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Goose Show Review - 6/18/21 and 6/19/21 Legend Valley
A legendary two-night run for the band
Sometimes a band just really throws it all down at a venue. Goose’s second visit to Legend Valley in June 2021 was one of those runs. Coming off of lots of shows cut short by early curfew times, Legend Valley’s lack thereof finally allowed the band to play for as long as they wanted (especially on 6/19!) without a clock hanging over their heads.
June 2021 has and will become hallowed as a legendary month for Goose. Beginning with just the second song of the leg, 6/11’s Arcadia, the band continued on the improvisational path started in the May leg - a distinct move away from the dialed-in tension-and-release jams they have shown such a proficiency for into more uncharted, spacier territory. Jive II’s bonus “third jam” made its second appearance to date in Swanzey’s second set, while other songs got the extended jamming treatment for the first time, like 6/15’s mammoth 29-minute A Western Sun. The show before Legend Valley (a somewhat overlooked affair in Perry, NY on 6/16) delivered the first jammed-out This Old Sea of the year (check out 7/23 and 8/21 for other phenomenal versions), a near-20-minute cover of the Grateful Dead’s Mississippi Half-Step, and the second (and final to date) appearance of “vibey Tumble” (hey, Goose - please play this more!!). Expectations were high for the last two shows, a weekend affair at the site of a highlight-rich show from the previous fall (Check out the 10/15/20 Arcadia, White Lights, Wysteria Lane, Into the Myst, and This Old Sea).
Opening the first night with a brief “Free Space” jam, a trend started as a part of 2020’s Bingo Tour that has stuck around for a number of the band’s shows since, the band used the spacey excursion as a launchpad into an energetic Flodown, or “Flopener”, if you will. Featuring an extended Indian River jam and sparkling piano work from Peter, it was the second version that week to craft a fantastic slow-build intro to the dance party opener. After Rick’s fretboard fireworks brought the song to a close, Peter started up White Lights. The strongest version to date, this jam set off on a 17-minute journey beginning with an upbeat Type I section. On a similar piano vamp to the 6/15 Empress of Organos, the jam ventured out into minor key territory as Rich and Peter played off each other beautifully on top of Trevor’s driving bass line. The White Lights jam then took on a party vibe as Spuds’ classic dance beat propelled the guitarist into a great repeating melody. Just before the 10-minute mark, Rick hits on the overdrive and takes a dive into murkier waters as Peter retains a similar piano vamp to earlier in the jam. After peaking once more, a guitar-led and tom-dominated transition into a very atypical (but very welcome) ending of the song was pulled off perfectly. With more bright piano work and quick rhythm guitar, the band worked over the traditional descending progression to the song at a slower pace, giving it a blissed-out feel. A statement jam in the 2-slot of the show and run, the 6/18 White Lights stands as another shining example of while you may not like the song itself, the jams deliver the goods pretty much every time. The third song of the set would be Arcadia, a song that perfectly encapsulates everything the band is about. The first version to reach 20 minutes since the legendary 11/16/19 Buffalo jam, this Arcadia began in a molasses-thick clav groove before getting more spacey around the 9-minute mark. Rich then takes control, pushing the jam to a high-intensity breakneck pace jam, very atypical for Arcadia. After a massive peak and pulsating clav from Peter, the guitarist launched into the closing chord progression to the song in an atypical slow way, similar to the White Lights just before. A beautiful way to end the song that is the only one of its kind to date, vibrato-infused chords took the song out in a much more relaxed way than normal. The set’s momentum didn’t let up as a raucous The Whales charged in next and featured Peter’s first turn on guitar of the show. Jive I and So Ready closed out the rest of the set with more fantastic high-energy playing.
Opening the second frame with S.O.S., Goose showed off how locked in the drum section of Spuds and Jeff are after only a year together. The twin snare hits backing up Rick’s gorgeous guitar solo harkened back to the tightness of the ’77 Grateful Dead drummers. Synth’d-out bliss into (dawn), the band brought a joyous jam forward, highlighted by more phenomenal guitar phrasing and soft Vintage Vibe work from Peter. Trevor stepped up for the final segment, inviting stank faces with his dirty slaps as Peter’s organ soared. Lead the Way, Rich’s beautiful song about his dog Sadie, kept the momentum up as the two-guitar attack got another turn with spacey textures gave way to a raging peak. Seekers on the Ridge followed, offering a breather of sorts before the main event of the set – All I Need. The classic Goose song’s first jam was quickly opened up as the band took it at a noticeably slower pace. Staying in major key, the jam found Ted-like space before peaking and heading back into the final chorus. The second jam took off as Peter hit the synth and the band jammed on a groove akin to Arrow that gradually ramped up in intensity. A classic Goose motif, the jam peaked in a fantastic way thanks to some envelope filter work from Rick and typically strong cymbal work from Spuds. At around 22 and a half minutes in, Rick took the jam minor again, Spuds dropped a dirty hi-hat beat, and Peter hit the clav for a brief (and filthy) jam ahead of a segue into A Fifth of Beethoven. I’m anxiously awaiting the day this song takes its place as an extended jammer, but in its current state it still offers five or six minutes of a fantastic groove (and lots of clav – have I mentioned that I love clav?) and dirty wah pedal licks from Rick.
Encoring with a beautiful and heartfelt debut of the Grateful Dead’s Brokedown Palace, Goose closed the first of two incredible shows at Legend Valley. The sixth show of the June 2021 run, 6/18 showed a band finding a balance between their classic tension/release jams and the newer Ted excursions. New ideas like the slowed-down endings to White Lights and Arcadia have yet to pop up again, but they demonstrated how their sights are set on evolving as a band, both in improvisation and arrangements.
The second night at Legend Valley was a Saturday show with Sunday show energy. Full of a classic rock vibe, Goose opened the show with CCR’s Green River before a solid rendition of Peter Anspach staple Elizabeth. Listening to this song, I am always drawn to the atypical way Rick uses his wah pedal. Instead of utilizing the full sweep of the envelope filter like most guitarists, Rick lies more in the mid-range giving his tone a cool, almost angular sound. Wasting no time after patiently building Elizabeth to a blissy peak, Goose fires up The Empress of Organos as its one of only two non-set or show-closing appearances to date. Stretching to nearly 20 minutes as the third song of the show, the jam begins with a melodic Trevor solo before giving way to a long and extended classic Goose tension-and-release build – immediately establishing this rendition as more than a match for the legendary 6/15 version from Perry. The jams continued with Rosewood Heart, a powerful and driving rendition with some truly awe-inspiring drumming from Spuds in the final section. Rosewood gave way to the first cool-down of the set, the emotional ballad Honeybee. After taking a minute to note that it was the one-year anniversary of percussionist Jeff Arevalo joining the band, the band lit into their second version of The Band’s Look Out Cleveland and first since 10/3/20. An absolutely gnarled and funky jam highlighted, of course, by Peter’s clav (earning the song the nickname “Look Out Clav-land”) and the dual drummer attack.
Coming back from setbreak with the second Elmeg the Wise of the year, Goose expanded the gorgeous song into a 22-minute jam, reaching both into the depths of delay-filled Ted jams and rocking piano-led peaks. A must-hear jam that seems to have gotten lost in both the greatness of this show, tour, and year, the LV Elmeg is a must-hear moment from this show. The real improvisational highlight of the night, however, was yet to come. Jumping into crowd favourite Madhuvan next, the band brought forth the first of what would be numerous Mad sandwiches, eschewing the jam for a brief space that led into the second-ever performance of Ted Tapes track Moby. With bass bombs galore from Trevor and soaring leads from Rick overtop a bed of soft electric piano, this incredible instrumental continues to prove its worth as a live track. Segueing back into the Madhuvan jam, Goose embarked on a dark and twisted journey featuring some truly phenomenal stop-start-on-a-dime jamming, absolutely ripping solos from Rick, and incredible octopus-like drumming from Spuds. Establishing itself as a titan jam of the year that still remains near the top, the 6/19 Madhuvan jam is 13 minutes of pure molten lava. Even featuring a Doobie Song-like jam starting at around 8:20, this balls-to-the-walls craziness unseats the Bingo Tour Drive as my favourite runaway freight train Goose.
The second set was all gravy from there, as the band moved into an antics-filled Earthling or Alien? (#GongGang) and then to Clarence Carter’s Strokin’, not played in full since 4/21/18. Featuring Coach on vocals and rainstick, the band members had a laugh goofing through the silly song before, at Peter’s monstrous clav, they broke into a jam akin to many Jive Lees or the 6/15/21 Empress. A few minutes of filthy funk followed before the Baghavad Gita verse of Indian River closed the set in an atypical fashion. Returning for the encore, the band and crowd sang Happy Birthday to crew member Marta Goedde before debuting the new synth-filled arrangement of 726. This song is one of my favourite examples of Goose’s songwriting, with a gorgeous progression and emotional lyrics. Taking advantage of the absence of a curfew, Rick fired right into the beginning of Arrow and the band tore into a phenomenal 18-minute Type I heater to close the show and run.
An eight-show run of epic proportions, June 2021 WILL go down in Goose history as a massive turning point for the band. New arrangements of songs, new jamming spaces, and an overall attitude toward pushing their boundaries and getting into new territory. Goose is a band that will only continue to evolve toward the end of 2021 and beyond.
BONUS: If you’re not familiar with Goose’s June 2021 leg, here’s a list of highlights to check out!!
6/11 Wysteria Lane -> Loose Ends
6/11 White Lights
6/11 Jive II
6/12 Me and My Uncle
6/12 Fish in the Sea
6/12 Earthling or Alien?
6/12 Factory Fiction
6/13 Tribute to Gold
6/13 All I Need
6/13 Time to Flee
6/13 Nights in White Satin
6/13 Rosewood Heart
6/15 A Western Sun
6/15 Echo of a Rose
6/15 Spirit of the Dark Horse
6/15 Empress of Organos
6/16 Mississippi Half Step
6/16 Hot Tea
6/16 Electric Avenue
6/16 This Old Sea
6/18 White Lights
6/18 All I Need
6/18 A Fifth of Beethoven
6/18 Brokedown Palace
6/19 Empress of Organos
6/19 Rosewood Heart
6/19 Look Out Cleveland
6/19 Elmeg the Wise
6/19 Madhuvan > Moby > Madhuvan