Review by Porter Byers, Photos by Graham Snodgrass
Do you ever wish that you could go back to a time in your life and say to your past self, “You have no idea how incredible your experience is, you gotta appreciate every moment”? I am not one for hyperbole, but this is what is happening with the band Goose right now. Few musicians out there at present time can do what they do: write and sing great songs, master their instruments, and execute improvisation as well as any jam or jazz band.
Simultaneously, there are few fans who will travel from all corners of the map and happily trade a tornado warning plus five inches of rain in one hour for just one hour of music. That is exactly what hundreds of people did on May 3 in Frederick, Maryland to experience the talents of the five fellas from Connecticut. This is not so much a review of each individual song and jam like you might find at other sites – the music speaks for itself – but rather an attempt to capture the live experience of Goose in 2021. Perhaps what is to be appreciated most by those seeing the band this summer: this is only the beginning for Goose.
Just like their October performance, the Goose Frederick run at the Fairgrounds were “drive-ins,” with each allotted the space to its left where up to five people can enjoy the show. Despite the tricky circumstances, the security team from Battle-Tested Security a veteran-owned Maryland small business which employs mostly vets, did a solid job keeping everyone safe from the elements.
On night one when the rain passed, people emerged from their cars and makeshift tents as the crew removed plastic covers from the stage. After tearing into “Arrow” and “Bob Don,” the band had to pause and towel-off after yet another downpour passed through, which the crowd embraced without hesitation. Rick asked if anyone had “thirty towels” as they moved from the towel jam into the funky “Yeti.” The contrast with night two was the perfect weather and two full sets, but there was the same energy from the band and fans alike, dancing and singing along.
The vibe in the crowd was fantastic, and unlike what you might find at other jam band shows. Perhaps it’s because of social distancing, but more likely, it’s because of the band’s fresh sound and positive energy. No “jaded vets,” no one arguing over space or complaining about the setlist; in fact, many people throughout each night danced their way into other sections without issue. There were people of all ages, backgrounds, and locales. There is even a lot rag, The El Goose Times which put out its first-ever edition on N1. It is all but certain that this year will be the last opportunity to see the band in intimate settings, and to connect with them in some small way. This was quite evident as people rushed up to the stage afterwards to ask for setlists, picks, and to just yell weird shit at Coach and the team. I guess I am one of those people, as I asked what the guys had for dinner. “Silver Diner….great service,” Trevor told me. A Mid-Atlantic staple.
Aside from the transportive and mesmerizing “Ted Tapes,” Goose only has one full length studio album, “Moon Cabin,” with another, “Shenanigans Nite Club,” due out June 4. Their talent and creativity are drawing people in from so many more angles than just the album concept. The interactive Bingo Tour and Goosemas streams last year, the widely available and diverse live recordings, and of course, the drive-ins and pod shows.
I cannot recommend highly enough the music and performances of Goose. There are limited tickets remaining to some summer dates, and they’ll likely offer top-notch live streams during the second leg. Like I said, this is still just the beginning, and you won’t want to look back and realize you missed part of the ride.