Greta Van Fleet brought their Dreams in Gold Tour to the PPL Center in Allentown, PA on October 1, 2022. They brought along with them soul, blues singer Robert Finley and alt blues, rock band Houndmouth. The best way to describe this whole experience is, Beetlemania. Girls camped out overnight to secure their place in line. The venue put out a social media post the day before the show stating that camping was not allowed at the venue. I was honestly taken back by this post, who camps out for shows these days, especially in Allentown. This is not the most stellar neighborhood. I was told about 30 people camped out overnight and many more arrived early on Saturday. I arrived two hours prior to the start of the show and the line was wrapped around the building. The best quote of the night happened before I even left my vehicle. Since I arrived early, I waited in my car a bit. A bright yellow car pulled up aside of me with flower decals on it. Several young women emerged from the vehicle, and you could hear their excitement. One of the women said, “I don’t know how I am going to survive this concert; I don’t know how to handle hot men.” It was at this moment I knew the true impact that this band had on their female fanbase.
Robert Finley opened the show, he may not have necessarily fit the demographic, but his spice, soul and sassiness won over the crowd. He had women in their 20’s screaming and swooning over him, he’s in his 60’s. Robert sang a blend of soul and blues songs, over a 30-minute set. He danced, gyrated, and thrusted his way into everyone’s hearts. He’s accompanied by his daughter, Christy Johnson, as his backup singer. She’s an incredible vocalist in her own right, she has amazing soul just like her father. If you are seeing this tour, make sure you come out early to check Robert and his band out, they will put a smile on your face.
Houndmouth had a tough act to follow but they also killed it. I had not heard of them before this tour, and I have been missing out. They performed 8 songs over a 40-minute set. Lead singer Matt Myers doubled as the rhythm and lead guitarist. His vocals remind me of a young Bob Dylan and his guitar chops are a cross between John Mayer and Tyler Bryant. He played with so much emotion, you could literally feel every note he played. Their drummer, Shane Cody had facial expressions for days, with the nature of the bands music the drums were quite subdued, but you could tell that Shane’s personality is much bigger than his drumming style. I’d recommend grabbing a bottle of wine, turning on the fireplace and getting lost in their album “Little Neon Limelight”.
The band everyone was waiting for, Greta Van Fleet. I have a bit of a story with this band. When they hit the scene with Highway Tune, I was intrigued. It sounded way different than anything in the current rock scene. They had a random tour date scheduled with Halestorm in Rochester, NY in October of 2017. Lzzy Hale pulled the plug on their set late in the day due to illness and Greta Van Fleet ended up headlining the show. I will be honest that the performance wasn’t stellar and Josh Kiszka’s vocals were not nearly as good live as they were recorded. I’ve listened to their music on and off over the years and was interested to see how the band developed. I mean they are playing a sold-out arena tour; they have to be good. From what I said earlier, from girls camping out, to lines around the block, this band had to have something other than sex appeal, but let’s be honest, they are all great looking.
Greta Van Fleet opened the night with Heat Above from their latest album “The Battle at Garden’s Gate.” The curtain dropped and it was an immediate revival. Thousands of fans threw their hands up and started singing the gospel of Greta Van Fleet. This was not the same band from 5 years ago. They have been compared repeatedly to Led Zeppelin, sure I can see and hear this somewhat. They are very much a band with a vintage sound but honestly this opening song felt much more inspired by Rush. Whether or not that is the case its just what it felt and sounded like and to me this is not a bad thing. Josh like Robert Plant and Geddy Lee has a very distinctive voice, and it just happens to fall into the era of the 1970’s. They rolled it back to one of their first hit’s Safari Song which started out with Josh’s scream, then his brothers Jake (guitar) and Sammy (bass) came in with the breakdown. This song has such classic blues riffs. This is when I realized that Josh is the only one singing, I shot the previous 3 songs not paying attention that no one else had microphones. Jake came over to back Josh up on his mic during this song.
Greta Van Fleet played 12 songs over 2 hours, yes just 12 songs. The beauty here is that they are a live jam band. Jake, Sammy, and Danny Wagner (drums) are all fantastic musicians. I feel like they are settling into their own space and bringing a young, fresh audience into rock and roll. So many say the genre is dying, I feel like it's just expanding. They are touring the U.S. through the beginning of December, if you can still get a ticket, you will be lucky. I think we will hear a lot more of Greta Van Fleet for years to come.