Goose revives the American jam band during fall tour with Trey Anastasio Band

The two bands performed a lively four-hour set in Uncasville, CT

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Trey Anastasio, Caitlin Reardon/Daily Collegian

By Caitlin Reardon, Assistant News Editor

Trey Anastasio and his band paired up with progressive jam group Goose for a fall tour, hitting Uncasville, Connecticut on Nov. 12 along the way. Gathering in a sold-out arena in Mohegan Sun, the performance was a goldmine for all who enjoy the jam scene.

Jam bands are certainly an acquired taste. Yet, groups like the Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic and The Allman Brothers Band have been trail-blazers for the genre. They’ve accumulated a dedicated fan base that sets themselves apart from other music groups’.

Trey Anastasio is known as the lead guitarist and vocalist of the Vermont-originated band Phish. Anastasio ventured into his solo career in 1998, forming the Trey Anastasio Band, or TAB as some fans call them. His work continues to explore the ever-flowing waves of the jam-filled path he helped pioneer.

Goose has accumulated a large following from the likes of those who enjoy Phish and other jam bands since the release of their first record “Moon Cabin” in 2016. While they are still based in the tried-and-true rock roots and psychedelic funk, the group is revamping the jam genre with a more modern, technical approach.

Goose’s musical expression is a refreshing take on the traditional American jam band. In combination with Anastasio’s background in developing the style itself, it is natural that the two groups tour together.

Keys, vocals and guitarist Peter Anspach took the stage with his four bandmates. Anspach expressed to the crowd, it “feels good to be here” in their home state of Connecticut. Then, Goose took off with their song “Animal,” a high-powered opener that warmly welcomed audience members to the group’s dynamism.

The crowd was strikingly present – young concert goers did not pay much attention to their phones, exemplifying a desire universally felt by those who attended to soak in the music and dance along.

From a bird’s eye view, the sea of people on the floor moved and swayed along, tossing beach balls in the air like it was one big celebration of Goose’s return to New England. The sense of community was tangible and exciting.

“It is our first show we’ve ever played with people behind us,” Anspach said into the mic as he pointed up to the people seated in the balconies behind the stage of the arena.

Main vocalist and guitarist Rick Mitarotonda’s voice held its toasty resonance from the beginning of their performance. Mitarotonda was intensely focused on the stage while soloing, standing still and closing his eyes.

Anspach’s keys and synthesizers surrounded him on three sides. Goose’s set was elevated through expansive synths that permeated the arena. This was in conjunction with the vivid light show timed to the song’s rhythm.

It reflected a production level that visually matches the venturous sound they put forth. Anspach did not let this get away from him as he thanked the 77-person crew who helped put the show together.

The group performed a handful of favorites, like “Arrow.” The tune holds compelling breaks that slow the quick tempo. The band built back up with Mitarotonda’s sharp and gripping improvisations on the guitar; Anspach simultaneously switched back and forth between his guitar and the keys.

Bassist Trevor Weekz and the two percussionists, Ben Atkind and Jeff Arevalo, consistently stayed almost one beat ahead of the tempo throughout the show. This maintained the rapidly accelerating rhythm which held a buzzing foundation for Mitarotonda and Anspach.

From what originally started as “Arrow,” the band moved swiftly into a cover of Bob Segar’s “Hollywood Nights,” totaling to an approximate 25-minute jam.

I was impressed by Goose’s collective and individual musical intuitions. Improvisational jams are hard to maintain for twenty plus minutes, especially considering the intense lighting. The group is concise and cohesive. Because of that, they are very successful in distinguishing their crisply bright and adrenalizing sound within the jam scene.

“Dripfield,” from their latest record, reinvigorated the crowd. A mythical energy, the synths and drums particularly, complemented Mitarotonda’s strong vocals and spacey guitar riffs. The tone then ramped up through piercing guitar soloing that traveled higher and higher up the fretboard, but soon came back down to the song’s melody.

“We’re gonna get the TAB horns out here,” Anspach said. Trumpet, saxophone and trombone players walked on stage and began their cover of Fat Freddy’s Drop’s “Fish In The Sea.” Saxophonist James Casey, trumpet player Jennifer Hartswick and trombone player Natalie Cressman all took turns competitively soloing back and forth like a battle.

Trey Anastasio then joined Goose with his guitar for “Factory Fiction,” marking the end of Goose’s set. Anastasio and Mitarotonda riffed unitedly with fluctuating textures and succinct intonations.

After a set comprised of both Phish and TAB originals, Trey Anastasio and his seven-piece band continued with their separate set that held a heavier rock quality. “Twist,” “No Men in No Man’s Land” and “46 Days” riled the audience with bluesy instrumentals that led to head-banging jams.

Anastasio interacted with audience members during his own jams, spinning and twirling on stage with a smile. His energy was a highlight of the show, adding to the fun atmosphere. Goose rejoined TAB shortly after and stayed on stage until the end.

Saving the best for last, the 13 musicians performed Phish’s “Carini” as the encore. The arena erupted in cheers after the first notes rang out, shouting the lyrics back to Anastasio. The jam continued for a while more, although time seemed to escape all who rocked out as the show finished in approximately four hours. While the show was very long in duration, the energy didn’t dip between both Goose and TAB.

From start to finish, the two bands produced an impressive show that pulled out all the stops to saturate concert goers in the liberating adventure that is a jam band.

However, this monster of a tour proves that newcomers like Goose and veterans like Trey Anastasio Band are successfully reviving the jam scene with passion and ferocity to keep the spirit of jamming and its community alive.

Caitlin Reardon can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @caitlinjreardon.