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Concert Reviews:
Greta Van Fleet raises the bar, again, at the Fox Theatre

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Friday, December 28, 2018

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DETROIT -- After a ferocious opening to its concert on Thursday night, Dec. 27, at the Fox Theatre, Greta Van Fleet frontman Josh Kiszka declared that, "It's good to be back in the state of Michigan."

And it was indeed another sweet homecoming for the hard-rocking Frankenmuth quartet.

GVF had plenty to celebrate at the first of its three sold-out Fox shows. It was, after all, the band's sixth Detroit show in 12 months and came in the wake of a Top 5 debut for its album "Anthem of the Peaceful Army" and four Grammy Award nominations, including Best New Artist. It was also younger sister Josie's birthday, with a shout-out from Kiszka as she sat with friends in the crowd.

It was a big night, in other words, and GVF delivered with a storming 13-song, hour-and-45-minute performance that allowed the early twentysomething troupe to display its continuing growth from the heavy global touring itís been doing since early 2017 -- as well as expanded production that included a bulked-up light rig and seven round video screens at the rear of the stage. GVF came out strong, with a non-stop tear through "The Cold Wind," "Safari Song" and "Black Smoke Rising," the latter bridged by Danny Wagner's early-show drum solo. Josh Kiszka, in his feathered headband and embroidered vest, was even more confident and animated as a frontman, working the full Fox stage and striking poses like a seasoned veteran, while younger brother Sam Kiszka put down his bass to play organ on a couple of mid-show songs, including an epic treatment of "Anthem's" "Flower Power."

The real rock star heroics, however, came from guitarist Jake Kiszka, whose blazing solos led lengthy jams during "Edge of Darkness," "Watching Over" and the as-yet-unreleased "Black Flag Exposition" -- during which he was obscured by smoke and back-lighting at a time when he should have been in a bright spotlight. He also elevated the show-closing "Taker Believer," another epic riff-o-rama that, despite GVF's frequent comparisons to Led Zeppelin, actually evoked the fiery improvisations of vintage Who concerts.

Other highlights on Thursday included a bit of John Denver's "The Music is You" to introduce GVF's own "You're the One," a pairing of "Lover Leaver (Taker Believer" and "Brave New World" that began the encore, and, of course, a tight rendering of the group's first hit. "Highway Song."

Leading up to the Fox stand, the Kiszka brothers spoke about seeing a production of "The Lion King" at the Fox and the effect it had on them. And GVF was definitely feeling the love on Thursday night, and likely will in the coming days as well.

Greta Van Fleet and Ida Mae perform at 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 29-30, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. 313-471-7000 or 313Presents.com.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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