By Danby Morrison
WES Buzz Pop Culture News Desk Chief of 2019
On December 30, 2019, I went to see one of the coolest, Grammy-winning bands of this era, Greta Van Fleet. I have mentioned this band before, but seeing them live for the first time ever, I realized that they were amazing beyond words, beyond the human language, maybe. In this month’s Pop Culture edition of The WES Buzz, I will be covering what to expect in Greta Van Fleet’s songs, the band’s background information, the cool concert set-up, and the venue The Met itself.
What to Expect
The band often will do special things with their songs at concerts, such as extending drum solos and guitar solos. They will also have sing-along songs, where they’ll tell you something to sing, and, well, you sing it (duh…). Like a call-and-response type thing.
Safari Song: One of the band’s top hits is the love-filled “Safari Song.” At concerts, one of the lyrics is “Oh mama, what you gonna to do with all that love in YOUR HEART.” Before the “your heart” part of the lyric, the singer will hold out their microphone to the crowd, so the audience sings it with them. They not only do this at the chorus lyric, but at the end when the only thing the singer sings is “YOUR HEART.”
Watch Me (Labi Siffre cover): Not only at the concert that I went to, but I have watched several live feeds on YouTube of their other concerts, and they do a Labi Siffre cover of a song called “Watch Me” where they tell the crowd to sing the, not really words, but sounds: “Pa na na na na pa na na na na pa,” twice.
Highway Tune: In their super rockin’ song “Highway Tune” in concert, the bridge of the song is where the drummer plays one drum and the singer claps his hands with the microphone in one hand. And hundreds of people in the audience join in by clapping their hands. “Highway Tune” is also a very Dancy song.
During concerts they also tend to extend a lot of their songs. At the concert I went to, they did a snippet of their song called “Anthem” in the song “Flower Power.”
GVF’s Harmonic History
Where They Began
First of all, the band’s drummer wasn’t always the amazing Danny Wagner. When the band first formed in 2012, their drummer was a mediocre player named Kyle Hauck who quit after 2013. They soon replaced Hauck with their close family friend Daniel Wagner. (Who does the best darn drum solos of the 2000’s ever!)
The band was formed by the three brothers Josh, Jake, and Sam Kiszka (just because they wanted to because they all knew how to play instruments, including Josh’s incredible vocals). And Kyle Hauck, one of their friends, became the drummer. The band name “Greta Van Fleet” was inspired by the Frankenmuth, Michigan (where they grew up) town elder Gretna Van Fleet. The variation of the first name was so it’d be easier to say. The elder says that even though classic rock isn’t her type, she still supports the band no matter what. The band with Kyle Hauck recorded the tracks “Cloud Train” and “Standing On”. (Unfortunately, as I had mentioned before, Hauck quit after 2013, but he was replaced by the mind-blowing Danny Wagner!)
Albums & EPs
In March 2017, the band got a deal at Lava Records and made the single “Highway Tune” off of their first four-song EP Black Smoke Rising. In November 2017, they recorded four new tracks and created an eight-track album called From The Fires. Which included (in my opinion) Van Fleet’s best song Safari Song. Their most recent album was released on October 19, 2018, they recorded their full-length debut album Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, which topped BillBoard Rock Album Charts within a week of its release. Their Peaceful Army song “When The Curtain Falls” was Van Fleet’s third number-one on Billboard and was released ahead of time in July 2018. They started their debut tour “March of the Peaceful Army” in August 2019 and ended on December 30th, 2019.
The Cool Concert Set-up
Now I dare say, the stage of their Met performance was absolutely awesome. The intro to the band’s performance was smoke rising from the stage, lit up by the multi-colored spotlights. When Greta Van Fleet first came on the stage, the lights went dark and the only light came from the blue-lit stage. The band looked like cool silhouettes in the dark as a thousand people started cheering loudly and Van Fleet gave their short introduction speech. “You ready for the celebration?” the singer said to the audience. And the lights were constantly changing, sometimes red, and sometimes yellow. The spotlights were exquisite.
Details of the Met
You might think of the Met as some kind of historic, classy place where sopranos performed. But just one year ago the Met was reopened to the public and has a completely new design. It has a very modern-style bar, they use downloaded tickets on your phone for admission, they even have popcorn and cotton candy like a typical movie theater. It is an amazing theater. And, as you can probably tell by now, the lighting design people are just luminescent! And not to mention outside there’s a theater-type sign with their upcoming shows. My friend took a picture of me in front of the preview sign when it flashed the show for Greta Van Fleet! The Met also has colorful lights on the outside, too. There’s a huge sign that says “The Met: Philadelphia” on it.
I hope you learned a lot about the venue the Met, the amazing concert set-up Greta Van Fleet made, and Van Fleet’s fascinating music history. Watch videos of live concert feeds on youtube of Greta Van Fleet performing at the Met! Search for it on December 30th ‘cause that’s when I went and it was awesome!