Greta Van Fleet Performs to Excess at the X

Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet at The Xcel Energy Center 9.3.23

Last updated on September 18th, 2023 at 05:09 pm

Walking into The Xcel Energy Center for Greta Van Fleet‘s Starcatcher Tour brought 13,000 fans back in time, with the multi-generational crowd members donning anywhere from normal everyday outfits to hippie outfits, bellbottom jeans, jumpsuits, and love beads. The only throwback item missing was Mary Jane permeating the air, although this didn’t stop lead singer Josh Kiszka from telling the crowd, “Smoke ’em if you got ’em.”

Sam Kiszka, Greta Van Fleet, Rock, Xcel
Sam Kiszka at The Xcel Energy Center 9.3.23

If you felt like you were in a haze during the concert, you weren’t alone. The stacks of pyro might have melted your face off if you were close enough, and the fog machine was working overtime, fogging up the X a good 15 minutes prior to the band dropping the curtain.

Jake Kiszka, Greta Van Fleet, Xcel
Jake Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet 9.3.23 at The Xcel Energy Center

Greta Van Fleet attempted to use the performance to separate themselves from the label of “Led Zeppelin clone.” That plan fell apart after the first two songs, “The Falling Sky” and “The Indigo Streak,” because the third number, “Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)” reeks of something that fell off of Robert Plant’s tongue.

However, they did define a more independent sound by sourcing most of the night’s music from the album Starcatcher, which was released in late July. Luckily for the band, the mostly younger crowd either knew the new album or swayed along to the guitar-heavy songs. Yet they still made the most of their retro vibe rock with Jake Kiszka playing a lengthy and solid guitar solo that felt like a tip of the hat to Zeppelin.

Daniel Wagner, Greta Van Fleet, Drummer, Xcel
Drummer Daniel Wagner of Greta Van Fleet 9.3.23 at The Xcel Energy Center

The worst part of the night had to be the drum solo. It pains me to say it since I love a great drum solo, but this one was not great, as drummer Daniel Wagner lacked any cohesiveness and just fell flat with his effort. Not to mention, it was one of the longest drum solos I’ve seen in quite a long time, and that didn’t help.

After the drum solo, the band took to the back of the X to play a few acoustic songs and get intimate with the crowd on that side of the stadium. They also played a boring cover of “Unchained Melody,” made popular by the Righteous Brothers. They made up for that stinker with well-crafted versions of “Waited All Your Life” and “Black Smoke Rising.”

Josh Kiszka, Greta Van Fleet, Rock, Xcel
Greta Van Fleet’s Josh Kiszka performing at The Xcel Energy Center 9.3.23

If I could summarize the night in one word, it would be excess. Excessive smoke, excessive pyro, excessively long guitar and drum solos, and an excessive amount of effort trying to separate themselves from one of the most famous bands in rock history.

The one thing they didn’t do in excess was play their biggest hits. Regardless, they sounded great, and if you’re great at something, who cares what others think? You can be like someone else and still be original.

Written by Brett


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