Live Review: Greta Van Fleet At The Pageant
Edge Of Darkness
The Music is You (John Denver cover)
You’re The One
Evil (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
Black Flag Exposition
When The Curtain Falls
Black Smoke Rising
Hey Jude (Beatles cover with Cloves)
Barricade. Dark. Smoky. Screaming. The sounds of “My Whole World Ended” by David Ruffin blasting over huge speakers. Right in the bridge of the song, the band comes out on stage and the crowd goes wild. This was my first ever front row show.The first words Josh Kiszka said to the crowd were, “Namaste, brothers and sisters.” Immediately, people were lighting up, as they should, in which Josh said, “It smells good in here.” Daniel Wagner (who was nineteen at the time) on drums, Sam Kiszka (who was also nineteen at the time) on bass and keys, Jake Kiszka (twenty-one at the time) on the wailin’ guitar, and Josh Kiszka (Jake’s twin, who was also twenty-one) all taking the stage for the first time ever in St. Louis, MO at The Pageant on August 1st, 2018.
The band of course opened up with their number one hit, "Highway Tune"
already engaging the crowd into one hell of a night of reveling in Rock N Roll. Josh’s vocals are extremely strong as the entire crowd screams the lyrics while Jake’s playing the repetitive riff that everyone knows so well. After that hit is played, the crowd is already blown away, yet Greta Van Fleet has only just begun.
Up next is "Edge Of Darkness", which is not only the second song on this set list, but also the second track on the band’s double EP, From The Fires. The song starts out with Jake playing yet another repetitive yet familiar riff, eventually going into a full blast guitar solo, in which he plays the guitar behind his head, which makes the crowd go absolutely nuts. Josh sings the chorus, “All my brothers we stand for the peace of the land” as the crowd sings along.
"Flower Power", which was my first-ever favorite song by Greta Van Fleet, and still a popular one, was up next and the rendition was done ever so beautifully. Sam hopped off of the bass for this one and the next few, as the song that’s all about freedom begins. Although this song is about freedom, this is the one that all the girls love. It’s about love. This band sings about love, which is of course how the band wins the love of their women fans of all ages and walks of life. The girls in the crowd are screaming and singing and so filled with love in their hearts and stars shining in their eyes. But my favorite part of this song is the ending, “As the days pass by my mind, are the wrong the rights you are my sunshine, and as the night begins to die, we are the morning birds that sing against the sky”, as Sam plays a beautiful outro to the song on the keys that makes you feel like you’re carried into the next one.
I did not recognize the “intro” to the next song as they call it, which is a cover of John Denver’s "The Music Is You", followed by their song, "You’re The One". You’re The One was THEE love song of the night and also on their debut album, "Anthem of The Peaceful Army", and even features Jake singing along with Josh during the chorus. Although this was not as well-known at the time, people still knew it and were fully engaged.
Up next was a cover of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Evil”, in which they performed a faster rock n roll version of the song that really had everyone head banging after the ballads.
It’s thanks to this video I found on YouTube because I have no memory of watching them perform the next song at all. I suppose I could have just been so blown away, so engaged in what was going on right in front of me, that I literally was lost in the music. What is known to have become a crowd favorite by 2019, the band performed a song they call “Black Flag Exposition”, which features their own music, however, the lyrics are actually from a song from 1970 titled, “Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)”.
“Watching Over” was an extremely popular live song, being that so many people already knew it, yet it was featured on the new album, so it hadn’t been released yet. The lights went red and you could tell that something was going on. They were going for more mysterious vibes with this song and the last one.
“When The Curtain Falls” was released just a couple of weeks before this show, however, they killed it live. It was extremely loud (as rock n roll should be) and I have this memory of hearing every scream, I mean scream, the lyrics. All of them. It’s such a rockin’ song about one of Josh’s films and it was the first single to be released from Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, and it was a great way to end… Before the encore of course.
About five minutes went by, as encores usually do, and the band came back out as the crowd went crazy yet again. Coming back out on stage as strong as they were the first time, the beginning riff of their hit, “Black Smoke Rising” was being played by Jake and everyone was losing their minds at this point. It was even louder between the band and the crowd, there was so much energy all night long.
Their last song (by themselves) was Safari Song, which everyone of course knew, the one I was rockin’ out to and dancing to a lot was the perfect “closer” for them. Everyone was singing, dancing, rockin’ out, having the best time to what was (almost) the end of the show.
For the actual last song of the night, Greta Van Fleet got together with their opening band, Cloves, to do a beautiful rendition of “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. At the very end of the show, in total celebration, Josh and Jake came out with champagne bottles and drank from them. Perfect ending to the perfect show.
*All photos were taken by Bethany Hildebrandt*