Photos + Review: Greta Van Fleet at Cal Coast Open Air Theatre (San Diego, CA)

Greta Van Fleet (Frankenmuth, MI)
September 29th, 2019
Cal Coast Open Air Theatre in San Diego, CA

There are a lot of good bands out there, I have seen my share of really good shows but Greta Van Fleet are in a league of their own.  The guys delivered a set of pure rock and roll magic during their San Diego stop that blindsided me.  I was left completely speechless and genuinely blown away by their performance.

Their music caught my ears and intrigued me right away even after hearing only a handful of their songs on the radio.  I must say that hearing every radio DJ chime in with their Led Zeppelin comments really annoyed me.  Led Zeppelin was the first band I went nuts for and I feel that any attempt to make comparisons is an overly simplistic and unfair look at both of the bands.  If you look beyond the initial impression you will discover that these guys have a soul of their own.

I get nervous when I photograph a show.  So consequently it is very difficult for me to really listen to the music when I am freaking out trying to get good shots.  Photographers for the most part only have three songs during which they are allowed to shoot before being escorted back out of the pit.  This allowed me plenty of time to put my camera away and really experience the rest of the show.

On this night I was joined by my lovely wife for a rare date night.  She had also been dying to see Greta Van Fleet live and it was great to share this experience with her.  By the time we made it back to our seat the band was playing “Watch Me” followed by “The Music Is You,” a John Denver cover.  I grabbed my wife’s ear and asked her what she thought of the show so far, she smiled and said “I like it. They are really good live and his vocals are amazing.”

The band then played, “You’re the One” and all of a sudden everything changed.  The show went from “wow, this is a fun show” to something more, something special.  I found myself completely immersed in the music, being moved by it.  I was not expecting this at all.  Jacob Kriszka’s guitar work is sublime to say the least.  The last time I ever heard a guitar being played like that was… well, never.

I believe it was during his guitar solo that my wife posted this on her Facebook wall: “I think I just found out what an auditory orgasm is! #gretavanfleet,” and I think that explains the magnitude of both their musical talent and their stage presence.  Joshua’s voice is truly unique and a powerful instrument of its own which he masters with every note.  Samuel’s bass lines are soulful and elegant beyond words and Daniel’s drums just demand your full attention.

If you get a chance to see them live please do so.  Trust me, they will blow your mind.

Setlist:

When the Curtain Falls
Highway Tune
Black Smoke Rising
Flower Power
Watch Me (Labi Siffre cover)
The Music Is You (John Denver cover)
You’re the One
Age of Man
Black Flag Exposition
Watching Over
Safari Song
Encore
Lover, Leaver (Taker, Believer)

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