Goose 6.8.24

Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre
Greenwood Village, CO

Works by Tim Porch
Photos by Kimberly Ann Images

Just five short years ago I was catching Goose for the first time on Marvin's Mountaintop (shout out to All Good Music Festival) for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong's Domefest in 2019 where they graced the second stage in between main stage sets. Even though they were a few years from their meteoric breakout, I could tell these fellas had the chops and attitude that could really take them places. Fast forward to last year when the 5-piece from Connecticut gave the Front Range of Colorado a pair of fantastic debut Red Rocks shows and an appearance on the Lory Student Center lawn at CSU in Ft Collins, Goose has taken a step up this year with a 2 night run at the 18,000 capacity Fiddlers Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village. 

We arrived to the venue about an hour before show time anticipating traffic and parking issues, but we actually had an incredibly easy time finding a spot and joining the legions of fans tailgating before the show. My personal anticipation was high since this was the first time I'd be seeing Goose after their personnel swap on the drum kit that came at the end of last year. I had given a few live shows a listen since drummer Cotter Ellis joined, but really wanted to see if there was a discernable difference between pre and post-Cotter Goose with my own ears. As we made our way to the box office to pick up our media credentials I could tell the fan base was excited about tonight's show with speculations of potential songs and the rehashing of the previous nights show, excitement was filling the air.

As we made our way inside of the venue I couldn't help noticing that the crowd was all smiles and good vibes, most everyone I spoke to were here for the second night and had the unmistakable glow of a fan that had already seen their favorite band tear the non-existent roof off the place. As I settled into our seats and began greeting our neighbors for the evening many of them mentioned that I had missed a great show the night before that featured a monster "Hungersite" during the second set, the first time played cover "No California" by Ilsey Juber, a 30-minute "Jive I" & "Jive Lee" pairing, a hot take on the traditional/Grateful Dead's "Peggy-O," and one of my favorite Goose songs "Animal." With this added perspective that the band was really treating the Colorado fans to some great performances my mind began to wonder about what might be in store for us this evening and I was mere minutes away from finding out.

Goose took the stage for the first of two sets shortly before the sunset began with the ever present "Gooooooooossseeeee" chants heard throughout the venue when they made their way on stage. Drummer Cotter Ellis took up his position behind the kit, percussionist Jeff Arevalo flanking him to the right, guitarist Rick Mitarotonda front and center, with Keyboardist-Guitarist Peter Anspach and bassist Trevor Weekz to his sides, the band seemed to be ready to get this show on the road. 

They began the show with a great take on "Turned Clouds," the opening track on their 2016 debut album Moon Cabin allowing everyone to get their dancing legs underneath of them with a nice laid back groove accentuated by Mitarotonda and Anspach's dueling guitar and keyboard work, while Weekz dropped some heavy bass bombs throughout. The second song saw the first of two covers for the evening with The Band's "Look Out Cleveland" featuring Peter on lead vocals for the first verse before Rick took over for the second verse. They took this one for an extended ride with some serious cow funk jamming featuring blazing organ work by Anspach before giving way to a wonderful groove by Cotter and Jeff with Trevor bridging the gap with a heavy groove while Rick's guitar sliced through the bass lines all while being accentuated with synthy overlays by Peter Anspach.

Up next was a pointed delivery of "Lead Up" featuring Peter on Guitar for the first time of the show. The duel guitar really allowed "Lead Up" to head away from their normal indie-pop sound into an almost prog-rock space with Rick Mitarotonda putting on an absolute show of fretboard fireworks, which was not lost on the fans who cheered the song on from start to finish. After the rocking "Lead Up" a nice languid "California Magic" followed allowing Rick to showcase his soulful vocals before giving way to a Peter led organ based jam over a nice and steady groove provided by the rhythm section. At the opening chords of the next song the crowd had a huge reaction and understandably so, with a short intro giving way to an uptempo funky groove led by Cotter and Jeff's perfect percussion work "Drive" was about to take us on a journey that would last an amazing 30 minutes. With the sun fully set at this point the lighting rig was thrust into the spotlight for the first time of the evening bending waves of light syncopated with the band while they worked the fast paced composed section flawlessly. "Drive" saw Peter switching seamlessly between guitar and keyboards based on the needs of the song before returning to the keyboards to lay down an absolutely beautiful finish to the jam space. The first set came to a close with a great take on "Give It Time" featuring some fancy guitar work by Mitarotonda and finishing with Peter leading a clap along to close out the song before the band exited the stage for set break.

The second set got off to a great start with "Madhuvan" from their quintessential 2021 album Shenanigans Nite Club. Always a fan favorite, the band got down to business quickly with the song transitioning into an ambient jam space anchored by the rhythm section while Peter tweaked his guitar effects to add beautiful textures to the soundscape being created. Trevor added serious bass punches to the wall of sound being created during this segment. Peter hopped back on the keys tickling the ivory masterfully paired with very melodic jamming by Rick that segued into a bit more upbeat space. Goose's Lighting Director, Andrew Goedde pulled out all the stops for this jam space with whisps of light dancing along the background before the band brought the jam to a giant peak causing the fans behind me to exclaim, "I think Rick's hypnotizing you" before the jam flowed effortlessly into a rocking finish. The massive 30 plus minute "Madhuvan" was followed with "Silver Rising," an absolutely beautiful composition featuring Mitarotonda's vocals on full display allowing everyone to regroup and refocus with mesmerizing keyboard work by Anspach over a driving yet measured rhythm part giving way to a multi part vocal harmony before the band dropped into the closing segment of the song. Afterwards Peter took to the microphone to show his appreciation stating "We always get so much love here in Colorado," before the band took flight with "Arrow" from their 2022 album Dripfield. "Arrow" began with a more upbeat funky vibe that got the whole place dancing with Trevor devastating the crowd with giant bass bombs sprinkled throughout the jam space before Peter hopped back on guitar to help Rick lead the band through a raucous and funky peak before slowing it down to bring the song to a close. Only three songs into the second set I realized we were nearly an hour deep with Goose giving us extended takes on each song thus far, which made their take on the second cover of the evening, Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights" seem short by comparison. The classic rocker wrapped up the second set perfectly before the band took a short break before coming back for the encore of a fantastic pairing of "Travelers" and "Elmeg the Wise" that stretched into the 20 minute territory. The band built the music into peak after peak before bringing the show to a close with Goose congregating at the front of the stage taking a well deserved bow before sending us into the night with smiles on our faces and some beautiful music replaying in our heads.

As I joined the the crowd exiting the venue I felt a sense of wonder that these five fellas have progressed so much in the five years I've been catching their shows and amassed such a big following in that time frame. The banging rhythm section, fiery fretboard fireworks, incredible bass playing, killer keyboard work, and melodic and soulful vocals really showcase why Goose has become a formidable force in the live music scene so quickly and I for one am definitely looking forward to the next time I get to catch these guys live again!

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