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Rock band Greta Van Fleet’s “Dreams in Gold” Tour was downright explosive

By: Marin Dremock

Waltonian | The Waltonian A photo of the “Dreams in Gold” concert Marin Dremock/The Waltonian

After four years of impatient waiting, I was finally able to attend a Greta Van Fleet concert in Hershey, Pa. Their “Dreams in Gold” Tour highlighted their 2021 album, “The Battle at Garden’s Gate.” With a mix of songs from the album and other well-known works (with themes relevant to the current climate of the world), Greta Van Fleet put on a spectacular show of lights, fire, love and music.

The stage was beautifully set; a curtain with the symbols for the songs in “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” covered the main stage where the artists’ instruments were set. The lights dimmed, and a monologue about the album’s final song, “The Weight of Dreams,” read by lead vocalist, Josh Kiszka, played over the speakers.

“Built By Nations” was the band’s opening song. I honestly think they couldn’t have picked a better song to open with. Greta Van Fleet appealed to Led Zeppelin fans off the get-go with this very Zeppelin-esque song. Perhaps the most influenced by the 70s classic rock band, the song had the energy that the crowd needed to get into the concert.

This song was also the first of several to use pyrotechnics. Audience members, including myself, had visible looks of shock on their faces after the first flames shot from the columns on stage. I remember turning to my friend and shouting, “They just did that!” The fire warmed my face from across the arena. Even my friends in the very last row of the nosebleed seating said they felt it too. That definitely brought a different meaning to “Heat Above.”

Drummer Danny Wagner was honored with a drum solo that was absolutely electric. Every moment was a display of his talent and ability to improvise an entertaining and captivating solo. The solo also allowed the eccentric and vibrant lead vocalist Josh Kiszka to undergo the first of three costume changes. 

Guitarist Jake Kiszka’s three-minute 56-second guitar solo at the end of “The Weight of Dreams” was extended, probably, to 10 minutes during the live performance. His ability to keep the same key and extend the solo without repeating many of the exact chords in the song itself was amazing. It was a guitar solo that fans of the album have heard before, yet his extension made it unique and special.

Pianist and bassist Sam Kiszka stunned with a rendition of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” that led to the opening piano notes of the very emotional, “Light My Love.” Josh prefaced the song saying, “This song is for the lovers.” And lovers indeed were seen embracing across the sea of audience members. Tears were shed (certainly not by me…) when singing the bridge and ending of the song: all in unison, all as one sea of intense and vibrant love.

Giant Center proved to be a difficult venue for a rock concert. The instruments were amped up so loud that the lead singers’ vocals couldn’t be understood. It was especially disappointing because so many of Josh’s lyrics are insightful and profound: “A beauty lives in every soul/The more you love the more you know,” “He is bound to brothers built by nations/With no pride to call his own,” “To comet across a blistering hue/Beyond the spaces of false and true/Away from the world we have riddled with scars/To be only free and amongst the stars,” just to recite a few. I was looking forward to being touched by the ephemeral themes of Greta Van Fleet’s songs, but Jake Kiszka’s (quite incredible) electric guitar took the forefront. I wasn’t really complaining.

I couldn’t hear myself talk for two days after having this out of body, cosmic concert experience. My brain was flooded with their songs and lyrics; it still is. So many of their melodies enter my head daily, and I replay the moments I heard them perform each song live. It was unforgettable, emotional, surreal and enlightening.

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