Greta Van Fleet / Astonishing Dublin Classic Rock Fairytale

Many thought and hoped Greta Van Fleet would be sitting on top of the flash-in-pan scrap heap by now. Well, lads and lassies, wipe the egg from your faces. Because four albums into their career, this engaging four-piece are now a bona fide arena band.

Greta Van Fleet

3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023

Words: Brian Boyle

Photography: Carl Foran

Bombarded with accolades and also criticism over their glaring likeness to a certain Led Zeppelin, the Frankenmuth, Michigan foursome appear to have taken it all in their stride.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

This is the band’s third Dublin appearance since their intimate debut at the Olympia Theatre in 2019 and on the back of last year’s open-air soiree at Fairview Park. While the 3Arena is a cold-looking pile of breeze blocks, and its food and drink will bleed you dry, its amphitheatre-style design does offer more than most.

9 pm, it’s lights out, Dublin. The luscious orchestration of the Starcatcher Overture gets the collective juices flowing like free stout at an Irish wake.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

A massive curtain cascades to the floor, revealing the Michigan four on an elevated walkway at the back of the stage. With arms raised aloft, they are elaborately turned out. They look like they have arrived first class from the planet kitsch.

Literally kicking off in a blaze of glory, The Falling Sky is loaded with enough flamed pyro to singe the entire crowd’s eyebrows in one fell swoop. Frontman Josh Kiszka looked bang up for it, with his genuine smile making eye contact with his Irish buddies draped over the barrier.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

Another newbie off the eight played from the new album Starcatcher, The Indigo Streak, had a much-needed cooling effect and settled the early hysteria. Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer) gave a nicely timed shot of familiarity, though not for the first time tonight, guitarist Jake Kiszka’s over-extended guitar solos did slow down crowd attention a bit.

For a track that’s still fresh out of its wrapping, Meeting The Master hit a joyous nerve. It served as the perfect precursor for a unifying Heat Above, with Kiszka spreading the love by tossing white roses to the smitten punters.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

Highway Tune is still the band’s flag-bearing tune. Only a split second into Kiszka’s riff and this once train depot’s 145-year-old foundations were absolutely shaking. Brother Josh went walkabout in the pit, downing a shot from somewhere, even signing a couple of autographs and donning some seriously dodgy sunglasses.

Not to diss Daniel Wagner’s ability, but drum solos are by and large the perfect time to answer the call of nature, or better still, to refill your €7.80 anti-eco plastic cup. And acoustic sets aren’t much better. But the short and sweet rendition of Unchained Melody was beautifully executed, with Kiszka’s voice captivating the whole arena.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

Black Smoke Rising was never going to die a death, regardless of what form it’s presented in, but a fully leaded version will always be superior.

Throwing in three in a row of new songs was a brave but slightly ambitious move, as many turned to social media, scrolling and shooting the breeze. But no doubt Fate Of The Faithful, Sacred The Thread and The Archer will have their day.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

As encores go, this one will live long in the memory. Light My Love was a spine-tingling We Are The Champions moment. Yes, it was that good, a swaying choir of juiced-up Dubliners conducted by a flamboyant Michiganian. What could be better?

After the fitting closer, Farewell For Now, the band exited as they entered, side by side and ready for take off.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

Close your eyes, and you could’ve been in the classic rock heaven of the ’70s. But Greta Van Fleet are very much a band for the now.

So begrudging Zep purists, lighten the feck up and hop on the Greta Van Fleet’s magic carpet. It’s one hell of a ride.

Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk
Greta Van Fleet - 3Arena, Dublin - 16 November, 2023
Greta Van Fleet – 3Arena, Dublin – 16 November, 2023. Photo: Carl Foran/MetalTalk

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Comments

  1. This was a good gig but it could have been great if they had checked the drum solo, (5mins long) at the door. It all began so well but really began to flag in the middle due to the solo and endless acoustic ballads followed by way too long guitar solos, solos, solos…
    Even the end was badly handled when they just walked off stage and no one was sure if it was just another costume change . No one can deny they have some great songs and stage presence but someone needs to help them trim down the excessive f##king around between songs and built a show that ends in a climax not a wimper.

  2. Just some more thought on the gig since it was my first time seeing the band and my gig experience goes all the way back to queen at the RDS in 1979.
    The zepplin comparison is pretty apt but they do have their own unique sound as well.
    The problem with zep in the 70s was they were notorious for playing as many bad gigs as classic shows usually because they got carried away with endless individual solos. Gretta seem to be going the same direction but this isn’t the 70s and we’re not all stoned hippies sitting in a field with time on our hands.
    The other band that come to mind when thinking about Gretta is mid 70s Queen. They do have a bit of that stage presence but Queen knew how to present a show and pace things so the audience didn’t die of boredom half way through.
    I was with a bunch of people at the show (young & older) and we all felt pretty much the same after the show.
    Gretta could be a great live band if they just trim the boring excess and sharpen up the pace of the show.

  3. I just found the lyrics screechy, and yes, the word boring did spring to mind in parts. There is for instance a reason that bands stopped doing the 5 minute drum solo. Luas for some strange reason has a tram that leaves a few minutes before the gigs in the Point end. We were on it. Went to see GVF because I missed them at Download a few years ago (they only had a few songs then, and I only heard them from the slow queue on the way in), but I will not be bothering again. Place was full enough however, and age seemed to be mostly 20/30s, so maybe this is where it is at. I am not however there!

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