I saw Greta Van Fleet at Cleveland’s Jacobs Pavilion Sunday night. It was sold out: Five thousand-plus. The band was great, the fans ecstatic. You had kids onstage, and a lot of kids in the crowd. The connection was electric. Like rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to be.
I haven’t felt an audience vibe like that since the last time I saw Greta Van Fleet, which was last July at Stage AE.
The heritage bands can’t replicate that. The men onstage are too old, and many of the ticket-buyers are too old.
That’s no knock on anybody. I will keep seeing heritage bands, and enjoy their shows. Just because you’re not fresh doesn’t mean you’ve hit your expiration date.
But there’s a lot to be said for being fresh.
That’s why I don’t get the continued criticism of Greta Van Fleet, in particular the constant comparison of them to Led Zeppelin.
Instead of being happy that youth has rediscovered rock’s formula, too many cast a sideways glance and crack wise. Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant is that genre’s master, too, alternately praising and sniggering.
Lighten up, Percy. Let somebody else be a golden god. If you shout loud enough, maybe Greta Van Fleet will get off your lawn.
Or maybe they won’t.
Sure, Greta Van Fleet has elements of Led Zeppelin. Just like Led Zeppelin had elements of Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf and countless others. Zeppelin have the attorneys’ bills to prove it, unlike Greta Van Fleet.
There are only so many chords. Music gets passed down through the generations. Things get updated. Things get adapted. Yes, things get lifted. That’s how music is.
Greta Van Fleet is brilliant. They’ve helped reignite my passion for music. No easy task. They sound the part, look the part, act the part and more.
Sure, twin brothers Josh and Jake Kiszka have the Plant/Jimmy Page dynamic going on vocals and guitar. Isn’t that the idea?
Greta Van Fleet shouldn’t heed one word from the critics. It’s an approach that worked, ironically, for Led Zeppelin. Look where it got them.