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One day in 2017, I had the chance to cover this up and coming band playing their first Los Angeles show at the historic Viper Room. This venue only holds 250 people, and it was not a sold out show. This was only six years ago, and we went through a Pandemic where everything stopped functioning like normal for a full year. And yet, this band is now selling out arenas worldwide! That band is Greta Van Fleet. Who has been bringing the sound of 70s classic rock with blistering guitar solo’s and instrumental jam sessions back to the younger generation. Selling out the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA on their Dreams in Gold Tour, and bringing with them Rival Sons. Greta Van Fleet brought the flower power movement back to Southern California.

Opening the night was blues rock baddies known as Rival Sons. I had heard a lot of good things about these guys and was looking forward to finally getting to experience what they were about. Opening their set with “Do Your Worst,” lead singer Jay Buchanan stepped onto stage wearing a three piece suit with no dress shirt, oozing charisma. Guitarist Scott Holiday looked like a snake oil salesman down in the bayou, but the way he handled the guitar and fuzzed up his tone was genuine. Drummer Mike Miley may have been positioned in the back, but he was nothing but personality behind the kit, with bassist Dave Beste maintained the low end with finesse and style all his own. With songs like “Nobody Wants to Die,” “Rapture,” “Where I’ve Been,” “Too Bad,” “Shooting Stars,” and ending with “Secret,” Rival Sons blues rock sound permeated the Honda Center, and the crowd couldn’t stop eating it up.

Then it was time for the one of the fastest rising bands in the rock music scene. Greta Van Fleet built the tension in their audience perfectly, as a scrim blocked the view of the stage as a voice over spoke to the audience. Once the scrim dropped and the boys hit the stage, for a moment you could not hear the band coming through the speakers over the sound of the crowd screaming in anticipated ecstasy. Opening the night with “Built by Nations” vocalist Josh Kiszka was dressed in a pearlescent sparkling white body suit with a gold trimmed robe. Josh was framed by his brother’s guitarist Jake Kiszka, in an all black two piece suit adorn by dragon embroidery pieces. And bassist Sam Kiszka wearing an all white two piece suit with translucent wings. It was as if three royal princes came down from their castle to grace the fans with their presence. Drummer Danny Wagner is not forgotten in the background, as he dresses with his silk ensemble and accented make up.

Greta Van Fleet has been evolving their stage show with every new tour, and every larger venue they can play in. With this arena tour, they brought along massive pyrotechnics with them. Blasting flames all around the stage and setting the Honda Center on metaphorical fire. Something that Greta Van Fleet Is bringing back that most modern day rock bands don’t do, is drum solos and jam sessions. Danny Wagner got a drum solo as the fourth song in the set, that let him show off just how skilled his beats and grooves are behind the kit. Then the whole band gets into a vibe while jamming out during “The Weight of Dreams.” Taking the Honda Center and its patrons back to the 60s when the artists would break off from the song to just flow with the essence and vibe of the tune. The Honda Center was even privileged to a brand new unreleased song called “Meeting the Master.” Greta played a two hour set with songs like “Black Smoke Rising,” “Safari Song,” “Caravel,” “Heat Above,” “Light My Love,” “Age of Machine,” and coming out for a three song encore with “Age of Man,” “That’s All Right,” and ending with “Highway Tune.” We were truly transported back to the essence of the 70s.

Something that has really caught my eye about Greta Van Fleet. It’s not just that every member of the band is a top notch skilled musician. But it’s the type of crowd that they bring into their shows. Normally when you think of a band playing classic hard rock and blues rock sounding music, you would think an older male audience. But Greta Van Fleet is able to pack these arena’s with screaming girls thriving to relive the days of flower power. I love seeing Greta Van Fleet continue to flourish and grow in popularity, and If Greta Van Fleet is the band that can bring classic rock sounding music back to the masses, I feel this would be a huge win for rock music.


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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