That’s annoying. When you buy a party pack of peppers, you open it and it turns out to contain only a small base of chippies. The rest of the contents of the package consists of air. I think about it tonight during Greta Van Fleet’s concert in the Ziggo Dome. The proverbial chippies are doing fine with this band. They may be a bit old, but they leave you wanting more. Unfortunately, there is simply way too much air in the package.
Photo Julia Huikeshoven
In any case, it’s off to a good start. After an intro of orchestral covers of their songs, Greta Van Fleet enters, fireworks are immediately set off and the enthusiastic foursome plays The Falling Sky. With eight fire-breathing flamethrowers behind him, Josh Kiszka, the band’s little singer, immediately goes for a big performance. What a throat this glittering frontman has! Also The Indigo Streak he brings with passion, but in the end Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer) things are already going wrong. The first of many boring instrumental intermezzos begins.
As Josh disappears from the stage, his brother plays a guitar solo that seems to go on forever. Every time you think the guy is done, he throws another bloodless volley after it. ‘Yes, now we know!’ I want to shout to the stage. A spectacular outfit change from Josh would have been a good excuse for the spectacle. But when Jake finally stops instrumentally quoting his rock and blues favorites, it turns out the singer has only taken off a shirt.
Meeting The Master follows, and is a highlight. The song is introduced by two short, respectful odes to The Beatles. Apparently they were Within You Without You in Norwegian Wood sources of inspiration for Greta Van Fleet’s most beautiful ballad to date. Kiszka’s screams are perfect and the yodelling over the bright guitar lines almost makes you forget the trick his brother pulled off earlier.
The delicious pop rock hit Heat Above unfortunately it doesn’t work out as well. The song is slowed down considerably live, probably so that Josh doesn’t turn blue during the chorus. This means something is missing. As my wife put it, “It’s like being brought to the brink of orgasm, and then suddenly the battery runs out.”
Another solo, this time on the drums. Again, just as fascinating as watching paint dry. But at least this time there is a reason for the break. Josh has put on a blue onesie covered with star stickers and runs with his brothers to a small stage at the back of the room. There the band shows that it doesn’t need all that hot air at all.
Greta Van Fleet packs the audience, firstly with beautiful acoustic versions of Unchained Melody, Waited All Your Life in Black Smoke Rising, secondly, with a charm offensive. Josh smiles and jokes. He hands out kisses and white roses to the audience. ‘What a sweetheart she is!’ I hear boys and girls whispering next to me. They are right. In his blue onesie, the 1.50 meter tall singer looks like a Teletubbie.
Unfortunately, shortly after the acoustic block, this Teletubbie is headbanging again next to his other brother, bassist Sam, who is starting up the next grotesque solo on the big stage. Greta Van Fleet will be on stage for over two hours tonight and will only play fourteen to fifteen songs. Crowd favorite tracks like caravel, Safari Song in Broken Bells are missing. The band too often prefers solos over songs. There simply could have been more chips in the bag.
Seen: November 8, 2023 in Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam
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