Review — Goose Turns Fiddler’s Green Gold

This past Saturday, Goose came to Fiddler’s Green for the second show of a two-night run. It was the kind of show you hold on to, allowing you to see the world through new hues, greens and golds dancing around each other and reminding you that there are moments when life feels right, even when it’s not. It was the kind of show where you wrap your arms around your friends and hold on, love shining golden in the air like the sun setting behind the mountains. The show was incredibly jam-heavy that saw the band going deeper than maybe they ever had before and absolutely ripping the stage apart.

READ: Review — Billy Strings Turns Fiddler’s Green Into Hallowed Ground

It should be noted that Fiddler’s was quite a bit less chaotic than it has the potential to be. This resulted from there being definitely fewer people in attendance than previous shows but also a less rowdy crowd more interested in taking their time finding spots than just rushing in, as is the case with many other shows at Fiddler’s. This created an almost peaceful vibe as anticipation hung palpably in the air. There was no rush, no fighting over areas on the lawn, just a bunch of people ready to hear some damn good music.

The show started pretty promptly right around 7:30/7:45. The band hit stage to cries of “GOOOOOSE” from the crowd, which would pervade throughout the night. Peter Anspach — who mostly takes keys duty but also plays bass, guitar, sings, whatever the band needs — thanked the crowd, made a joke this writer couldn’t quite make out and then the band launched right into it.

They kicked the night off with “Turned Clouds,” which had this writer quite ecstatic as he’s seen the band around twenty-two times and still hadn’t seen this tune live, though he considers it one of his favorite’s they do. The song is rather tounge-in-cheek at times but has a message of finding your own strength without outside influence. It’s a confident tune that features ample moments for jams, which the band took full advantage of. They played the first few verses and choruses pretty straight before dropping back and letting Anspach take the lead. This led into a huge organ jam before guitarist and lead vocalist Rick Mitarotonda took over to melt the fucking faces off the crowd for the first of what would many times throughout the night. They brought it back to the bridge which goes something like “Look around you, Mama/ You ain’t gonna be wakin’ up alone.” The crowd went rabid and the song came to an end.

This led into the first of the night’s 3 covers, “Look Out Cleveland” by The Band. Goose definitely put their own spin on it but it was still quite recognizable as a Band song and they even threw in what sounded like hints of Little Feat in there for good measure. They let this evolve into this dirty, muddy jam that painted stank faces on the crowd, who were just happy to be along for the ride.

They followed these up with a couple of songs this writer wasn’t the most familiar with, “Lead Up” and “California Magic.” They were connected by bright, organ heavy jams that also saw Mitarotonda letting loose with some crazy solos. Bass player Trevor Weekz was slapping the shit out of his intrument and percussionist Jeff Arevalo locked in with the band’s new drummer, Cotter Ellis, who was referred to throughout the night as “Cotter the Octopus” because it was hard to fathom how he could do what he was doing with just two arms (more on Ellis later).

The set wrapped up as they moved through “Drive.” The song’s chorus really hit home, especially for many that were seeing the band for the first time. It’s a high energy funk tune with half-time moments and a chorus that goes “It happens to blow my mind/ The difference in the people/ With the same dream I find.” It’s a pretty good way to encapsulate the feeling of the night. The crowd was eclectic, people from all walks of life simultaneously having their minds blown.

The jam was once again huge and soul piercing and gave way to final song of the set, “Give It Time,” a Vasudo cover. For those that may not know, Vasudo was the first iteration of the band that would evolve into Goose and it was cool seeing them go back to their roots. As the song ended and the sun finally settled down behind the mountains, the set did as well.

Let’s talk about Cotter Ellis for just a moment. Last year, Goose announced the departure of their longtime drummer, Ben Atkind. Details are limited but all signs point to an amicable split over Atkind just wanting to pursue other opportunities. Not long after Atkind’s depature, Cotter Ellis was announced as his successor. Ellis had been a fixture in his local Vermont scene but had yet to really break into anything big. This shows as the dude plays like he has something to prove, his arms blurring to the point where those witnessing him play might start to suspect he’s got more arms than most. Ellis’s addition has seemed to light a fire in the band, pushing them to new areas that they didn’t used to go often. No shade to Atkind, but Ellis is a fantastic addition that’s helped the band enter into what feels like new territory.

The wait for the second set was short and kicked off with the best jam this writer’s ever seen Goose do. After hitting the stage and thanking the audience for waiting, they launched into the early moments of the fan favorite “Madhuvan.” The song’s got a twang to it accentuated by its rolling train beat that makes the whole thing feel kinetic, propulsive, pushing the crowd to some new destination. The band definitely took us somewhere else, somewhere weird and dark but strangely warm. It devolved into this kaleidescopic exploration of the depths of human nature, all our beauty swirling around our insecurities until, ultimately, leading us back to safetey when the chorus returned. It was the kind of jam to lose your whole soul within, that has you coming up from air and relishing being so purely alive. The whole thing took about 30 minutes, about half the set, and most of the crowd couldn’t have been happier.

Goose and the crowd needed a breather so they slowed it down a bit with “Silver Rising.” It’s a very pretty tune that served as a much needed pallette cleanser after the monstrosity that had just been dropped.

Next came “Arrow,” a rollicking piece of work off their 2022 album Dripfield. This brought the energy back up and featured some beautifully bright jams that made the soul soar. This eventually led into some familar notes as they moved into the beloved Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band’s “Hollywood Nights.” It had the whole crowd singing along, arms draped over one another and smiles shining out into the clear night sky. There were a few more face melting solos and the set came to an end.

The encore came quick and, once hitting the stage again, Goose immediately started into “Travelers,” a two part oddysey of a song that starts very slow and pretty and builds into this sonic wave that feels like summer rain cascading down from the heavens, washing your sins away. The bright and energetic jam gave way to another fan favorite, the quiet and folky “Elmeg the Wise,” and the show came to an end. The crowd, somewhat dazed but filled with love, wandered out into a world filled with more color than before.

All Photography Courtesy of David Cohn

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