Fans began lining up at the 15,000-capacity venue as far as three days before the show. March 6th finally rolled around and more people from near and far started to line up to see these four young men from Frankenmuth, Michigan. At 6:00 pm the doors opened and fans were filled with relief when they reached the barricade. The various chatter grew louder as people filtered into the venue.
The night started out with blues and soul singer-songwriter from Bernice, LA Robert Finley, followed by Houndmouth, an alternative blues and rock band from New Albany, Indiana who got the crowd going in preparation for GVF.
At last, the moment had arrived. After the curtain covered in symbols from their newest album “The Battle At Garden’s Gate” went up, “Reasons For Waiting” began to play over the speakers. Many loyal fans know that when you hear this song play before a Greta Van Fleet show, you know it’s time to prepare for the lights to go down.
Josh’s thundering voice echoes through the arena and as piano chords ring out, an overwhelming feeling of emotion and excitement washes over the crowd. “All across the world, we’ve traveled wayward for….” Josh begins to recite the Dreams In Gold opening monologue. I've heard this intro in person three times now, and it still gives me chills every single time.
The crowd starts to shiver with anticipation. Finally, red lights illuminate the curtain, screams erupt from all around, and “Built By Nations” begins to play when the curtain drops revealing the four band members in dazzling new outfits covered in dragons and swords. The stage lights up from the flames of the pyrotechnics, and the energy of the band, and the crowd, only seems to get higher.
When the crowd settles, Sam hops on the keys and Josh chimes in on the mic. "Hello lovers, hello ex-lovers, hello future-lovers. It's going to be a beautiful night, huh?" He introduces "Heat Above" describing it as one of the most important songs they've written. "It's about life being a celebration of love. Where there is not love in this world, we must provide it, and where there is love, we will live on."
The song begins and fans simply cannot resist singing along with the beautiful melody. You can feel the love and joy radiating around the entire arena.
The song comes to a close and Sam starts to play a rendition of "Rhapsody In Blue". The piano fades into a different tone and flows into what fans know as "Light My Love" and flashlights can be seen across the venue. When the chorus arrives, the pyrotechnics go off with a big explosion and the crowd is bathed in a "stream of colors". My favorite part of the show is easily when Josh sways along with the crowd.
"Everybody alright?", Josh says. "Jake is going to take us to the summit of this thing." Smoke from the geysers fills the room and Jake plays the opening riffs from "The Weight Of Dreams". This is where Jake really gets to show off his god-like guitar skills. Explosions erupt from the stage once again as they reach the height of the song and cheers come from all around. The band leaves the stage as people yell, "Encore!". They return one by one minutes later after Josh changes to an older suit and blue lights surround the stage. "You know this one?", Josh says as angelic chords from "Age Of Man" are played onto the Mellotron and guitar notes start to trickle in. Of course, I know it, as it's my favorite song. Before the line "A beauty lives in every soul, the more you love, the more you know" is sung, Josh mentions it's his favorite. The live version still puts tears in my eyes and sends chills down my spine.
Josh decides to sing a line from "The Music Is You" by the great John Denver before closing out the show with "Highway Tune", an older fan favorite, and a cover of "That's All Right" by Elvis Presley along with boas, sunglasses, and shots, oh my!
With ringing in their ears, sometimes white roses, picks, or setlists in their hands, and love filling their hearts, the crowd starts to dwindle. Hesitantly making their way to the exit with the events of the night still fresh in their minds. If you want to have the most unforgettable night of your life, I highly recommend seeing Greta Van Fleet live. You can find more tour dates here!
Greta Van Fleet is...
Josh Kiszka (vocals), Jake Kiszka (lead guitar), Sam Kiszka (bass & keys), and Danny Wagner (drums)