For adults, the holidays are less about receiving and more about giving. Waking up bright-eyed in adolescence, giddy with excitement about what presents arrived from family or a big, burly man in red and white has become a fleeting memory. As the joyous approaches, stress spawns from work, travel, children and significant others as the shopping ever-looms. To even have a moment of internal dialogue pertaining to what you may get this year feels, at best, unlikely, and at worst, impossible. Oftentimes, we must treat ourselves when it seems no one else will. Lock in that reservation for one to Matsuhisa. Splurge on a new pair of skis you’ll use four times this winter. And heck, purchase some resale tickets to see that jam band your friends keep talking about. If the latter was in your plans, Christmas may have come a little early Friday night at 1st Bank Center, with Colorado on the very top of the Goose ‘nice list.’
This year alone, the Connecticut rockers debuted at Red Rocks to a packed crowd, played two other huge nights at Dillon Amphitheater, interacted with local media and fans, all while rising the ranks as America’s next great jam group. And our state basked in every musical second. A budding relationship quickly became an inseparable bond between band and state, so when they announced they’d be hosting their annual Goosemas shows in Broomfield on December 16 and 17, the decision felt like a box with a bow on top, and a card signed: “to Colorado, from Goose.”
On Friday, the bowl at 1st Bank Center hummed cheerily to a Christmas/rock hybrid playlist. A typically inviting venue felt especially warm and welcoming, considering the circumstances. It was as if every person in attendance huddled up and bought tickets together (partially true, considering the on-site pre-sale at their Red Rocks performance some months ago). Giant, inflatable ornaments hung above the stage in green and red. The unmistakably cozy aura inside 1st Bank Center grew when the overhead lights dimmed, and the quintet walked on stage to cheers under a soft, pinkish-red hue.
Goose started with a fast-paced, steadily ascending jam. It got louder and louder and louder until an explosion of rainbow stage lights ushered in “Flodown,” a track off of Shenanigans Nite Club whose fast-paced presentation would fit it into a hoedown with ease. They played down into a smooth follow-up, “Everything Must Go,” which featured buttery vocals by Rick Mitarotonda. Intense beams of light turned into an easygoing glow. Ben Atkind (drums) and Peter Anspach (keys, vocals, strings) have always seemed to be the initiators of bridging records together. In just three songs, Goose went up, down and then all the way back up for one of their jumpiest tracks to date, “Butter Rum.” The band is no stranger to playing with force, and yet, this song’s jam was perhaps the fullest speed they would or had played at since “Arrow” at Red Rocks in August. It was truly unrelenting. Goose has a way of keeping controlled aggressiveness, and “Butter Rum” was a testament to just that.
“The Old Man’s Boat” and “Drive” continued the rollercoaster trend of “up-and-down” tempo. The former was a ballad of sorts — marked by keys and Trevor Weekz laying down a bass-line backbone — whereas the latter picked up the BPM once again, with the fluttering lights following suit. In the spirit of the holidays, they played into a cover of The Bands’ festive gem, “Christmas Must Be Tonight.” They closed out the first set with “SOS,” an accessible cornerstone of their discography that had the crowd singing along and Jeff Arevalo meticulously adding percussion to the mix. They played it just a smidge slower than usual, turning an alt-rock record into a silky funk groove.
Intermissions at shows like these are much-needed breaks. This pause was particularly helpful, seeing as much of the first set was played at Mach-five speed. Here’s a pro tip: if applicable, grab a seat on the floor. At a show that’s nearly three-and-a-half hours long, this will do wonders for your legs and back.
Goose kicked off the second half of the show with a pair of middling records — not too fast, not too slow, but just enough to get the crowd re-engaged. The first, “Pancakes,” is a half-cover, considering it’s an original by Anspach’s former band, Great Blue. The latter, “Rosewood Heart,” wasn’t a “slow” song, but it gave off a sense of tranquility that was token to this particular show.
Then, much to the excitement of Goose followers who hadn’t seen it before, Trevor read poetry. Every so often, Weekz ditches the bass for a note card, and quite literally reads a poem. They’re humorous, easy-going and clever — these stanzas were no different. This time, with the holidays in mind, Weekz read a passage about how, despite being a small pine, he hopes to one day turn into a “big Goosemas tree.” The last few songs featured fan favorites, most notably “Wysteria Lane” and the unforgettable “Moby.” This song is great for the back half of any Goose show. No lyrics, just resonating vibes. “Rockdale” was an all-out jam that stretched over twenty minutes in length, and a perfect penultimate play before the encore.
At one point during the performance, Goose’s stage manager, Jason Lombardi (nicknamed ‘Coach’), came out dressed as Santa Claus. It was a light-hearted moment, he had a sack of presents slung over his shoulder, filled with “encore balls” — the first pull called for an audience group hug. The next one read, “Jeff and Rick kiss,” another read “Peter twerk,” and the final one said “Please Yodel.” In all honesty, the real gift had already been playing on stage for a couple of hours, making the holidays for so many show-goers on Friday night at 1st Bank Center one to remember.