Greta Van Fleet delivered an exceptional performance at Detroit’s Fox Theatre on Saturday December 29th. The concert was the second of three sold out shows for the band’s Michigan homecoming. In the holiday spirit, the band also joined forced with Gleaners Community Food Bank, setting up canned food donation stations at each of the concerts.
The Frankenmuth natives have had an unbelievable year releasing an acclaimed debut album, and just being nominated for four Grammy awards.
Opening the show was the talented husband and wife duo, Ida Mae from the UK. With a wave, guitarist Chris Turpin greeted the crowd.
“Good evening, Detroit. There’s a lot of you out there” …and with that, the pair was off on their incredible set. The musicians’ talent was evident from the very first note.
The audience, who was ready for great music, welcomed Ida Mae warmly. The band presented sharp rhymes and impressive playing. Stephanie Jean delivered lovely vocals and kept rhythm. The band had more than enough original material to round out a great set.
Guitarist and singer Chris played with a slide, while his wife kept rhythm. Her beautiful voice complimented her husband’s soulful sound flawlessly.
The band commented on being grateful to be at the theatre with their friends, Greta Van Fleet. They kept an open dialogue with the audience, talking about moving to Nashville, writing music, and even shouting out the gorgeous theatre itself.
Overall, Ida Mae was a wonderful opener to set the stage for the night’s main act.
Greta Van Fleet’s Peaceful Army of fans were out in droves to support their musical heroes. The audience was filled with all types of folks, young and old. Some were dressed in full on 60’s and 70’s attire, an appropriate homage to the band’s undeniable throwback sound. One fact was absolutely unmistakable; the turnout was rock n’ roll fans through and through.
The lights dimmed, and GVF took to the stage right around 9:30 PM. The beautiful Fox Theatre was alive with energy right off the bat as the audience ignited with applause that rarely dimmed throughout the night.
Keeping up a lovely tradition and class act move, lead singer Josh Kiszka handed out roses to fans. Greta Van Fleet wasted no time getting to the music as they started off their night strong with an intro into “Cold Wind”, the second track off their debut LP, “Anthem Of The Peaceful Army”.
The band was dressed every bit the rockstar part. Josh in a golden vest, adorned with a headband lined with draping feathers. Guitarist Jake Kiszka sported a black military-style jacket, whilst shirtless underneath. Bassist Sam Kiszka and drummer Danny Wagner kept a classic, minimalistic feel as well. The attire suited the band and night perfectly.
Second in the set, the crowd went wild for the band’s hit, “Safari Song”. To conclude the song, Danny Wagner drummed and exceptional solo. He was also celebrating his birthday!
Throughout the night, Greta Van Fleet performed tracks from their debut LP, as well as jams from their EPs that grabbed attention from around the world.
Next up, the band presented one of their Grammy nominated tracks, the epic “Black Smoke Rising”.
During “Flower Power”, bassist Sam Kiszka switched instruments to get down on an organ. A vase of white roses was perched upon it.
Josh exclaimed, “Watch me now!” as the band started appropriately into “Watch Me”, a Labi Siffre cover. During “Watch Me”, Josh Kiszka took to his mike stand, feeling every bit of the music. At times, standing next to his brother Jake, who absolutely shredded on guitar.
When the song concluded, Josh flashed a peace sign and thanked the audience.
“Now this next song if you know the words, sing along.” The band started into “The Music Is You”, a beautiful John Denver cover. Throughout the night, Greta Van Fleet put their musical knowledge and appreciation on full display.
During “You’re The One”, singer and guitarist were back to back singing the heartfelt chorus together. Jake traded his electric guitar for an acoustic for the softer, more intimate jam. Josh threw a few “Here comes the sun” lines in for a thoughtful touch. His effortlessly powerful vocals soared throughout the theatre the entire night through.
Next under a yellow-hued light, Greta Van Fleet presented the lead single for their new album, a track called “When The Curtain Falls”. The celebratory crowd danced and sang along accordingly.
After, the lights dimmed and in a blue smoke haze, the band started into “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)”, a cover of the 1970 Melanie track. Jake Kiszka took to center stage for an unmatched guitar solo, which was a common theme of the evening. Josh Kiszka added a passionate touch with tambourine.
During “Edge Of Darkness”, Josh Kiszka accepted a red rose from a fan and added it to the collection atop the organ. The crowd positively erupted when guitarist Jake started playing his guitar behind his back and over his shoulders. He didn’t miss a beat. Josh continued on tambourine and ended the song with a powerful note. The band thanked the crowd, and exited stage left.
The Fox Theatre roared with cheers and applause from the second Greta Van Fleet disappeared from view. There was even a loud “GRE-TA” chant going. Cell phone flashlights and lighters danced in the air, illuminating the anxious crowd. The audience hit a crescendo as Josh Kiszka reappeared with a wave, band in tow, and said, “Detroit, we love you!”
To start off the encore, the band performed another awesome track also from their latest release, “Brave New World.” Next, Greta Van Fleet rocked out with “Lover, Leaver” as the crowd danced along. During the first chorus, the crowd went mental for Josh’s dazzling vocals and creative microphone effects.
The encore was far from over as the band continued onto their massive track, “Highway Tune”, then a terrific cover of Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ And Tumblin'”.
The band kept the music jiving, riffing into Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil”, and the Black Keys “I Got Mine”. Greta Van Fleet closed out their night jamming together, their musical talent shining bright.
Greta Van Fleet will be wrapping up their string of Fox Theatre shows tomorrow night, then will continue to tour extensively into 2019.
Review and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell
Michigan heroes, Greta Van Fleet put on an absolutely tremendous show at the Fillmore in Detroit on Tuesday May 22nd.
The sold out evening was the first of three shows that the band is playing at the same Motor City venue this week. Shows will continue on Wednesday and Friday, and are likely to be just as packed.
Beginning the night was awesome Los Angeles band, Dorothy.
With a beauty and power that would match her voice, the band’s namesake started off the night lighting what I’m fairly sure was a Palo Santo wood (olfactory sensations being one of the least of the night’s practiced). The audience responded with overwhelming cheers as the set began.
Dorothy Martin made sure to shout out to Detroit rock city, sharing love with the crowd.
Right before “We Need Love”, Dortohy went acapella singing the word “Love”, and encouraged the crowd to echo back her vocals.
“Close enough,” she said with a smile.
The gorgeous lead singer in fact went acapella a few times, showcasing her powerhouse voice. For the set’s duration, she was joined on stage by four fellows on guitar, bass, and drums.
A highlight of the evening was their performance of “Flawless”, where the band backed Dorothy with great harmonies. During the tune, several audience members put their hands up and swayed to the song.
At the end of their set, Dorothy asked the crowd, “Are you ready for Greta Van Fleet?” After a resounding cheer she continued, “This is a song about freedom. We’re all connected. We’ve got to take care of each other. They can’t control us when we come together and realize we’re one big family”.
Dorothy closed out their evening with “Freedom”, and blew a goodbye kiss to the crowd.
After Dorothy wrapped up, the stage reconfiguration began. After a while, the excited crowd started chanting, “Gre-ta, Gre-ta!”
Once setup was complete, the lights dimmed, and the four gentleman from Frankenmuth took to the stage. With old school amps and rockstar attire, Greta Van Fleet looked every bit the part.
Lead singer Josh Kizska, started off the night singing hometown sentiments. He had a handful of beautiful white roses, and handed them out to fans in the audience. Ladies in the front row were positively delighted at the sweet and classy gesture.
Greta Van Fleet wasted no time in getting straight to the rock! They began their set with the massive song, “Highway Tune”. The audience hung on every note, and the trend continued throughout the evening.
All four members exuded well-earned confidence, that paired perfectly with the precise rock they delivered. Josh Kiszka’s ubelievable voice absolutely soared throughout the theater.
GVF attracted a diverse demographic of young new faces, as well as older rockers who apprecaite the music of yesterday. It seemed every audience member was aware of how big this band will be, as they breathe new life into the rock gods of old.
The band effortlessly translated their two EPs from studio to stage.
Greta Van Fleet has been making giant waves in the music world after the release of “Black Smoke Rising” and “From The Fires”.
In a recent Australian interview, the legendary Robert Plant actually described Greta Van Fleet as “Led Zeppelin 1”, joking that Josh Kiszka borrowed his voice from someone he knows quite well.
Any necessary Led Zeppelin comparisson aside, GVF absolutely put a stamp and portrayal to their performance that was all their own.
The band showed off their talents with super chemistry and fluidity onstage. Right off the bat, guitarist Jake Kiszka hung his guitar over his shoulders and impressively played without looking.
After the band’s own “Flower Power”, Sam Kiszka (who traded off bass and keyboard duties throughout the night) shined with an extended keyboard solo at the end.
Around mid set Josh Kiszka noted, “I see a lot of friends, a lot of familiar faces. It’s our family out there tonight, too! We’d like to thank everyone for being here.”
It was obvious that despite their quick rise into the spotlight, Greta Van Fleet was grateful for the attentive audience.
Josh Kiszka at one point asked the crowd, “Do we have any blues lovers out there?” The band started into an incredible Howlin’ Wolf cover of “Evil”.
At the conclusion of their set, the band carried notes from “Safari Song”‘s riff, hinting at things to come, and that the evening wasn’t quite done.
Ending out with “Lover Leaver Taker Believer”, Greta Van Fleet exited the stage… but the crowd was hungry for more. The theater was positively alive with cheers for GVF to re-emerge. That cheer only got louder when, with a wave, the band came back to the stage.
The audience sang and jumped along to “Black Smoke Rising”. Last but not least, GVF closed out the night with giant track, “Safari Song”. During the closing chorus, Josh Kiszka held out his mic for fans to sing along. The band closed out with an incredible drum solo that built into a rhtymic crescendo. After which, each band member wailed on their instruments, and made sure to thank the crowd one more time.
Greta Van Fleet is sure to ignite the continued crowds in Detroit, and all of those throughout the rest of their tour. The band will be continuing to tour North America and overseas well through the summer time.
Words and photos by: Tiffany Cuthrell