In early October, the winged outfit Goose landed in Colorado to close out their latest tour, offering fans the opportunity to catch three solid nights of goodness set against the backdrop of the Front Range. Announcing two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheatre months earlier, these initial closing dates would mark the band’s second trip to the historic venue and sold out quickly, the dedicated community knowing well and good that the band would surely go out on a Rocky Mountain high note to say goodbye to their summer tour of fire. As the days drew closer and fans of the band solidified their travel plans, excitement growing all the while, the flock got a pleasant shock in early September with the announcement of a completely unexpected third date taking place just ninety minutes north of Morrison on the grounds of Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Touting an 11,000-person capacity, this event would be the first at the collegiate campus in several years after its last performance ended with an artist inciting the audience to an unacceptable level of debauchery that forced the hand of the university to pause and rethink their stance on live music events. With three days and nights of great fall weather in the Centennial State, fans from across the land were stoked to take flight with the quintet that has become a fast favorite for many.
Day One - October 5th
Arriving at the venue by early afternoon, the day was beaming with the warm sun that hovered overhead, setting the scene with clear blue skies and a perfect early fall temperature. With such incredible conditions, it was no surprise to find the usual suspects in the typical places already lining up to seize a spot as close as possible for the evening’s performance, while others took in the day on the hiking trails, engaging each other, and meandering about enjoying the surroundings and the perfection of the moment. With this first show falling on a Thursday, the early birds were sparse and the vibe was lax. Much like those posting up to get the best GA spot possible, others in search of the merch were already forming their own lines to pick up the first of two panels of the comic book-themed Conscious Alliance poster for night one, a monocular Kraken taking on a whale with one of the iconic Red Rocks for its head. Whether carrying cans of food or touting cash, all were excited to be getting in early on a great piece of art, contributing to a great cause, and capping it all off in front of some great improvisation with Goose.
As time passed by, the parking lots were slow to fill, not for a lack of want, but again, the aspect of this being a work day kept many from arriving until closer to door time. Like many of their shows, the band provided the opportunity for attendees to purchase VIP perks, which included a preferred reservation of the first seventeen rows, a complimentary variant poster, and a laminate that made it easier for security to manage the roped-off section. Alongside the goodies, VIP holders also received early entry a full fifteen minutes before the general admission crowd, providing those the opportunity to grab additional garb and posters as well as mark their territory.
With VIPs finally settled, security opened the floodgates and watching the masses run the flights of sandstone steps was nothing short of a wild stampede: eyes wide and filled with adrenaline, positing between best-laid plans and adaptation for new selections in light of imagined spots already occupied, all the while exerting the body in a mad dash combination of cardio and cerebral calamity that finally all came to rest once tarps, clothing, or any other article had been strewn in an effort to save real estate for others making their way in. Even in the rested aftermath, many faces still carried an unsettled appearance, wondering if they had made the right decision in their choosing, pondering moving before even more seats were filled. Eventually, the chaos subsided and the relaxed vibe that had been seen out in the parking lots and lines resumed inside the venue, the perfect climate further prompting fans of all ages to engage with one another, sharing in the groove of the pre-game experience, and exploring the venue with multiple hours to spare.
As the empty cantilevered rows continued to become sparser with open space and the sun moved westward, dipping behind Creation Rock, the energy of the nearly full venue pulsed with anticipation, the amassed calling out for the band with the final notes of every piece of house music being pumped out over the PA, only to find themselves disappointed time and time again. Observing the conflict of occupational responsibility, it seemed that the band was affording every effort to get those still en route from the nine-to-five in before taking the stage, delaying start time by at least thirty minutes, and coming to call at half past seven.
When the next pause in the pre-show music came and was not met with more filler, the house lights finally dimmed, and the crowd exploded with welcome, displaying their fandom with more “Goooooooooooose!” calls than clapping, inviting the band to join them and bring their best. The youthful smile of Peter Anspach was the first to emerge from the shadows at stage right, his caricaturist mustache and glasses completing his appearance of joy, as he strolled across the full width of the stage to his keyed corner. Slinging on his Fender, he checked in with the relentless crowd, “How we doing, Red Rocks?”, a question met with great enthusiasm. Moving on, Anspach polled each section of the venue about how they were feeling and received bursts of cheer as he panned the audience, eventually ending with a general “Thanks for coming to the show”, bringing everyone together for one final moment of appreciation.
With some minor tuning, Rick Mitarotonda locked eyes with Anspach counted out the beat with a bounce, and opened the evening with a cover of “Killing Moon” by Echo and The Bunnymen. Heavy-handed in form and resounding with similar lyrical stylings as Goose’s originals, this one was performed for only the fourth time ever and unfolded nicely. From the first notes, the sound was dialed in, crisp and clear, and the band sounded confident and on point. Following the cover, the original “Same Old Shenanigans” was up next. Anspach dropped the Strat and moved to the bench to deliver some very fulfilling organ work. Mitarotonda delivered the vocals independently and with eyes closed, belting out every syllable with soul. With the reading of ‘Who turned out the lights?’, the stage went black for a moment and then relit to a complex of syncopation between drummer Ben Atkind and percussionist Jeff Arevalo as the rest of the band filled in around the sticks, the crowd freaking in the blackout. As “S.O.S” faded, the pulse of “Atlas Dogs” ascended out of the final cymbal resonance and was cheered on by the grateful masses. This one soared with some great peaks from Mitarotonda and thundered with toms and congas throughout the whole tune. Serving up some exotic stew, the band proceeded to tell the tale of “Turbulence and The Night Rays” navigating their way down the rock and roll road. The final five minutes of this nearly ten-minute piece had the whole place leaving the ground as the band hit the upper atmosphere with a tension-filled ending.
With Trevor Weekz leading the way, his guttural low end closing its grasp around everyone in the venue, the foreboding “Bob Don” hit hard. Weekz bombed the crowd repeatedly with heavy blows as Mitarotonda powered through with sustain and distortion, crashing wave after wave, delivering grit and grime on the spectators. With its accompanying extended outro, the ending of “Don” slipped into recovery with the rising of “(dawn)”. Played for only the third time ever since its release on the 2021 album Shenanigans Nite Club, this one clocked in at just under fifteen minutes and was pulled off as though the band had been playing it for years. Moving from first light into the full bright, this one’s rays poured out in all directions, bathing everyone in its cosmic glow, its brilliance taking on many forms and shapes. Anspach’s piano lead seven minutes in was supple and sweet and was complemented by Mitarotonda’s effect-laden guitar solo. Completing the final verse of positive empowerment, Anspach burst at the seams with the Hammond / Leslie Combo, unleashing the spin in everyone. Like the preceding compliment, Mitarotonda followed suit with some shredding and face-melting solos that just kept pushing the envelope into ecstasy, the band feeding off each other and reaching for more. This one climbed like a set closer, but alas forty-five minutes in, the band had plenty more in store.
Anspach’s Great Blue original “Pancakes” was up next and brought many a smile with its odd lyrical imagery before moving into a true dance fest that had everyone getting down. Anspach manned the Clavinet with an infectious funk groove that had the brotherhood smiling and moving in place, while many in the crowd raised their hands to the sky, praying for more. No musical celebration would be complete without some amazing bass lines and Weekz slapped it out in spades, thrusting the unit forward, Mitarotonda and Anspach working up some great tension and release moments. At about twelve minutes, the mood shifted from frenzy’s edge back to a bluesy stomp and with the added space, Weekz again took the opportunity to belt out the low end while the higher registries played out around his proclamation. The last few minutes of the prolonged piece climbed with revival before returning to the familiar territory of the head, leaving the crowd applauding the extended adventure.
To close out the set, Anspach dedicated “So Ready” to comedian Bert Kreischer who had performed on the same stage the night before. This one clocking in at a mere four and a half minutes on the Shenanigans album got stretched to more than three times that number and finished huge. In the end, the quintet sounded like 1970s Santana at the height of his large band's era, coming off full and channeling rather than playing, getting as high in the moment as those out front losing their marbles.
Coming back for more, the band eased into set two with the dance trance tune “Creatures”. Having professed his love for suspending reality, Mitarotonda’s reading of this oddity suited the silhouette of this one with its angular beat and echoing melody and when the band arrived at the bridge, this component breathed deep and warmed the listener as if surfacing from the depths of the hypnotic murk of the stanzas. Finishing out the words and general distinction of the song, the band moved into groove territory with Anspach’s synth waves sweeping through the venue and spinning the dance floor. Weekz dialed in a boogie and Arevalo cracked at the timbales, all the while Atkind shuffled and Mitarotonda chopped out the bones. Three more minutes and Mitarotonda moved into the driver seat, laying out bluesy leads that showed his agility and dexterity, making easy work of the fretboard. The build-up just kept going over multiple minutes and the capacity of Red Rocks was at full tilt.
At eighteen minutes, the band took a left turn into Motown and brought out the soul of Otis Day and The Knights’ “Shama Lama Ding Dong”. This rarity and diehard fan favorite was welcomed by many from the opening lines, leaving others scratching their heads, the piece somewhat unrecognizable for newcomers to the nest until the lyrics got going. Anspach once again got first dibs on the solo and laid out a beautiful subdued piano sound lead. This dynamic soon changed as the piano man began playing faster and faster, his grin expanding to a wide beam with every measure as he hunched over the keys swinging his head and giggling, playing with abandon as if no one else was even watching, fueling his delight out of his love for performing. Mitarotonda followed, beginning his soul ascension slow and steady, eventually reaching his apex of flurried notes, his eyes closed and face twisted with every shedding of feeling through his instrument, only opening his eyes to a flush crowd once he returned to the lyrics, smiling and nodding to everyone staring him down from the first few rows.
With an intro akin to MJ’s “Thriller”, the celebratory blowout continued with “Feel It Now”. Incorporating breakbeats and a flow with bounce, the Anspach-led tune kept everyone having a great time. As a newer addition to the setlists, making its first appearance in March of this year, this is one the band is obviously having a great time experimenting with, this version clocking in at over nine minutes.
Since the beginning of the set, the band had pretty much been putting it into overdrive every step of the way, and so it was at this point that they showed their softer side with the beloved breathe easy “This Old Sea”. It came as no surprise that the band could make sweet love just as easily by dialing it back as they do by jumping into hyperspace. Mitarotonda’s soloing throughout was deep and thoughtful, matched by his outpouring of the lyrical read, belting it out with conviction and genuine flavor that just resonated personally with all those listening.
As the final chords of the ballad splintered and faded, the biggest bust out of the weekend was the compositional maze of “The Labyrinth”. Pulling from Shenanigans once again and not played since their last trip to Colorado in 2022, making for a 103-show gap, this one starts with a stroll, its borders wide, slowly snaking its way through measure after measure. A little bit of funk, a little bit space, everyone floated along enjoying the journey. The Weekz bass character filled the gaps perfectly and Anspach’s organ work showed his mastery even further that all he touches is gold. At ten minutes, Mitarotonda took over and pushed everyone to rapture. The steadfast timekeepers of Arevalo and Atkind kept everything grounded no matter how high everyone was getting. At the crown of the climb, no one in the stands could help but laugh, cry, and/or throw their hands in the air in a state of ecstatic reckoning that just kept elevating to the next level with every passing moment. The second movement tempered the fever and took on more intricate architecture than the widespread inferno of the first half. With odd time signatures and multiple changes, this portion filled the auditory palette with endless flavors and textures and demonstrated how tuned in these gentlemen are to each other, as no one stepped off the path while delivering as individuals. Moving into the final stretch at nineteen minutes and reading like a chase scene from an old film, the closing section shifted again, making a playful sprint for the end. With drummers in double time and surf guitar adding to the unsettling impending doom rumbling out of the bassman, the end came to a quick close and when it was said and done, twenty-four minutes had passed and everyone was the better for it.
Without a pause, the party kept rolling with the very danceable “Hot Tea”. Coming off of their 2022 release Dripfield, this was nineteen minutes of fluid fever! From synth to organ, often playing with a hand on both simultaneously, Anspach just showed off his chops for the first half and everyone stepped out of the way to let him do his thing. Act two put the spotlight on Weekz early on, affording the stoic pillar the opportunity to play to the high end, inciting the people to recognition. Mitarotonda took over shortly thereafter and began an inspiring ascent that contained many, many climbs to the top of the tune, finally resolving in a full-blown blaze of hellfire and glee, no one left standing motionless and everyone throwing their appendages in every direction. When it all finished out, Anspach belted out “Thank you, Red Rocks!” on the downbeat, and the end of the set stopped cold to a rousing reciprocating thank you from the crowd.
Parting only for a few minutes, the rabid fans welcomed the group back for the encore, but before getting to it, Gooseman Anspach shared his appreciation of the evening with the crowd:
Yo! Thank you so much, Colorado! Playing here is so fu#$ing sick. Love it. I just want to thank you guys so much for making this happen two nights in a row. We’re so lucky. Is anyone coming back tomorrow? I will see you tomorrow night. I am looking forward to it.
Bringing night one to an end with one more from Shenanigans, “Flodown” with its tainted hoedown package felt like a barnyard stomp interspersed with spasmodic oddity, but eventually making its way into being more of the love child of a country banger and Caribbean calypso. There was even a portion where the band could have even slipped into The Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, but reeled it back in for a big finish. With smiles all around, the band faced the crowd from their respective places and waved in gratitude, as Anspach verbalized, “See you tomorrow night, thanks guys so much”, sending the band into the shadow of stage right and leaving the audience applauding for a full minute in afterglow. As the lights came up, one could see a smile on everyone in the place and that all who had shown up at the beginning had remained until the end.
Day Two - October 6th
Arriving early once again, the Friday pre-show scene was much different. As many could easily justify escaping work for a three-day weekend, the lines were much longer than they had been the day before. From a climate standpoint, the sky was overcast with only short bouts of sunshine, all of which put a cooler spin on the activities of the day as well as warned of a significant temperature difference forecasted once the sun dipped below the horizon. As Red Rocks tends to draw repeat customers, many vets were layered with extra clothing and hats, ensuring that whatever the weather had in store, there would be no damper on this evening’s experience. Talking to others about the previous night and speculating on the near future, many hoped that the band would play harder on this eve in order to keep both themselves and the audience warm throughout what everyone was expecting to be a great continuation of this musical weekend. As it was the night prior, when it was time for the doors to swing wide, those who had ponied up for VIP status were allowed in first with the rest of the horde held back for fifteen, at which the typical mad dash ensued. The difference here was that with the pre-door lines being more significant than Thursday, section after section filled up quickly and the whole of Red Rocks early on appeared full and ready to go, the energy palpable, like animals in the starting gate, ready to run the race.
Firing up earlier at around ten after seven, the band once again entered from stage right and followed the wardrobe choice of the audience, donning jackets and hats as they too felt the chill of the fall evening. Anspach was the first to speak and checked in within moments of making his way to keyboard korner, “How we doing Red Rocks?”. As his gaze panned the wall of people laid out before the stage, he caught a young fan holding a sign in the first few rows and responded with a glow and a sparkle, “Happy twelfth birthday!”, sending a smile out from the young gosling ready to get down. Percussionist Jeff Arevalo followed suit and wished his own mother a happy birthday as well. Before starting the set, Anspach, with a propensity for antics, did some quick cephalopodic calisthenics, prompting Arevalo to tell him to “get it all out”, causing an increase in the pitch and level of the audience’s continued welcome. Arevalo’s comment and the crowd’s reaction to Anspach's octopus-like appendages prompted guitarist Rick Mitarotonda to get in the mix by addressing the crowd, “You guys come here often?”, taking the fandom to a whole other level.
With everyone now wearing a smile, Mitarotonda let out a quick guitar belt, getting night two started with the familiar opening to “Echo Of A Rose”. Following Mitarotonda’s lead, Anspach got right to work supporting his teammates with the Clav. From the start, bassist Trevor Weekz sounded more pronounced in the mix than the night prior and although his face was subdued as usual, his fingerplay spoke volumes as he popped and bent notes, sharing his inner joy. This upbeat reggae kick (and the cooling temperatures) had the crowd getting down and the whole band fired up sounding just as comfortable as they did on night one. This one with its surreal script kept within the lines for multiple minutes, but when lucky minute seven hit, minor chords bled into some great disintegrating shred by Mitarotonda, and without the band uttering a word, let everyone know that Goose was going to make sure to keep everyone warm.
The yet-to-be studio release, “Mr Action” followed “Rose”, and its fun contemporary side kept everyone bobbing. Originally debuted last December in Boulder and only played fifteen times since this jaunt was tight and bright. As with so many of the group’s tunes, the changes in composition are inviting through and through and everyone’s playing moves through them effortlessly. Alternating solos, Anspach and Mitarotonda went swinging for the fences, the keyboard king shifting between piano and organ, pounding it out with a guarantee to make anyone smile, including himself, while the git-box guru twisted the note in rhythm and lead, slipping between propagator and support with ease and solidarity. By the end of the eight-minute wild ride of “Mr Action”, the wings of Goose were fanning the musical flame.
With the crowd calling audible thank yous and asking for more, Ben Atkind paused to encourage everyone to support a benefit this month the band was holding to raise funds for breast cancer awareness, further demonstrating that this young band on the rise has its priorities moving in the right direction.
Getting back to the matter at hand, another fresh creation for the year 2023, “Lead Up” with its anthemic rock edge got the two guitar treatment, Anspach leaving the bench and slinging on the Fender. As stringed sparks flew, Ben Atkind and Jeff Arevalo machined the path, slipping between the light ride of the stanzas and the explosive chorus volume with confidence. Equally, Mitarotonda’s dynamic singing waxed and waned from ghostly and sensitive to overtly passionate and ridden with conviction. Anspach’s spot-on harmonies just added to the gut-wrenching dynamic of this choice.
One of Goose’s fortes is their love of the unconventional cover and with the next cover, this attribute was once again substantiated. Played for the first time ever and recognized from the onset, Prince’s “I Would Die For You” got the fanfare from the audience once Mitarotonda started singing. Returning to the piano sound, Anspach added to the vocals from the bench. Atkind’s consistent attack of the high hat was impressive, relentless in strength and perfect meter, he rode those cymbals to the break. This song exemplifies what so many already know about Goose: this group can take a song that is iconic and familiar and turn it right into a jam vehicle and even on its first outing, make the improvisation sound polished, exacting, and push it through to the next level. With Mitarotonda’s dark tone, Anspach’s synth waves, and Weekz’ throbbing pulse, Red Rocks’ dance floor was wriggling and writhing with the 80’s classic turned ten-minute psychedelic interstellar journey.
As the memory of The Purple One faded off, the band descended into sensitivity and emotional glow with a seventeen-minute version of “Everything Must Go”. In the rotation for only a year, this one beats with amorous adoration in lyric and a ballad quality that is only further emphasized by the Mitarotonda / Anspach vocal connection. Leaving the lyrics behind, this one quickly shifted, loosening its form, the keys and guitar running opposite descending and ascending counterparts, the drummers revving up the toms, thundering and driving the beast. Ten minutes in, the emotive message had morphed, flashing with a Middle Eastern tribal feel, looming and dark, pulling everyone further into the heavy whirlpool. Weekz’ pushed buttons and engaged the pedals, driving us into a darkening evil, groping at the spirit, pulling the mass under, his apocalyptic henchmen aiding in the rounding up of souls and when it seemed as though there was no escape for any of us, love finally broke it all free again at the fifteen-minute mark, the capacity of Red Rocks taking in the life-saving breath once again, returning us to safety, having loved every minute of the near-death experience. Of note, Mitarotonda ran a couple of distorted lines amidst the chaos that sounded much like Dean Martin’s “Mambo Italiano”, making the apocalyptic fall that much more surreal. Letting everyone know they weren’t alone in the group experience that had just transpired, Anspach turned to the mic to acknowledge what everyone was feeling: “Oh my god, Red Rocks! Oh my god!”
Escaping Dante’s inferno, the band moved us all into the groove of “All I Need”. Coming off of their extended play Night Lights released in 2020, the lyrical content got everyone reflecting on the existential conundrum of having everything we need in the moment, perfection often overlooked by the distraction of yielding to half-truths. Setting up the context, the band proceeded to take on the musical meditation and dismantled the self, bringing all those willing to leave it behind into the now. Channeling and flowing, idea after idea emerged to the delight of all taking the ten-minute ride into bliss.
To close out the set, the familiar bass slap of Weekz introduced the closer “Yeti”. With Anspach getting it on with the Strat, the dance party was back on. With his usual extroverted character, when the band broke for the jam, Anspach left the keyboard corral and migrated to the edge of the stage, wide-eyed and grinning, spinning and dancing, the crowd following suit, celebrating in the group ecstasy. Anspach and Mitarotonda at multiple times locked eyes, both agrin with joy, nudging each other in the right direction, the rest of the band following riding the jubilation machine. With the Strat still slung around his neck, Anspach resumed captaining the keys, giving Mitarotonda center stage and the opportunity to elevate once again. Heating up the place for several minutes, Mitarotonda reciprocated and Anspach went into full-blown meltdown mode on the wah, frenetic fanning being the name of the game. All of it spiraled into one more final return on the chorus before the band punched it with a big rockstar finish, sending everyone to break with more than a little to talk about and full of the buzz of what we chase when signing up for the live music experience.
Following a short intermission, the band returned and with everyone refreshed and ready for more, Anspach addressed the ready with a smile as wide as the venue itself, “Aw man, these are the days, you know what I mean?! Hanging out at Red Rocks…October… Just give the person next to you a sweet high five or something! Sweet man, good vibes!”
With some sinister laughing and an equally unsettled intro, set two kicked off with a strut in “Thatch”. With Hendrix meets Derek and The Dominos threads throughout, Mitarotonda commanded the vocals, Anspach backing, and the piece drove into blues territory for the body. Weekz of course answered the call of the muse, tugging at the five strings while Atkind kept it steady, Arevalo getting heavy on the congas and if anyone needed more cowbell, Arevalo was your guy. At eight or so minutes or so into it all, with the words out of the way, the band transitioned into some excellent funk, Anspach getting dirty on the Clav, Weekz popping off, and Mitarotonda chopping it up. A couple more minutes the grind turns to bounce and quiets for a few measures, while still fully of dirty. Revving back up, Mitarotonda downshifts and starts to lead the charge back up the mountain, taking his time, switchback after switchback, the rest of the band circling and supporting, building line after line, and every time we thought we hit the ceiling, the band took it up another notch. Keeping everyone salivating, Goose went through multiple shifts in volume before settling on shutting it down with a barn burner of an ending, Anspach’s organ screaming, Mitarotonda slicing and dicing, and everyone’s jaws on the floor.
Following 22 minutes of what everyone came to the sacred sandstone for, the romantic 90’s tune “Please Forgive Me” hit the second space with a softer touch. A David Gray original, this one was the band’s eighth attempt since introducing it in 2021. With warm harmonies and some affectionate piano that just made one smile from the inside out, this choice showed once again that the band can take anything and make it their own whether they are coloring in the lines or scribbling in every direction.
Leaving everyone with a nine-minute respite and a long sigh, the dream continued with Dripfield’s “Borne”. Its droning resonance made everyone tingle in hypnotic sway. Anspach broke out the slide for this one and played the counterpart on the strings to Mitarotonda. After a moving closing solo, Mitarotonda stood centerstage, bathed alone in green light and hit the familiar notes to “Borne’s” typical pairing “Hungersite”. Coupled as a unit on the Dripfield album, the two totaled out at twenty-two minutes.
The band took their time warming into the exploration of “Hungersite”, laying down the fundamentals for Anspach as he started tearing up the piano, first hammering out the chords and then rapping out the notes in double time, smiling and laughing all along the way. Mitarotonda cycled in and whipped it out with a blur, bobbing and shaking his groove thing. This one got several revolutions of heat and cooling, and even with the intense kinetic speed, this one was tight and exacting, every note finding its mark with certainty. Although the end faded off without a proper ending or transition, certainly no one was complaining.
Following a pause to tune, the cover of Four Non-Blonde's “What’s Up” had the crowd cheering with the first line of the song and with that, everyone jumped in for the singalong. Another relative rarity, this eighth run since 2018, the early nineties radio hit had Mitarotonda going falsetto and sounding great. With nearly ten thousand in attendance, the place was roaring, especially every time the songleader hit the chorus. As the midsection quieted, Anspach’s usual charismatic self took a moment to comment:
What’s up, Red Rocks? I’ll tell you sometimes…sometimes when I get up here, I feel very nervous, but uh…you guys make all that okay. Thank you so much. I tell you what…Live music, it’s the truth! Thanks for letting us do what do up here, being silly and being ourselves, it means so much. On behalf of everybody, give yourselves a big round of applause. Thank you so much.
With an energized crowd feeling the best of what life has to offer, the band returned to the tune, the audience belting out line after line with even more passion and conviction now, bringing many to tears and shared affection.
The band vibing hard set two came to a close with the power and punch of “Factory Fiction”, the crowd bursting at the seams with lyrics like And I don’t mind / If things get a little weird sometimes and It’s alright that all the freaks want to come at night / And swim around in the beautiful isolation. The first eight minutes were fueled with the high octane of a closer but, hitting the transition space, the finale changed flavors completely, heaping on the space and psychedelia by the loving spoonfuls. Getting a heavy mix of “Dragonfly” teases, those in the know stood floored absorbing the unique moment, the rest letting creation pour through them, the band translating the universe into musical alien speak, everyone along for the winding ride. When the ending returned to the absolute meltdown, the band as a single mind pounded everyone with round after round of brain-bursting bombastic, thrilling everyone to the nth degree. Clocking in at nearly twenty-five minutes, the band definitely showed everyone how to close out a show!
Before getting to the encore, Anspach paused to thank the crew, naming off what seemed like and probably was every member of the road team and eventually settled again on thanking the audience for the attendance, referring to the ride as “a dream come true”, a sentiment everyone was willing to endorse and did with a raucous lingering applause. The final choice “Dripfield” was performed as strongly as any other choice in the lineup and certainly was devoid of any second-thought dynamic. Totaling out at eighteen minutes, the strobe of the sound was accentuated by the light display and featured strong drum work by the Arevalo / Atkind connection. Mitarotonda’s vocals sounded as on point as when the night started, the whole of the band still coming across as fresh and empowered. Anspach once again demonstrated his capability as a multi-instrumentalist, handling both guitar and key duties for this one. The ending set the night ablaze for the umpteenth time and had it not been for the curfew, the band might have just kept on going.
Walking out of night two, everyone returned to the infinite and higher power, all who had attended knew they had witnessed Goose at their finest. Reflecting on Anspach’s statement about “live music being the truth”, a better gospel had never been spoken.
Day 3 - October 7th
Touting a capacity slightly above Red Rocks, when the first announcement came around in early September for this last-minute show, the student body was offered half of all tickets for free by the university, each student being able to claim one with their ID and campus login. The remaining half would be divided equally between a lottery through Goose’s ticketing arm and a public on-sale, with any unclaimed student tickets being added to the on-sale when it went live. As many of the band’s following already had set their travel plans, the last-minute invitation came off as unappealing to some, resulting in low commitment in the lottery. As for the student population, many tickets were still left unclaimed as the show date drew near, most likely being a component of the rural, conservative demographic alongside the age of many of the academics who inhabit this campus. These factors made many working the logistics on the collegiate side of things feel that their first effort in making large-scale live music happen on campus once again would yield an event that would be grossly under-attended. All this considered, when the day finally arrived, whether it was the fans finally realizing what they would be missing out on the magic of Colorado, or the student population realizing they could be entertained for free just a stone’s throw away from their dorms, the event was nearly sold out.
Getting into the third day of felicity, the weather gods and Fort Collins greeted the masses with open arms. The sun was shining bright and any chilled themes from the previous evening had dissipated into what seemed more like summer than fall. The campus of Colorado State University is what one would expect: a mixture of old and new architecture, tree-lined inroads, and wide-open spaces separating sectors of higher learning. Arriving with plenty of sunlight left in the day, the line to get in was already forming, and about one to two hundred deep, bodies and conversations sprawled out on the grassy knolls surrounding the chain link bordering the concert space. Billed as taking place on the intramural fields, this descriptor nailed the locale's physical appearance in the most literal sense. With the stage set in a southerly stance at one end of the great lawn, the main entrance to the north consisted of a wide opening atop the highest hill, facilitating great sight lines to the amenities CSU had to offer before patrons descended for fun. With food trucks, alcohol sales, restrooms, and a merch tent lining both the east and western borders, moving around the venue was done with ease. The quality of the services was top-notch, food items were made to order, the drink choices were local, and everything had a professional polish to it. The staff was a mix of young and elder and all had an air of positivity, a true willingness to help and direct, and were more than happy to answer any question one might have.
When the time finally arrived for the doors to open, it was business as usual. There was a mad sprint to the rail or merch depending on the priority, and once settled, the genuine enjoyment of friend and stranger proceeded, the soft lush lawn continually filling as everyone drank deep the laxed feeling of the natural surroundings and the good company. VIPs for this show had fenced-off special viewing areas at both ends of the stage and ease of access to adult beverages put these corrals at a premium. As the hours passed and the sun finally dipped below the distant mountains, the temperature dropped more than a few degrees, but the low-lying fields remained sheltered from any breeze, and with the wide open space comfortably full, by showtime, most were cozy and ready to welcome the band and CSU back to the concert stage.
Originally slotted to get going at 6:30 pm and end by 10:30, some were concerned when the clock ticked past seven to a full floor and still no band. The time continued to pass, hitting 7:15 and the crowd continued to call out in between the house music tracks. Finally, at just before half past the hour, the five bright faces of Goose strolled across the stage once again, cheered on by everyone ready to dance and make another great night of memories on the closing night of the summer tour.
Scanning the crowd for familiarity and acknowledging the repeat faces in the crowd, appropriately Anspach cries out, “College!”, inviting everyone into the vibe. The horde, whether living the academic experience or reflecting on days gone by, cried out in unison the recognition of the fruitful time of youth, experience, and experimentation. Anspach continued, “Fort Collins CSU. How you feeling? Go Rams!”, leading to even more raucous applause.
The stage draped in a dark blue hue and lit with all manner of sounds, the band finally settled and got things going with a double-digit version of “Animal”. Kicking off the third night in a row at high altitude, Goose sounded spunky and fresh with this fusion piece, and in light of the previous night’s performance, this was a great sign that this final stop would not be an afterthought. Bubbling over from the start, the band was their usual high-energy selves. With the scene set and everyone out front smiling from ear to ear, Weekz lit the backdrop with a carbonated envelope, fizzy thick, while Anspach got out front on the Clav. Transitioning to open the space, five minutes in, the band settled back into a nice groove and worked on building the midsection, unhurried and tasty. Anspach got comfortable, diving into the piano sound, Mitarotonda working the rhythm. Eventually, Mitarotonda stepped to the front and just laid it all out, closed eyes and wrinkled brow, he dug deep making the first ascent with a welcomed assault on the senses, slipping into discorded tension, breaking open time and time again, sending veteran and newbie alike spinning into musical wonder and delight.
Regular on the setlist, a thirteen-minute version of “Rockdale” followed and kept the Goose vibes coming. Chock full of Hammond and great vocals from the Arevalo / Mitarotonda / Anspach association, this one rocked and rolled from start to finish. Echoing hints of Little Feat, this one plodded along, quality in every moment, the band existing fully in each moment, hitting every snap of the backbeat right on time. The moan of Mitarotonda’s guitar just kept everyone begging more, more, more while Weekz bombed the crowd repeatedly. The sound was so infectious that not only was the crowd dancing their assess off, but Mitarotonda couldn’t contain himself from moving around his own shred.
Easing back on the throttle, slot three’s “Silver Rising” rang with beauty and calm, peace before the storm. With rolling thunder from the rhythm section and cavernous melodies from Weekz, this haunting piece paints the picture of man becoming a beast under the rise of the full moon. This one aches with desire and forgiveness in both word and mood, making one feel more than just the rush of crescendo. The overwhelming vocal combo of Anspach and Mitarotonda mesmerizes the middle of the tune, leaving the listener disconcerted and in free fall vertigo until the ensuing climax brings context’s return, the human animal left exhausted.
With some audio difficulties towards the end of the lycanthropic choice, the stage crew sprung into action to resolve the issue with the lead guitarist’s mic. This afforded some great stage banter, including a joke from Professor TWeekz, “I know a sound guy who’s Polish. I know a Czech one two.” Weekz saying more than usual, Anspach grabbed up the MC reins next and polled the audience on student participation, first Goose show, and moved on to identifying who had attended all three Colorado nights.
With the technical glitch seemingly fixed, the band returned to the game at hand and dialed up “Wysteria Lane”. With Mitarotonda in the driver’s seat, a few lines in, it was apparent that the vocal static was still there as he looked to stage left with a raised brow at the monitor man. Instead of pulling the plug, the band finished out the first stanza and then decided to rip out the rest, abandoning lyrics for a sweet experience. Partnering up on the Strat, Anspach banged out the rhythm with Mitarotonda giving it his all on the lead, using the vocal frustration as fuel for his empowerment, moving from distraction into inspiration while the road crew worked around his boards and space to fix the issue on the fly. Shifting the vibe, Anspach switched over to the synthesizer and eventually steered the funky groove into a strong tease on the theme from the children’s television show The Magic School Bus. With a short scholastic ride, Anspach continued behind the wheel, getting down so much that he himself couldn’t contain his own inner groove, bobbing and smiling, doling out the good stuff. Eleven minutes in, the jam turned and got a taste of the weird, darkening as the stage lighting hid the players, and cycling shapes took over the visual horizon. The momentary auditory disorientation eventually came back into focus as the band began a steady ascent from the netherworld to the urban landscape, turning technical mayhem into magic, and transitioning after nineteen minutes into Eddie Grant’s “Electric Avenue” to close out set one with Mitarotonda’s vocals made whole. Capping the frame with this synth-heavy eighties hit had many of the diehards singing along with the older newbies who remembered when this tune was at the top of the charts. Glistening brightly and beaming brilliantly with great light work against the positive closing jam, this one sent everyone out on a unifying high note.
Although most set breaks provide listeners the opp to relieve and refuel, CSU’s President Amy Parsons took a moment to spotlight the evening and all the efforts to make it a reality. Dressed in her best rockstar leathers, Parsons addressed the crowd and often the student body directly in her impromptu speech, recognizing everyone from production to hospitality to logistics and everything in between, running through a laundry list of personnel responsible for the high-quality environment that had been achieved on behalf of the high standards and vision of CSU. Parsons also focused on Colorado promotor and living legend Chuck Morris, detailing his contribution to the live music world and his specific role as founder and perpetuator of CSU’s Music Business Program, centered on helping young people with a dream of being successful in the music industry a reality. Parsons and Morris both received the attention and warm accolades from those remaining down front, holding their positions awaiting the fruits of set two.
With the last night slipping away, the rest of the set break was brief, and the band returned to offer up the last set to bring their latest four-week jaunt to a close. Mitarotonda took a moment to offer his gratitude, “Thanks for bearing with us while the door was ajar”, referring to the audio issues in set one, a statement that everyone was happy to acknowledge. At this point, Jon “Coach” Lombardi hit stage left and amped up the crowd, waving arms and flashlights wildly to the delight of both the crowd and the band. As the roar subsided, Anspach filled the quieting air with heavy effect, starting up the cycle for a cover of Fat Freddy’s Drop “Fish in the Sea”. This rootsy rocker brought everyone back on line, and was ten minutes of straight-ahead solid playing. Although the tune came to an abrupt stop, what the crowd got was feverish and stirring.
The Vasudo original “Tumble” was up next. This island vibration is a regular in the rotation and reads with the inspiration of the reward of mistakes and shifts musical themes between tropical beaches and tales of the Far East. Its finishing segment shifts upward in tempo, and for this outing, Anspach was at the stage’s edge, bouncing and spinning, much like those in the pit of the front row. Clocking in at double digits, the ending picked up with a headful of steam and, with swell after swell of pure energy, the end came to a finish with a punctuated and masterfully technical closing.
Recognized from the first few notes, the Anspach song “Red Bird” soared delicately against the shine of the cymbals and woodsy skins of Arevalo and Atkind. Initially bathed in the appropriate crimson hue, the second movement transitioned into the darker spectrum of both sound and light, leaving apex and build in the rearview and moving more into uncertainty, each member minding the gaps rather than direction. Arevalo filled space and time with gong and hammer, Atkind’s cranium bobbed like the head of a metronome, the group hypnosis in full effect under the misdirection of the swirling strings and the subtle drone of the keys.
With a distinct change, plasma was poured into form and a new beginning ensued with Weekz at the forefront laying it on thick, bubbled, and full of the ooze. The avian beginning now shifted to the marine as “Moby” moved its large mass through striated light.
Like catching a whale in the wild, the underwater excursion was brief and beautiful, and eventually transitioned again, morphing into the slow jam of the original “Slow Ready”. This was the first tune over the weekend where Mitarotonda really leaned into the autotuner vocally and this layer added appropriately to the robotic dynamic of the song. When the words had come to an end, the band turned the piece on its head and headed into rave country. Weekz and Anspach laying down repeating lines and Atkind following suit with laser focus, the dance club was back in session. As Anspach rested his left hand on the effect in play, his free right waved, circled, and motioned to the context of the whole under the true blue descending from overhead. With emotion expanding, he began to jump in place and many in the crowd joined in, springing skyward, hands in the air, immersed in the unseen glow being created in the moment, blurring any distinction between individuals, entering into the hive mind of the limitless. When “Slow Ready” finally rested, the three-piece suite of segues totaled out at nearly thirty-three minutes.
Before getting to the set closer, Mitarotonda took a moment to share some of his own history with Fort Collins, revealing one of his early occupational pursuits as a damn good taco maker at locally owned and operated D.G.T. and of course, he invited chefs Mike and Eric to the show and gave them the catering gig for the backstage setting as well as a shameless plug, probably leading to an influx of new customers the following day.
To end part two of the night, fan favorite “The Empress of Organos” was the selection and received the expected warm reception. With a positive message and a gospel feel, this uplifting piece kept the good times rolling. For any Goose fan who loves getting more Weekz time, this one always contains a great solo. Lit in a pink spotlight, the king of the low end got to show his unobstructed chops to the love of an appreciative crowd. Relinquishing the center of attention, Anspach caught the interest of all with an undiluted piano solo that started off silky smooth and ended in speed-driven sin that was one helluva good time. Next, Mitarotonda kept the revival going, giving over a spirited solo that had his six-string preaching the good word.
With one last song for the dedicated, the fearsome five brought out “Arcadia” from their first album Moon Cabin for the encore. After a long weekend and the final night of a month-long tour across the country, this one was delivered with the full strength of any of the 41 songs played over the Colorado portion of the run, reinforcing not only the dedication but the stark passion that these gentlemen display on a nightly basis to give it their all amid the throngs of pure enjoyment, taking advantage of this dream they’ve created, every moment savored and not wasted. Most would expect a spirited closing, which they gave, but this relentless dance number didn’t let up for more than sixteen minutes and took the term spiritual to a whole other level.
Getting a three night to merely glance into the world of this band, one keen observation is that they are not trying to be anyone but themselves. Of course, they have been influenced just like any other group out there, but they are thriving on their own sound and have developed a true following through hard work and determination. Their creativity and style are unique and what they deliver is as much joy for them as it is for the crowds they are performing for. Their choice of covers reflects their own generational timespan and further reveals their drive to stand apart and make decisions based on what they love, not a formulaic equation taking them to success.
Listening to the live performance, there is no ego struggle, each member is content to contribute and elevate the whole, knowing full well that everyone gets a turn at the wheel and that the sum of the parts is what makes for the experience. The quality of Goose is certainly not limited to the playing alone, as all points of the production are taken into consideration. The visual aesthetic is top notch and Andrew Goedde certainly brings the eye candy by the bagful. What Goedde does for the field of vision experience, Sam Bardani does the same for sound. His direction to perfection often results in the band sounding vibrant and dynamic from the first note to the last without transition, often coming off as dialed in from the get-go.
Although some might claim that they want more sound variance from the band, a few things are undeniable. First, the band is having a ball. The number of smiles and positive nonverbal communication going on onstage nightly infects onlookers into the celebration, and this shared celebration is due largely to the prowess from which each member pulls, revealing there is no weak link in the chain. Second, the audience digs in deep from the first note. With roughly a decade under the belt, many are still trying to hone in on the subtleties of the forms and lyrics, reducing the amount of talking and distraction going on in the crowd. Also adding to the experience is that the younger demographic as well as vets of the scene are feeling like they are getting in on the ground floor of something great so to be a part of that experience often makes the attendees feel like they are a part of history. The scene itself is incredibly positive and light. From the parking lot to the take inside the venues, many are sharing in the newness of it all, making the Goose experience feel very fresh and exciting. The feeling of community is so palpable that parents are bringing their pre-teens to the show and having no qualms about it, as no seedy underbelly has permeated the Goose world. As all of this is grounded in the music, the content these five had generated is all very accessible and all one has to do is listen to be led on the adventure and, in the giving over to the moment, all who seek shall find. In closing, with a band essentially in their first decade, there is so much promise and potential that the only direction that this winged creature can fly is up.