Story and Photos: Audrey Wright
Editor: Spencer Fleming
Greta Van Fleet ascended the crowd into another dimension on Sunday (3/13) at The Dow Center in Saginaw, MI . This was the third show on their long awaited Dreams In Gold tour. Like many of the fans that attended, I’m no stranger to Greta’s music and euphoric vibes.
People started camping outside the venue in the 20 degree weather as early as 1AM! Tents and sleeping bags overflowed the front of the building. The band had pizza and hot chocolate catered to all the fans in line. Such nice guys!
I entered the venue before the doors opened and got to watch the chaos ensue. People frantically filed in through security and raced through the line to make it to their ultimate rock and roll destination, THE BARRICADE.
After the crowds found their way to the arena, I was escorted, along with a few other fellow benders of light to the photo pit for the first act, The Velveteers. The trio riled up the crowd with their slick guitar riffs and unique drum fills.
The Velveteers are a primal rock trio group from Boulder, Colorado. On vocals and guitar is Demi Dimitro. Drums are played by two individuals, Baby Pottersmith and Johnny Fig. I’ve never seen two drummers before! What a wild ride.
Up next was Rival Sons. These guys really brought down the house with their soul rock vibes. Their bass player, David Beste, actually grew up in Lincoln, NE which is only 45 minutes from Stories from the Crowd headquarters in Omaha, NE.
As soon as Rival Sons’ set was done and the stage hands started setting up for Greta the anticipation began. It felt like time had slowed to a crawl. I’ve been a huge fan of Greta Van Fleet since their first album From The Fires, so the wait seemed even longer considering how long I had been wanting to see them live.
As I made my way back to the photo pit, a giant black curtain hung from the ceiling. The crowd cheered us on as we walked towards the stage. The house lights dimmed and the throngs of fans went wild. Ethereal music started to play and my heart began to race. I blinked once and the black curtain fell down around us, and there they were, in all their glory.
I was in a trance the entire time. I was singing along as loud as I could while balancing my camera to get that perfect shot. I couldn’t help but be moved by the infectious sounds streaming from the band. I had the best time of my life. If you’ve never seen Greta Van Fleet perform, you have to put them on your list! There’s a reason these guys are selling out arenas all across the U.S.
Greta Van Fleet is from Frankenmuth, Michigan, not far from Saginaw, so these first few shows on the tour have really been like a hometown run. Their friends and family were all there cheering them on.
Greta Van Fleet formed in 2012 by twin brothers Josh and Jake Kiszka, and younger brother Sam Kiszka. Later that year, drummer Danny Wagner joined the band and they were playing local bars and practicing in their parent’s garage. On April 21, 2017 their debut EP Black Smoke Rising was released. In 2018 they released their first album Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, and in 2021 they released their newest album The Battle At Garden’s Gate.
Greta’s music is so powerful and cryptic. Their songwriting skills are untouched and the lyrics really make you think for yourself. It frees your mind from all the troubles of reality, bringing you back to your primal roots as a soul. Their fans are known as The Peaceful Army. Spreading love and light onto others. The world will always need more love. The boys had me feeling the love and I danced and sang until the last note.
We heard songs from their newest album including “Heat Above”, which was accompanied by the most insane pyrotechnics. Other songs included, “The Weight Of Dreams”, featuring Jake Kiszka’s signature solo which won him Guitarist of The Year in 2021 presented by Total Guitar Magazine. Greta covered a lot of their catalog, including some older songs like “Black Smoke Rising”, “Brave New World”, and my personal favorite, which they played while I was shooting, “When The Curtain Falls”. I went absolutely feral during that song. I couldn’t help myself.
I could write forever about this group, but my main takeaway from this whole experience is that I want to do this for the rest of my life. Something about being at their show wiped away all my worries and fears. I was one with the universe. Music is supposed to make you think and feel and that’s exactly what it did. I felt every lyric, every high note that Josh belted out, all of the immense gratitude and love from every person in the room, so thankful that they got to be there.
I want to thank Kate Rakvic of Sacks and Co. for this opportunity, the founders of this magazine, Spencer and Virginia Fleming, for giving me a shot at this, and to the amazing and wonderful members of Greta Van Fleet. You’ve changed my life forever by bringing so many friends and wonderful people into it, I am forever in your debt. As Josh Kiszka once said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride”. Until next time my friends.
You can catch Greta Van Fleet on the Dreams In Gold Tour now extended through the end of the year. We’ll be back in our home base of Omaha, NE for the show on 3/25/22. There’s still some tickets left. Don’t miss out! Click HERE for more info.
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