Greta Van Fleet is a band everybody is starting to know, but here in Detroit Michigan they are a household name already. These humble rockers from Frankenmuth, Michigan have been playing local high schools, small festivals and bars for years in these parts. So, it’s no surprise that as they rise to fame globally, here at home they sell out 3 shows at the Fillmore theatre in downtown Detroit in seconds. I honestly think they would have been better off to play at the new Little Caesars Arena just down the street as they were sure to sell that out as well. But for the beautiful intimacy we were in store for the Fillmore was the perfect spot. Three nights in Detroit. They had their first show on the Tuesday evening, with opening act Dorothy from sunny California accompanying them on this run of sold out shows.
Dorothy just coming out with her follow up album “28 Days in the Valley” after the widely successful “Rock is Dead” album blew her up onto the scene. On Rocafella Records her second album is a rebirth of sorts and a fresh face for Dorothy Martin. After dealing with hard times, self-substance abuse and a few very unhealthy relationships, she is now 6 months sober as of this article and you can see the difference in every part of her performance, attitude and appreciation for this rebirth. With Linda Perry by her side and writing with her, she has turned into a beautiful butterfly with her wings outstretched and her voice ready to soar. With famed producer and manager Kerry Brown by her side I don’t think there is anything she isn’t ready to do, and in Detroit on all three of these nights she brought her A game. I’ve seen her play many times before and I’m always impressed but there was something about watching them play before Greta on these shows that was extra special. These where huge shows to be opening for and they all knew it. Dorothy and Greta Van Fleet are a great mix of talent and have a common feel and vibe altogether awesome pairing.
Dorothy Started off with a song off her new album called “White Butterfly” with a super long intro and some burning of incense this California grove rock song gave the crowd just what they were wanting. After warming them up a bit and introducing herself and the band to the people that didn’t know them, they blew into “Naked Eye” and then jumping into her hit song “After Midnight” off her last album. With her voice, so sultry and bluesy I could hear her sing anything, as she gets into the fun song “Pretty when your High” and has everyone rocking back and forth. The mix in the theatre is prefect on all three nights. Sometimes openers don’t get the full power but they came out in force and they were gonna be heard on these nights. Up next is the hippy 60s infused “We Need Love” that Dorothy Martin just nails. She makes us all Believe with “Ain’t our time to Die” as her voice preaches to us to believe there is more to living. The rhythm section in this song is brilliant and stylish, with the perfectly placed leads riding over it this is a dynamic song with force. Pushing ahead she leads us with the anthem style song “Down to the Bottom” and has the whole crowed in her fingertips as she has the room in a trance on enjoyment.
To finish off their set they close it out with the lead single “Flawless” of her new album “28 Days in the Valley”. This song as you listen to it is straight from her heart and her heartbreak, and that rebirth that I spoke of. She owns her past and turns it into her energy moving forward. It was a wonderful experience to watch that three nights in a row as did the crowed of howling fans as each night you could see she reached new fans that feel in love. And this is opening act and a good one at that.
With the temperature in the building rising as it was packing up. Everyone was finding their seat, getting their drinks, and looking for that perfect place to see the band. As Dorothy’s equipment was leaving the stage fans starting shuffling around to get the closest to the stage as possible. As the long awaited sold out shows of Greta Van Fleet in hometown Detroit were about to begin. Even Greta Van Fleet the 87-year-old great grandmother from Frankenmuth from which the name came from was on hand for the second show to meet and enjoy the boys’ performance along with her husband Dale and other family members. It’s been 5 years since she seen them last and she was in for a treat.
Starting their set out each night they blasted into their most recognized hit song “Highway Tune”. This is the song that introduced everyone to this up and coming rock n roll band who started soared up the charts instantly. Great song to start it all off. After blazing through that track they moved onto another song off their EP “From the Fires” with “Edge of Darkness” this gritty song has this beautiful hook that had everyone singing along and swaying back and forth. Jake going to another realm as his solo is absolutely mind blowing, not to mention he plays half of it over his shoulders and behind his back. These kids have the stage presents to boot. By song two you could already feel the rooms energy. This being 3 sold out hometown shows in a week there was a sense of magic in the air, from friends and family in attendance to just seeing friendly faces that were so excited to finally see them preform live. You weren’t just seeing a show; something was going on. It was like we were part of a rock movement. Greta Van Fleet and Detroit Rock City were gonna lead point on this charge. These were special nights for everyone.
After warming us all up they fired into a new song “When the Cold Wind Blows” and this song takes you back, I know everyone is on them for that Zeppelin sound but man do they ever bring it back and make it current and the feel of this song has it. To even be talked about in the same sentence as a band like Led Zeppelin is a complete honor and I think this band is on the right track. After Cold Wind Blows they moved into “Talk on the Street” a groovy little jam that’s a staple in their live shows. My favorite song they do and is one of the songs that got me hooked on them way before they were even signed and playing bars still is the psychedelic hippy song “Flower Power” such a fitting name for such a beautiful song. Love Josh’s voice on this song man can this guy belt out all the notes. And Sam changing it up and sitting down at the keys is always a treat. What was super cool about watching them over these 3 performances is that each night the whole crowd was singing along totally carefree. It’s amazing what music can do to us all and our souls. After banging out “You’re the One” they moved onto a sweet cover of Howlin’ Wolfs “Evils” this has been in their set for a while and I feel like each time I hear it, it gets better and better and more their own. A beautifully groovy cover that Howlin himself would be proud of. The last three songs of their set consisted of songs I believe will be on their new album that will be released later this summer and those are “Mountain of the Sun”, “Watching Over” and another favorite of mine “Lover Leaver Taker Believer” to close out the set and man people were dying for more.
The roof was almost coming of the Fillmore and Jake Kiszka’s hands must have been on fire from the amount of amazing guitar licks that kid was playing. As Danny Wagner lays down some of the most epic back beats and grooves, you can feel his thunder in your chest. As the stage is empty after their 10-song set, the hoard of fans scream for more. Refreshed side stage the group comes out for two more earth shakers with “Black Smoke Rising” and “Safari Song” to close it all out. At the end of Safari Song Danny drops into an intense drum solo that seems to last forever as no one wants to leave. Just a brilliant set all three nights with a little extra something on the Friday evening when they also covered Howlin Wolfs “Killing Floor” and with the help of Poppa Kiszka on harp the also fit in a cover of The Doors “Maggie McGill to set things of just a little extra on the Friday and it was for sure friends and family night for the band. Detroit was rocked and it felt good. Thank you Greta Van Fleet!!! You are a breath of fresh air.