Greta Van Fleet’s first of two shows in Seattle was my first concert of the year. What a perfectly lucky opportunity was that? So very, very very lucky.
This was a sensational show for classic rock fans. Seattle’s a very welcome home for rock music, which has strangely been somewhat neglected recently. I’m not talking about music that sounds a bit here and there like ’70s rock. I’m talking about the kind of music that would fit exactly in the ’70s. In the same way I love music that could be straight out of New Wave, I love music that recalls ’70s rock. Maybe I can be a purist. I’m not alone though, as Greta Van Fleet’s music is going Gold.
Originating in Michigan, the five-piece Greta Van Fleet has – in the space of two years – released two EPs, Black Smoke Rising and From the Fires; and one album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Each band member is greatly talented with three of the band coming from the same family: Singer Josh Kiszka and guitarist Jake Kiszka are twins; bassist/keyboard player Sam Kiszka is their brother. I totally love that. Drummer Danny Wagner (who did a wild drum solo at the show) is the only non-family member.
Perhaps unfair in a show review, but I loved the whole setlist. Everything about “Black Flag Exposition” was a stoner’s dream. Those blue foggy lights. Those guitar licks and solos. Just amazing. It was awesome to see a new track received so well by the audience. “Flower Power” was huge, while “Watching Over” was a more insular stony experience. “Watching Over” also had some magical guitar work in it. “When the Curtain Falls,” “You’re the One,” (with vocals by the twins !!!), “Safari Song” and “Edge of Darkness” were all excellently accessible. Josh Kiszka has a gigantic and flexible voice, yet somehow I didn’t feel as if his vocals were competing with the instruments. The front row appeared to be all women, but there were plenty of men at the show too. Thank you guys, for letting women have that front row. This is a band worth seeing up close and in person.
The stage made creative use of four circles above the band featuring live video projected of the show onto their surfaces. This interspersed with visuals, including, one, I think of bat figures flying across a cloudy sky. Cool swirling lights beamed down on each band member at one point. Very pretty.
2019 is bringing the band major attention with four Grammy nominations, a gigantic world tour, and a Saturday Night Live debut on January 19th.
Ida Mae, a British husband and wife duo, was the opening band. With a bluesy sound featuring vocals by Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean plus guitar accompaniment by Turpin, the pair just moved to Nashville.
Highway Tune – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires
Edge of Darkness – From the Fires
Flower Power – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires
The Music Is You (John Denver cover)
You’re the One – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Evil (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
Black Flag Exposition – unreleased
Watching Over – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
When the Curtain Falls – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Black Smoke Rising – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires
Safari Song – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires