The Festive Season is upon us, and jam-band fans know what that means: Goosemas. In preparation for their annual showcase in December, Goose played their first European tour in smaller venues and, in one case, on a moored boat. A portion of their devoted flock joined them, along with interested locals. During their first-ever show in Manchester, England, they played a cover, only their second, of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” with a new twist.
Of course, it is always an act of bravery to take on a Prince tune. To do it live when you know that this version exists, raises the stakes higher still. No trepidation shows. Opening the second set, Peter Anspach frames the piece with keyboards and then the band fill the scene, before Rick Mitarotonda takes on the improvisational duties. In a bravura performance, he goes through delicate phrasings and a panoply of power chords before something suddenly emerges.
Multiple listens do not give any hint of what is coming. If “Purple Rain” was one of the cultural phenomena of 1984, the surprise addition of “Axel F,” aka the theme to Beverly Hills Cop, was another. Bringing them together is something even Prince did not do.
Goose’s Manchester gig was one of the best-received on the tour and is available on Bandcamp.