encore of “Quantegy” and “Money, Love And Change”.

It’s yet to be revealed what other patterns might be broken during the tour’s final night: Will Goose welcome Trey for more than two songs? Will the TAB horns return during Goose’s set? What other collaborative surprises might be in store? Time reveals all. Another perfect show in a tour full of them, tonight is the final entry on a historical tour, the magic of which has changed everyone involved for the better.

Goose – “Slow Ready” > “Jive I” > “Jive Lee” – 11/18/22

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Goose – “Bob Don” – 11/18/22

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Goose – “Factory Fiction” – 11/18/22

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Goose With Trey Anastasio – “Madhuvan” – 11/18/22

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Goose With Trey Anastasio & Russ Lawton – “Animal” – 11/18/22

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Trey Anastasio Band With Rick Mitarotonda & Peter Anspach – “Money, Love and Change” – 11/18/22

[Video: ChakaHahn]

Trey Anastasio Band With Rick Mitarotonda & Peter Anspach – “Quantegy” – 11/18/22

[Video: themeboudin]

Trey Anastasio Band – War Memorial Arena – Syracuse, NY – 11/18/22 – Full Show

[Video: Skelator Revisited]

Click to view more videos

Setlist [via]: Goose | War Memorial Arena | Syracuse, NY | 11/18/22

Set: Slow Ready >  Jive I >  Jive Lee,  Bob Don,  Factory Fiction,  Madhuvan [1],  Animal [2]

Coach’s Notes:

[1] With Trey Anastasio on guitar.
[2] With Trey Anastasio on guitar and Russ Lawton on percussion.

Setlist [via]: Trey Anastasio Band | War Memorial Arena | Syracuse, NY | 11/18/22

Set: I Never Needed You Like This Before, Blaze On, Wolfman’s Brother, Blazing Down the Twisted Wire, Sand, Shine, 46 Days, Mr. Completely [1] > Plasma[1] > A Wave of Hope[1]

Encore: Quantegy [1] > Money, Love and Change [1]

[1] Rick Mitarotonda on guitar and Peter Anspach on keys.