Greta Van Fleet // Live @ Amalie Arena // 3.10.23 CONCERT REVIEWS FEATURED MUSIC by Courtney Thomassen - March 19, 2023March 19, 2023 Article and Photos by: Courtney Thomassen Tampa, FL — Almost five months after the original date, Greta Van Fleet stopped in Tampa for the final rescheduled Florida show on their Dreams in Gold tour. Robert Finley and Houndmouth joined the band for this first leg of the 2023 shows, supporting all Florida and Carolina dates. Once the doors had opened, the anticipation from the crowd in Amalie Arena was palpable and spirits were high as the day everyone had been waiting for was finally here! At 7PM Robert Finley, a blues musician from Louisiana, walked onto stage with the help of fellow musician Christy Johnson. If you hadn’t already known, it would be difficult to tell from his performance that Finley is blind. Leading up to the show, fans who knew of his story were spreading the word, collectively planning to clap and cheer extra loud in order to make sure he felt all of their love. Joined by his accompanying band Christy Johnson (vocals/tambourine), Aaron Goodrich (drums), Shane Boeker (guitar), and Jon Shoemaker (bass). Finley delivered a soulful five song set, grooving and dancing to songs including “Sharecropper’s Son” and “Get It While You Can.” Houndmouth, the alt-blues rock band from Indiana, was next to take the stage around 7:45PM. After a year of almost non-stop touring to promote their 2021 album Good For You, including a previous run with Greta Van Fleet in late 2022, the band was back this week to play in Florida for the first time since last April. The multi-talented band members Matt Myers (guitar), Caleb Hickman (keyboard), and Shane Cody (drums) all double as vocalists. Glenn Myers also joins on bass. As they each rotate through the role, mainly lead by Matt Myers and Cody, a fun and interactive energy between the musicians make for a lively and entertaining performance. A ten track setlist included equal parts old and new songs, featuring five from their newest release including “Good For You” and “Las Vegas” and five from older albums, including “Darlin’” and ending with chart-topping single “Sedona”. Houndmouth will continue to support the Dreams in Gold shows in South and North Carolina before heading back out on the road for their upcoming Chartreuse and Chandeliers tour later this month. At last, the time everyone had waited for had come. A large curtain decorated with symbols representing the tracks off of The Battle At Garden’s Gate, Greta Van Fleet’s newest album, lowered to hide the stage as the final set change began. A QR code directing the scanner to a pre-save link touting the question “Where Do We Go From Here?” could be seen on the side stage screens. While the link made its first appearance last year, with each show it reignites the crowd’s excitement for new music from the band whose most recent release came back in April 2021. Minutes before 9PM Jethro Tull’s “Reason For Waiting” played over the loudspeakers, signaling to the audience that the show was about to begin. Once it ended and the lights dimmed, a spoken recording from vocalist Josh Kiszka played before silhouettes of the band members behind the curtain started playing the opening number, “Built By Nations.” When the opening riff hit, the curtain dropped right on cue to reveal Greta Van Fleet bathed in deep red light. The fierce vocals of Josh and catchy instrumental of the track provided a high energy start to the set, punctuated with pyrotechnic effects during the final chorus and outro. Much of the setlist for the Dreams in Gold tour has remained consistent, usually beginning with “Built By Nations” and including staples from the new album like “Heat Above” as well as classics from their older releases like “Black Smoke Rising.” Live versions of most songs differ from their recorded counterparts, usually featuring alternate lyrics or extended guitar solos from Jake Kiszka, which turn fan favorite songs into musical journeys that sometimes double in duration. Drum and piano solos from Danny Wagner and Sam Kiszka respectively extend the recorded versions of beloved tracks “Safari Song” and “Light My Love,” providing a unique experience for live shows. An exceptionally long and well fleshed out intro that is played before “Age of Machine” has many fans excited. Prior to its official release, an early version of “The Weight of Dreams” called “Black Flag Exposition” was regularly played live, leaving some of the band’s followers hopeful this snippet may be a preview of what’s to come. At the close of the ten song setlist (don’t be fooled by the low track count, the set was a full hour and a half) the band played the final song, a 15 minute version of “The Weight of Dreams,” thanked the crowd, and exited stage left. Up until this point, the setlist had remained consistent with those of previous shows, but soon Tampa was blessed with an unexpected change. When Sam, Danny and Jake returned to stage for the encore and began the instrumental intro to the first song, fans who were privy to the regular set were expecting “Age of Man,” a song from the band’s first studio album Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Not long after Sam sat down at his piano, confusion set in as he was not playing “Age of Man.” Before Josh ran back out and introduced the song, the crowd had already picked up on what was happening – they were playing “Flower Power,” a track that first appeared on the debut EP Black Smoke Rising. Fans screamed, cried, and sang along to the song, which hadn’t been played live since 2021. Energy continued to skyrocket for the closing number, another older song that remains one of the band’s most popular to date. Josh invited the crowd to lose their minds and Tampa obliged, screaming and dancing along to “Highway Tune.” The live version stretches into almost ten minutes, roughly triple the original length, and is complete with pyro and the now traditional shot of Fireball Josh takes with fans positioned at the barricade. Every Greta Van Fleet show is a musical experience and a must see for anyone that enjoys their recorded discography. While the Dreams in Gold tour comes to a close later this month, we can only hope that new music and more incredible shows from Greta Van Fleet will follow soon.