Goose @ Showtime at the Drive-In, Frederick. (Photo by Chris Swanson)
A few minutes into the first song of the night, two Canadian geese flew over the packed Frederick Fairgrounds during the latest socially distant concert at “Showtime at the Drive-In” in rural Maryland.
Ecstatic fans pointed to the sky with husky chants of “Gooooose” in reaction to what felt like a sign from the cosmos. The previous night, jam band Goose only managed to play five songs during their spring tour opener—and the first show of their sold-out two-night run at the Fairgrounds—due to weather delays, including a tornado warning.
Throughout the day on Tuesday, rapidly changing forecasts and severe weather warnings gave fans of the “indie groove” quintet plenty of anxiety as they speculated about whether the Norwalk, CT natives would have the chance to deliver two full sets.
Nevertheless, rowdily festive energy consumed the venue as fans explored the “Vendor Village”, featuring several local food and drink options as well as a well-stocked merch tent, waiting for the show to start. Nobody seemed to mind the puddles of mud left over from two days of intermittent storms as they set up lawn chairs and inflatable couches in the designated 8×6 foot spaces next to their cars.
They didn’t have to wait long. Goose wasted no time after being snubbed the previous night and launched into “Time to Flee”, marked by typically playful guitar harmonies from lead vocalist/guitarist Rick Mitarotonda and keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Peter Anspach, about five minutes after the billed 7 p.m. start time. A few instances of fluctuating volume, an issue that would materialize periodically throughout the evening, barely detracted from an otherwise straightforward rendition of reggae-influenced “Echo of a Rose.”
Mitarotonda deftly led his bandmates into a seamless transition to the subtly funky “All I Need”, culminating in the first strong jam of the night with moments of euphoria, spaciness, and bluegrass-influenced improvisation. The bluegrass motif continued with “Flodown”, while drummer Ben Atkind, bassist Trevor Weeks, and new bandmate/vocalist/percussionist/drummer Jeff Arevalo maintained a high tempo throughout the upbeat jam.
Anspach thanked the crowd for a second sold-out run in Frederick, referencing Goose’s first two appearances at the then-novel drive-in venue during October 2020, before leading the band into the mellow and island-tinged “Honeybee”. Energy levels reached new heights as the crowd recognized the opening notes of Jackson Browne’s “Doctor My Eyes”, singing along to Goose’s first-ever live cover of the 1972 Top 10 hit. The sun dropped below the shadows of the Blue Ridge mountains as Goose launched into a particularly slowed down, funky version of fan-favorite “Arcadia” punctuated by Anspach’s clavinet, ending the first set with a standout jam featuring expressive playing from Mitarotonda.
Fans had about thirty minutes to catch their breaths before Goose returned with set opener “Creatures”, featuring delay-heavy leads and subtly auto-tuned vocals from Mitarotonda. They jammed into the subdued “Your Ocean”, marked by soulful harmonies, which proved to be a warm-up for an extended and jammed out “Tumble”. Wild tempo and time signature changes grounded by Atkind, Weeks, and Arevalo highlighted the must-listen track of the night, launched further into the stratosphere by an expertly synchronized light show. Parts 1 and 2 of “Seekers on the Ridge” rounded out the five-song second set and left the crowd breathless.
The band briefly left the stage before returning for an encore “Slow Ready”, playing the last note exactly at 10:00 PM in compliance with the notorious local noise ordinance. Goose have differentiated themselves from countless so-called “up and comers” in the jam scene and continue to demonstrate their evolving technical skills and improvisational prowess as the buzz surrounding them steadily grows. Arevalo isn’t the only new addition to the Goose family—a steady drip of live releases over the past year or so have satiated fans’ appetites until the band’s next proper album, “Shenanigans Nite Club”, drops later this year. Upcoming acts at “Showtime at the Drive-In” include Kix, Grace Potter, and a three-night run with Dark Star Orchestra.
- Time to Flee
- Echo of a Rose >
- All I Need >
- Doctor My Eyes
- Creatures >
- Your Ocean
- Seekers on the Ridge Pt. 1 >
- Seekers on the Ridge Pt. 2
- Slow Ready
Alex May has been attending concerts in the DMV for his entire life. He was born and raised in Maryland, attended college and graduate school in Virginia, and lives in DC with his girlfriend and dog. He believes all music sounds best live, and he never misses a Sunday show.