While I’d been hesitant to see the show — at the time, Goose was driving a bandwagon that everyone seemed to be hopping on — I ended up being blown away, too. Because if a jam band can shred without repetition, provide thought-provoking lyrics, engage the crowd with on-stage antics and also — and this was the big one — absolutely slay a cover of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” it might as well have landed on the moon or invented the Pythagorean theorem.
Whatever the recipe, Goose has seasoned it to perfection: Take a taste when the band lands at Red Rocks for a two-night run starting Thursday, October 5. And while Goose said that it wouldn’t announce any more shows this year, it did add another to its Colorado run: on Saturday, October 7, at Colorado State University. “We just got the opportunity to do a show there where we can have a bunch of students get free tickets,” says Peter Anspach (keys/vocals/guitar). “That’s just something we’re into, playing at colleges and stuff. It’s always super fun, and we can offer a free show to students. That seems like a no-brainer. It’s gonna be a blast. That was fun to add on.”
This will be Goose’s second time playing Red Rocks, a feat its members are more comfortable with this time around — even though last year’s concert was very memorable, with one attendee, fully in the throes of passion, squealing, “I feel like I’m at a ’90s Phish show!”
“We played two nights at Dillon last time and then we did one day at Red Rocks, and it was really pretty surreal just to be there,” recalls Anspach. “You’re trying to take it all in, but at the same time, it was pretty overwhelming. There’s a lot going on. I’m looking forward to this time just being a little bit more like, ‘Hey, we’ve done this before. Let’s go out there and play some music.'”
The band, which comprises Anspach, Rick Mitarotonda (vocals/guitar), Jeff Arevalo (vocals/percussion/drums), Ben Atkind (drums) and Trevor Weekz (bass), formed in Connecticut in 2014. Mitarotonda, Weekz and Atkind had all been part of an act called Vasudo, for which Mitarotonda wrote some songs with then-bandmate Matt Campbell that wound up being popular Goose tracks, including “Hot Tea” and “Butter Rum.”
“Then in 2017, we started touring and hit the road, and went through a handful of lineup changes throughout that time, just trying different things and trying to find the right formula,” he continues. “Peter joined the band in early 2018. And we have been pretty consistently touring since then, just kept building. And then 2019 is kind of when things started to catch on for us…and we’ve been just trying to keep up with the wave since.”
It’s a big wave to ride. With Goose’s significant number of livestreams during the pandemic, including a concert at Rockefeller Center and a series from a barn in Connecticut that were captured on the album The Bingo Tour, the band attracted fans whose enthusiasm rivals that of Deadheads, Phish heads and women in Axe Body Spray commercials. Later, newfound fame brought Goose not only coveted gigs, such as playing The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to promote its 2022 album, Dripfield, and the chance to play such venerable venues as Red Rocks and Radio City Music Hall, but it also elicited incredible collaborations with jam-scene giants and other music vets. Last June, Goose welcomed sit-ins from Father John Misty and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio, who subsequently enlisted the band for his 2022 fall tour. (Mitarotonda credits Anastasio for his decision to switch up his guitar tone, something fans noticed after the tour.) In January, Goose was joined by the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, and in July, at Resonance Festival, Goose jammed with guitarist Jake Cinninger and pianist Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee for “The Empress of Organos,” a sit-in that’s already considered by many fans to be the jam of the year.
“We put that together the day before,” Anspach says of jamming with Cinninger and Cummins. “We did not practice with them; I think we talked to them in person before they walked on stage, but we basically texted them the night before, like, ‘Hey, would you be interested in sitting in on something tomorrow?’ We just texted about some notes about the song, chords and stuff like that. And then they came right out and did their thing. They’re so professional, and they just have such unique voices, both Jake and Joel, and also on their instruments. It was really fun. Like, they just came out and ripped in.”
Considering that the bandmates grew up as jam fans going to Umphrey’s and Phish shows, it makes it all the more surreal that they’re now playing with their heroes. And given Goose’s prolific productivity — the band recently released three singles via EP Autumn Crossing, adding to a catalogue of sixteen studio and live albums — the five musicians haven’t had much time to soak it in. But they know that they’re grateful.
“We kind of grew up with [the jam scene] — it’s just in our DNA. So in a lot of ways, it still doesn’t feel real,” says Mitarotonda. “I almost don’t want to think about it too much. I’m just thankful for all the opportunities that we have. It’s been really wild, and I just want to keep trying to make it as good as we can, you know, and have fun along the way.”
At Red Rocks, fans and newcomers alike are sure to be taken by Anspach’s infectious, goofy stage presence. The man just always looks like he’s having the time of his life. “It’s the LSD,” Mitarotonda jokes.
Goose, 7 p.m. Thursday, October 5, and Friday, October 6, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 West Alameda Parkway, Morrison, $58 and up; 6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 7, Colorado State University West Lawn, 1101 Center Avenue Mall, Fort Collins, $50.