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Greta Van Fleet Storms The CHI Center!

Story and Photos: Audrey Wright

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Now back to the story....

After a bumpy start to their Dreams In Gold Tour at the beginning of this year, Greta Van Fleet rose from the fires and played an incredible show in Omaha, NE Saturday night (7/23). I was fortunate to go see them in Saginaw, Michigan, on what was not known to be their last tour date before Jake Kiszka (the guitarist) got sick. All dates after were rescheduled for later this year, Omaha being the first date back after their European tour.

This show was incredibly special for me because I not only have been a huge fan of theirs since 2016, but I also saw them at Sokol Auditorium the last time they were here in 2017. This was by far the biggest venue I have ever shot at. I was nervous the whole time, not because of the plethora of people, but because I wanted to produce great content for the Greta Van Fleet fans and I had so many friends and family watching me. Now back to the music.

The Velveteers opened up first. When I saw them in Saginaw, MI last time I didn’t know what to expect, but this time I did. Their stage presence never ceases to amaze me. They even got the crowd involved. Demi (lead singer), jumped off stage with her guitar and had the crowd hold the guitar. One of my friends, Katie, held Demi’s guitar as she played it. She was in awe! Drummer, Baby Pottersmith, also jumped off stage and had someone hold their drum kit while they played. The whole set was very immersive and got the crowd hyped up.

Rival Sons was next. Their classic rock/blues vibes really got the crowd going. Lead singer Jay Buchanan, walked gracefully on stage dressed to the nines in a maroon suit with his hair pulled back. Then he belted out the lyrics and started dancing around on stage along with his other members, Scott Holiday (guitar), Dave Best (bass), Mike Miley (drums), and Todd Ogren (keys).

Greta Van Fleet made their way to the stage after an anticipated four month wait. A giant black curtain, with the Dreams in Gold key and The Battle At Garden’s Gate symbols, was hoisted into the air, dangling over the masses. I made my way up to the photo pit with the other photographers and I was greeted by all my wonderful friends who camped out the day before in the sweltering heat. I even had friends and family in the crowd. People I didn’t even know cheered me on as I walked through. I felt very loved and grateful. It was a huge moment for me and that made everything better.

Ethereal music started to play and the lights dimmed. A recording of Josh Kiszka (lead singer) played while the lights flickered and the drums began to pound. I kneeled down, took a deep breath, and the curtain fell. The fans went crazy. Most of my friends who were up front, have never seen them live, so the best part for me was to see their faces. I was expecting them to play "Heat Above" first, but they took an interesting route and played "Built By Nations" and included the ever loving and also extremely hot pyrotechnics. I thought it was an amazing start to the show and it really got the crowd prepped for what was to come.

Other songs played included "Heat Above", "Highway Tune", "Age Of Man", and "Weight of Dreams", in which Jake Kiszka played what seemed like a 15 to 20 minute guitar solo that blew everyone’s minds. He even played harmonica, which his father, Kelly Kiszka, plays and grew up playing blues music. It was so great seeing Jake carry on the tradition. His twin brother, Josh, went wild during his harmonica solo. As he should. It was phenomenal. What I love most about this group is that they interact with their fans while on stage. Josh, took shots with a couple fans up front, he grabbed a film camera someone tossed up on stage and took photos of everyone, he even put on yellow heart glasses that my friend, Kaela, made for everyone the day before! He is also notorious for throwing his tambourine after playing it, I wasn’t quite close enough to catch it. He also throws out white roses towards the end of their set. They really show their appreciation for their fans and that’s why I love them. Normal dudes from a small town in Michigan with a strange job. After the set was over, everyone gathered for a group photo organized by longtime fan/peaceful army member, Rex Cunningham. (photo below)

After the show ended I was embraced by all my friends, and I broke down in tears. All of my emotions came flooding in. It made me realize just how much support I have and how wonderful the peaceful army is. I was so nervous for months, not knowing what was going to happen, and I had this amazing opportunity unfold for me, yet again. I just want to thank everyone on the Greta Van Fleet team for making this experience so wonderful and being so great to work with again. Your work will not go unnoticed. To the boys, thank you for gracing us with your beloved music and your wonderful personalities. I know the work you do for your fans and us benders of light is extremely hard and we are all forever indebted to you. To the stage crew and everyone who worked behind the scenes to give us such an amazing show, thank you! To my friends who flew out for this show, drove many miles, and to all the new people I met, I love you all so much and you are forever my family.

This is what music is all about. Bringing strangers together in one room, bonding over something greater than us all. I would like to leave you all with this quote that my dear friend, Anela, provided me. “Greta Van Fleet creates a concert experience that can only be described as something cosmic and aligns your spirit. I don’t think the band understands they have provided such a beautiful space for fans and have helped elevate our souls to what feels like another realm”.

Quick shout out Dakotah for dressing up like Josh!

Photo credit to Daphne

You can catch Greta Van Fleet on the remaining tour dates below!

7/26-Green Bay, WI @Resch Center

7/29-Hershey, PA @Giant Center

7/30- Cincinnati, OH @Heritage Bank Center

8/10-Huntington, WV @Mountain Health Arena

8/11- Orchard Park, NY @Highmark Stadium

8/14- Pittsburgh, PA @PNC Park *Supporting Metallica*

8/16- Quebec, Canada @Centre Videotron

8/18-Montreal, Canada @Centre Bell

8/19- Toronto, Canada @Scotiabank Arena

8/22- Winnipeg, Canada @Canada Life Centre

8/23- Regina, Canada @Brandt Centre

8/26- Calgary, Canada @Scotiabank Saddledome

8/27-Edmonton, Canada @Rogers Place

8/29- Kelowna, Canada @Prospera Place

8/30-Vancouver, Canada @Rogers Arena

9/2-Spokane, WA @Spokane Arena

9/3-Boise, ID @ExtraMile Arena

9/13-Flint, MI @ Dort Financial Center

9/14-Ypsilanti, MI @Eastern Michigan University

9/15-9/18-Louisville, KY @Kentucky Expo Center *Bourbon And Beyond*

9/20-Fort Wayne, IN @Allen County War Memorial Coliseum

9/21- Des Moines, IA @Wells Fargo Arena

9/23-Fargo, ND @Fargodome

9/24-Sioux Falls, SD @Denny Sanford Premier Center

9/27-Toledo, OH @Huntington Center

9/28-Knoxville, TN @Thompson-Boling Arena

9/30-Charlottesville, VA @John Paul Jones Arena

10/1-Allentown, PA @PPL Center

10/4-Manchester, NH @SNHU Arena

10/5- Albany, NY @MVP Arena

10/7-Uncasville, CT @Mohegan Sun Arena

10/8-Bangor, ME @Cross Insurance Center

10/18-Raleigh, NC @PNC Arena

10/19-Greenville, SC @Bon Secours Wellness Arena

10/21-Jacksonville, FL @Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena

10/22-Estero, FL @Hertz Arena

10/25-Hollywood, FL @Hard Rock Live

10/26-Tampa, FL @Amalie Arena

10/28-Charlotte, NC @Spectrum Center

10/29-Birmingham, AL @Legacy Arena at The BJCC 11/1- New Orleans, LA @Smoothie King Center

11/2-North Little Rock, AR @Simmons Bank Arena

11/4- Oklahoma City, OK @Paycom Center

11/5- San Antonio, TX @AT&T Center

11/8- El Paso, TX @Don Haskins Center

11/9-Tuscon, AZ @Tuscon Arena

11/11-Anaheim, CA @Honda Center

11/12-Sacramento, CA @Golden 1 Center

12/9-12/10-Atlantic City, NJ @Mark G Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

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Greta Van Fleet

Rival Sons


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