Toronto Flashed Back to the 70's with Two Greta Van Fleet Shows at Echo Beach
Last week Greta Van Fleet graced Toronto rock n' roll fans with two sold out nights at Echo Beach. This venue, located on the same waterfront property as Toronto's Budweiser Stage, is the little sister venue to the city's iconic amphitheatre. A literal beach, this general admission venue holds 6,500 fans, with VIP decks, food trucks and unfortunately a whole lot of flooding due to Lake Ontario's highest recorded water levels, ever. That didn't stop GVF fans though from lining up as early as 9 am to secure a sweet spot in front of the Michigan foursome. The band is currently on their March of the Peaceful Army tour, in support of their 2018 debut record Anthem of the Peaceful Army.
The group dressed to the nines, opened the show with three of their biggest hits; When The Curtain Falls, Black Smoke Rising and Highway Tune, the song that launched them into the rock headlines in 2017 for it's classic rock sound and the uncanny similarity to rock legends of the past. After the group's thunderous start, things slowed down with bassist's Sam Kiszka jumping on keys for the acoustic portion of the show with fan favourites; Flower Power, Watch Me, The Music is You (both covers) and the campfire sing-a-long song, You're the One.
From then on out, the boys took us on a psychedelic trip for the rest of the show with their anthemic, yet euphoric AOTPA opener Age of Man, the forceful guitar driven unreleased track Black Flag Exposition and Watching Over. All paired with an impressive light show, smokey silhouettes and some of the most technical guitar playing I've ever seen, led by guitarist Jake Kiszka.
Before leaving for the encore the band played my personal favourite; Lover, Leaver, Taker, Believer. The recorded version of this song clocks in at six minutes long, however it's not unusual for the boys to extend the live version anywhere from ten minutes to even TWENTY SIX MINUTES (check out the twenty six minute version here). Toronto's version ran about 14 minutes long and man, was this an incredible 14 minutes. Mixing Mountain of the Sun and Brave New World into the middle, the song ended with Jake's classic, ear piercing guitar slides that put the audience on a whole other level. After a momentary break, the boys ended with their classic Safari Song, paired with a signature Danny Wagner drum solo and consistently perfect vocals from lead singer Josh Kiszka. My only critique would be for the show to be longer. Every time I have seen this band the boys cut off exactly at the hour and a half mark, but with almost half an album of unplayed material, the show easily could have lasted longer.
Greta Van Fleet created a perfect night of rock n' roll revelry along Toronto's (flooding) waterfront, and despite the water and chilly temperatures both band and fans displayed a type of exuberance only live music could impose.
More Greta Van Fleet live dates here
Highway Tune Live here
Safari Song Live here