Jam Bands

Goose Red Rocks Recap: "This Sounds Like a ’90s Phish Show"

Goose at its Red Rocks debut.
Goose at its Red Rocks debut. J.Mimna Photography / Jim Mimna / @J.MimnaPhoto
"The last time I saw Red Rocks this packed was a Paul Simon show, so that's saying something for Goose and how popular they are," commented a fan named Tony as we waited for the jam band to take the stage for its sold-out debut concert at the iconic venue.

Similar to Billy Strings, Goose has become a breakout star of the pandemic, garnering a next-level flock of superfans. And those fans flocked to Red Rocks on August 18: By 7 p.m., not a single seat was still available, with people spilling out into the aisles and queueing up in a merch line. It was a major night for bandmates Peter Anspach, Jeff Arevalo, Ben Atkind, Rick Mitarotonda and Trevor Weekz, who performed last year at Sculpture Park and then Mission Ballroom. Now, Red Rocks.

Invariably, when people talk about Goose, Phish enters the conversation. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio sat in with the band earlier this year, and Goose recently announced that it would be on a joint eight-night tour with the Trey Anastasio Band starting November 9. Tony and his girlfriend, Hilary, have been following Phish since 2001, they said, and Hilary told us that she was drawn to Goose for its "super-long, epic jams."

"They have a Phish vibe and energy circa the 1990s, but they can sing and have percussion," she explained. "Good vibes all around. They have the tension and release — they build a vibe and release it."

This was the couple's first time seeing Goose, and they were in for an amazing show. Goose's jams are slick and engaging, powered by the bandmates' youthful energy and a technical prowess that has made them leading pioneers in the next generation of jam bands. Each time they play, you can hear that they're only becoming more innovative, fine-tuning a sound that already pushes the envelope of jam possibilities.

The band captivated the audience throughout both sets, opening the first with "Hungersite" and closing it with fan favorite "Arcadia." And the second set only got better, with Goose debuting its cover of Moniker's "Milestone 2 (Skux Life)." When the act laid into a heavy jam with "Red Bird," we overheard Hilary say, "This sounds like a ’90s Phish show!"

She then turned to us with a wide smile and added, "This is my first Goose show, and now I'm in for life."

Fortunately, it won't be long before Colorado sees Goose again: The band announced that, for the first time, it's moving its annual Goosemas event from its home state of Connecticut to the 1STBANK Center on December 17. Tickets go on sale tonight at 9 p.m.

At the end of the show, we said our goodbyes to Hilary and Tony, who were already predicting that the band would soon be playing runs at Red Rocks similar to those of veteran jam bands like Widespread Panic and Umphrey's McGee.

"I'm sold," Tony said with a grin. "I'll be back next year for their three-night run."
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Emily Ferguson is Westword's Culture Editor, covering Denver's flourishing arts and music scene. Before landing this position, she worked as an editor at local and national political publications and held some odd jobs suited to her odd personality, including selling grilled cheese sandwiches at music festivals and performing with fire. Emily also writes on the arts for the Wall Street Journal and is an oil painter in her free time.
Contact: Emily Ferguson

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