Greta Van Fleet proved that the classic rock and roll sound is alive and well with their sellout show at Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit.
The four-piece from Frankenmuth, Michigan, consists of three brothers – lead singer Josh Kiszka, guitarist Jake Kizska, multi-instrumentalist Sam Kizska – and their good friend Danny Wagner. Several years ago, they were an upstart local band that struggled to shake all-too-frequent comparisons to rock legends Led Zeppelin. And while Josh can hit the high notes similar to a young Robert Plant, the band proved with this show that they have matured into a style that is all their own.
The Grammy winners have sold out every headlining show they’ve booked for two years straight, so it was no surprise that their Detroit homecoming had family, friends, and fans of all ages wrapped around the arena waiting to get in. Many carried tiny pride flags in support of lead singer Josh Kiszka who came out as gay earlier this summer.
The arena was buzzing as the band made their entrance. “Welcome to the family reunion. You ready?” Kiszka said, just before downing a shot. “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em!”
Right on cue, pyrotechnics burst from behind the stage and the floor-to-ceiling curtains that blocked the sides dropped to the ground. Screams echoed through the crowd as the band launched into “Falling Sky” followed by “The Indigo Streak” from their latest album, Starcatcher. Both songs are classically styled blues-rock tunes that show off Josh’s vocal range.
Next, it was “Lover, Leaver” from 2018’s Anthem of the Peaceful Army followed by a harmonica duet between Josh and Jake. The guys then took fans on a jam session tour across several albums that culminated in the lights being turned down for an extended drum solo from Wagner while the Kiszka brothers left the stage.
Several minutes later, the lights came back to show the Kiszka brothers on a mini-stage set up at the other side of the arena. With Sam on the keys, Josh gave an impassioned intro to “Unchained Melody,” a cover the band has been doing throughout the tour. The full band then joined in for “Waited All Your Life,” again from Starcatcher, and then “Black Smoke Rising” off their debut album From the Fires.
After the band retook the main stage, they gave a prog-rock-infused mix of guitar and drum solos while the band worked through “Fate of the Faithful,” “Sacred the Thread” and “The Archer” – all from Starcatcher. The crowd screamed as Jake Kiszka showed why he was given the 2023 “Best Guitar Solo of the 21st Century” award by Total Guitar Magazine while Josh walked the stage belting the lyrics and throwing flowers into the crowd as more pyrotechnics burst behind drummer Danny Wagner.
A few minutes following intermission, Greta Van Fleet came back to fans waving their pride flags in support of Josh. When it came time for the last song of the night, “Farewell for Now,” he told them it was a song made for the moment. “For now” were the keywords because it was clear from their cheers that this crowd would have them back on a weekly basis if Little Caesar’s Arena would allow it.
For those who worry about what the future of rock and roll holds, Greta Van Fleet came to Detroit Rock City and brought down the house. They did it with enough face-melting guitar playing, spine-tingling vocals, and flamboyant showmanship to make even the most cynical 70s rock fan realize that these new kids are alright.GRETA VAN FLEET
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