Greta Van Fleet, the young rock and roll foursome from Michigan, nonchalantly walked onto the darkened stage waving and throwing white roses to a screaming crowd at the Fillmore Auditorium. Then without a word they exploded into a thunderous jam session before seamlessly flowing right into “Highway Tune,” their first big radio hit that put them on the map. Guitarist, Jake Kiszka, charging into the song followed by frontman and twin brother Josh unleashing a primeval scream into the night was an immediate warning to the sold-out crowd that they were about to unleash classic rock and roll fury. And for over an hour, they did not disappoint.
If you’ve heard Greta Van Fleet blast through your speakers and listened to people talk about them, there’s a good chance you’ve also noticed the comparisons to rock legends Led Zeppelin. Sure, Josh Kiszka’s voice does conjure up the stage spirit of Robert Plant. Jake does evoke a little Jimmy Page swagger and style of play. Danny Wagner and Sam Kiszka hold it all together just as the great Bonham and Jones had to. And although the band may play off those comparisons while dressing in classic 1970s leather and open vests, make no mistake. These four musicians are not “the next Led Zeppelin.” They are Greta Van Fleet, a force unto themselves who have risen to the top of the charts even before releasing a debut album. (Anthem of the Peaceful Army will be released on October 19) You can’t do that on comparisons alone. And on this night, they not only showed why the band has seen such a meteoric rise, but also why they deserved to play two big shows at the Fillmore.
For over an hour, they blasted fans with mesmerizing guitar solos, classic rock and roll ballads, and thunderous seven to ten-minute jam sessions. Whether it was Josh delivering his epic vocal range on “Flower Power” and “You’re the One,” Jake’s behind the head solo on “Edge of Darkness,” or monstrous performances of “Thunderstomp” and “When the Curtains Fall,” the crowd seemed to never get enough. They got their wish during a two-song encore of “Black Smoke Rising” and “Safari Song” which brought the night to a close.
I often wonder what the future of rock music will look like when the Metallicas and Foo Fighters of the world decide to call it quits. Then I witness live shows like this where the showmanship, the talent to turn great music from a record into a gigantic live performance, and the ability to knock a sell-out crowd on their ass is on full display and I realize a good part of that future lies with Greta Van Fleet because there doesn’t seem to be anything in their way of achieving greatness.