On the 16th of September, I received a text message from my dad in the middle of my biology class saying that he’d purchased two tickets to see Greta Van Fleet at the Hollywood Palladium on Oct. 5th. It wasn’t even a surprise. We’d been talking about going, but I still stared at the text message for two minutes straight. I immediately marked the date on my calendar and started a countdown. Only 19 days, but during that time I thought about the concert every day and had surprisingly upsetting dreams about missing the concert. Greta Van Fleet is one of my favorite bands, and I was dying to see them for the first time. As of today, Oct. 11, it’s been a week since I left town and missed my school’s homecoming to see Greta Van Fleet. I can wholeheartedly say that it was worth it.
On October 4th, my dad picked me up early from school. We stopped by the house to grab our packed suitcases and then caught an Uber to the Portland International Airport. Even though we were flying standby to LAX on a Friday, we were lucky enough to get on the first flight that we tried.
Although we landed around 6 pm, LA traffic on a Friday night meant that we didn’t arrive at our Airbnb until 7:30. It was only two blocks away from the Hollywood Palladium, and right in between Sunset and Hollywood Boulevard. It was the night before the Greta Van Fleet concert, so we were free to do whatever we wanted. My father had arranged reservations at a restaurant called Running Goose, located off of Hollywood Blvd.
After settling into our Airbnb, we began our walk to the restaurant. I don’t think I’d ever been out in Hollywood at nighttime before this trip. As expected, I saw lots of interesting people out and about that night. Although one could easily vouch for a skateboard or a bike, I saw a man zooming down Hollywood Blvd on rollerblades. There was also a pair of guys running down the street, a red rose in hand. As someone who lives in the Portland area, I’m no stranger to weird people and places. With approximately 6 times the population of Portland, Hollywood was crawling with party people, friends and families going to dinner, and a bunch of people of which I couldn’t imagine where they could be going.
Dinner at Running Goose
When we arrived at Running Goose, we were quickly seated and given menus. We sat outside, enjoying the lovely California heat. Although it’s only October, Portland has been getting down into freezing temperatures, and we were more than happy to experience warm weather. They had an interesting arrangement of tostadas and other appetizers, and my dad and I quickly knew what we wanted. We split a couple of tostadas, the lambchops, and the salmon. All of it was delicious, and just the right amount of food for the two of us. Of course, we had to push it by ordering dessert.
Making Alternative Plans…
By this time, the Running Goose had become filled with people, and the dessert was taking a bit longer to get to us. That didn’t matter to my dad and me though, we had no plans. While we were waiting for our white chocolate bread pudding, my dad and I tried to figure out what we wanted to do after dessert. We went on google maps and checked out some places nearby. The Museum of Death probably has some of the best reviews of a place that I’ve ever seen. All five stars, all pleasant experiences looking at weird art and taxidermy. That didn’t really seem our speed, and my dad started searching for nearby concerts.
We stumbled across a band called Reignwolf, which we had never heard of before. The tickets were only $25 each at the Fonda Theatre, but we weren’t completely sold yet. There was one review that had to have been at least 300 words long. It went on and on, gushing over Reignwolf. Neither of us read the whole review, but we knew one thing for sure. “This reviewer is either crazy, or this band is fantastic,” I told my dad. We decided to test the validity of that review and purchased tickets.
The Fonda Theatre
After a very satisfying dinner at Running Goose, Dad and I walked to the Fonda Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. It was a small venue, but it was really cool and gave off dark, haunted vibes. The artwork on the walls was interesting and spooky, while the lighting was dim and created by a large collection of lamps that hung from the walls. It was a really cool atmosphere, and I was pleasantly surprised when my dad pointed out that Ozzy Osbourne’s daughter Kelly was among the crowd.
Reignwolf Takes the Stage
We had missed the first opener and the majority of the second. All we had to do now was wait for the main act, Reignwolf, to grace the stage. My father and I had no idea what to expect, so we were blown away when the large green curtain rose into the air and Reignwolf started playing. No matter how many times I see a rock performance live, I will never be prepared for the volume of the music and the cheers of the crowd.
Reignwolf is actually the moniker that the lead singer/guitarist Jordan Cook goes by. He was truly incredible, playing hard rock and blues in a way that I’d never seen before. Within a few minutes, he had kicked over and dismantled the mic stand. Instead, he held the mic in the same hand that he used to strum. Half the time it didn’t even look like he was playing because he played with one hand while he sang. I was beyond impressed when Jordan took over and played the guitar and drums at the same time. Jordan, bass player Stacey-James Kardash, and drummer Joseph Braley absolutely killed it up on stage, but the night got even better when they left the stage.
Are you with us now, Los Angeles?
No, the concert wasn’t over yet. They parted the crowd right in front of me, and they started moving different pieces of the drum kit into the audience. Soon enough, the drummer took his seat, the bass player hopped over the barricade into the audience, and they began playing. Jordan was jamming from atop a large speaker, looking down on the crowd. The band was incredible, and my ears felt quite muffled when they moved the instruments so much closer. Eventually, the bass player stood on top of the drum kit and jumped, crowd surfing on the people right next to me. It was mildly unsuccessful, but it’s still impressive that he managed to keep playing and successfully maneuver back onto the drum kit.
By the end of the concert, Jordan had come down from the speaker and took his place on top of the drum kit, balancing on top of it while the band rocked out. When they finally moved back onto the stage, equipment was strewn all over the place. Reignwolf’s performance is unlike any other that I’ve experienced, and I’ll remember it for years to come. Although we initially had no idea who they were, my father and I left the Fonda Theatre as new fans. I can’t really laugh at that full-page review now.
Oct. 5, Concert Day
The next day, my father and I woke up around 8 am. It was the day of the concert, which made me incredibly stressed and excited at the same time. Before the concert, I’d contacted multiple people that are regular Greta Van Fleet concert goers. In order to get the front row, all of them recommended getting in line at the venue around 6 or 7 in the morning. There was no way we were doing that after staying up until midnight with Reignwolf the night before.
We got dressed and walked to breakfast, around the corner from the Hollywood Palladium. I wasn’t at all surprised to see approximately ten people already in line at the venue. It was only 8:20 am.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken N Waffles
Located a few blocks away from the Palladium and around the corner is Roscoe’s House of Chicken N Waffles. It’s a famous chain that is favored by quite a few celebrities. My dad and I shared a large plate of fried chicken and waffles with gravy. The fried chicken was delicious, and definitely some of the best I’ve ever had, if not THE best. As we sat and waited for our food, we stared around at the pictures of celebrities who’ve eaten there in the past. Dad and I left very full, with some leftover fried chicken to spare.
The Long Wait
My dad and I walked back to the Hollywood Palladium, hopping in line around 9:15. I was approximately the twentieth person in line. I sat down and leaned back against the barricade, settling in for the 10-hour wait. Doors wouldn’t open until 7 pm, but the weather was beautiful, and I had plenty of patience to wait all day. Of course, my dad had less patience. Every once and a while he’d hop up and grab one of those Lime scooters for rent, and ride around Los Angeles. He brought back books, playing cards, milkshakes, and waters. We did our best to pass the time, reading, talking, and playing card games. As the sun moved across the sky and behind a skyscraper, the line continued to grow, and we had only a few hours left. The shade was finally settling in after a long day in the sun.
The Final Stretch
It was around this time that I headed back to the Airbnb to change into my concert outfit. Dad held our place in line while I changed into a colorful, psychedelic dress accompanied by a belt, bright pink pendant scarf, flower crown, and a pair of shoes that gave me an additional four inches of height. I’m only 5’1″, and I knew I was gonna need a boost in height for this concert.
I headed back to the Palladium and swapped with my dad so that he could get changed as well. As the concert drew nearer, I could make out the faint sounds of Greta Van Fleet doing soundcheck over the chatter of people in line. My dad brought back some tacos from a nearby food truck as a small dinner before the concert. Around this time, a younger girl at the very front was pulled into the venue by security. She held a sign that said “Josh’s Tambourine,” and she held a tambourine that she’d decorated herself. When she exited the venue, she held none other than Josh’s tambourine and a white rose. The people in line cheered, and soon after, the line started filing through security.
Inside the Hollywood Palladium
It was 6:30 pm. The doors were open, and we stood right before them, waiting for 7 o’clock to roll around. I was very tense, and the crowd grew louder and louder. Finally, security started scanning tickets, and it was a rush for the stage. My dad ran off to get a front-row spot while I hurried to get merchandise. I was the second person to make it to the merchandise table, and I was itching to grab something and go.
When I received my change, I ran off, money still in my hand. Sure enough, my dad had claimed a barricade spot, and stress flooded out of my body. We did it! Now that I knew we had made it, I shoved my change into my purse. As I was switching spots with my dad so that I could have barricade, a woman next to me shoved her arm in my spot. I still made it to barricade, but I was very squished now. It didn’t matter to me, practically everyone was touching, we were so close together. Apparently it did matter to the woman who pushed herself toward me.
Trouble on the Frontlines…
The woman told me multiple times not to push her, even though she was shoving her elbow into my arm, sliding her leg over into my space, and pushing her butt into me. Unfortunately, I had to give up my spot because my arm genuinely hurt from the pressure of her elbow, and she was making me incredibly uncomfortable. When we tried to get the spot back, she screamed for security and hurled profanities. It was shocking, but in the end, it wasn’t worth bothering her again. It was very hard to see over her, but over time the audience shifted, and I could see pretty well.
Shannon and The Clams
Before the opening act came on, I got to talk to and get to know the girl standing next to me, who also happened to be in line next to me all day. We talked until the opening act came on, Shannon and The Clams. Although I hadn’t heard of them before, the band was very good and the crowd was having a blast already.
This was only warm-up for the screaming and cheering that would come. When the set was finished, everyone in the audience talked with one another and waited eagerly for Greta Van Fleet to come on stage.
Greta Van Fleet
Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for, the members of Greta Van Fleet came running onto the stage. Josh Kiszka wore a white jumpsuit embroidered with fiery colors and detailed ocean-themed images. Jake was glittering all in gold, with his brother Sam and drummer Daniel Wagner right with them. Josh ran across the stage, hurling white roses into the audience, smiling and waving at the crowd (unfortunately the awful woman that stole my spot caught a rose that would’ve otherwise landed in my hands). The crowd was roaring and screaming. Out of all the concerts I’ve been to, never have I been within an audience so loud.
After a warm and riotous greeting, Greta Van Fleet launched into one of their most popular songs, “Highway Tune.” I don’t really know if I was singing the lyrics or screaming them. Everyone was rocking out. Hands were in the air, heads were banging, and the cheering was almost constant. It was thrilling, and the crowd practically outsang Josh.
Edge of Darkness & Age of Man
Somehow the crowd managed to get even louder when Jake started playing the beginning of “Edge of Darkness.” I shrieked as well, turning to the girl next to me and yelling “They brought it back!” We couldn’t contain our excitement as the song continued. “Edge of Darkness” had been removed from the setlist a while back, but everyone is thrilled that it has made a return. I’d just been telling my dad that I wished they would bring it back. It was a wonderful surprise that made the crowd go wild. Josh danced away with the rainbow tambourine the little girl gave him before the show. Jake’s solo was incredible, and a hoard of screams ensued when he raised up his guitar and played it behind his head.
They played the mystical fan-favorite, “Black Smoke Rising,” and “You’re the One,” where Sammy hopped on the keys. He stayed there to play the hypnotic and emotional intro to “Age of Man.” Sam’s organ part in “Age of Man” was actually one of the things I looked forward to the most at the concert. The intro was chilling, and the girl next to me was also incredibly excited. “This is my favorite song!” she told me. I think I saw a couple of people crying during the song, and I can’t blame them. It was a beautiful performance, even with the crazy screams of the women next to me, haha.
Mountain of the Sun
After the mesmerizing and hypnotic vocals and solos in “Watching Over,” Greta Van Fleet pulled another surprise. When Jake started playing the intro to “Mountain of the Sun,” which hasn’t been on the setlist since I became a fan of them, I was very happy and confused at the same time. This was definitely one of the best parts of the concert (in my opinion). Sammy’s bass solo was amazing, the “Mountain of the Sun” riffs brought the crowd to life, and the crowd sang incredibly loud at the climax of the song. Let’s not forget that Josh danced like nobody was watching the whole time and included lyrics from “Always There.”
To say I was a little distracted during “The Cold Wind” would be an understatement. Unfortunately, one of the women near me was suffering from heat or fatigue. She fainted and nearly fell completely over, but luckily there were plenty of people to help lift her out of the crowd. Hopefully, she’s doing better now.
When the Curtain Falls
At the “end” of the concert, Greta Van Fleet played “When the Curtain Falls,” another song that everyone could sing and rock to. With more incredible solos from Jake and Sam, and a goodbye from Josh, Jake threw his pick into the audience, and Greta Van Fleet fled the stage.
Of course, it wasn’t over yet. People talked about how incredible the concert was so far, and chanted “Greta!” relentlessly. After a drawn out break from the stage, the members of Greta Van Fleet came back out. Josh gave a speech and led the audience into “Flower Power,” saying that it was one of his favorite songs to perform. Sam’s skill on the keys was once more in the spotlight, and the audience united to sing the lyrics of “Flower Power.” It was another beautiful and fun song where the band and the audience gave it their all. As Jake performed his solo, Josh ran back and forth across the stage giving big enthusiastic waves to everyone in the crowd.
It wasn’t until the very end when Danny truly got to display his talent on the drums. After more mind-blowing solos by Jake and the incredible climax of “Safari Song,” the band moved out of the way. Danny stole the crowd’s attention and played a masterful drum solo. The audience cheered and screamed until the very end when the rest of the band started playing again, and they closed out the song. Danny got up from his drum kit and threw his drumsticks into the ecstatic crowd. A girl to the left of me caught one of them, and the people around her went wild.
It was over for real this time, and the people flooded out of the Hollywood Palladium. The whole weekend was amazing and unforgettable. Reignwolf was crazy and unexpected, and Greta Van Fleet was beyond words. The crowd was so energetic and it was a real blast to be a part of that audience. Most of them were incredibly friendly, complimented one another and talked about their music interests. As we exited the Palladium, my legs felt like jello, and when we made it back to our Airbnb, I basically died on the bed. Greta Van Fleet releases their album sometime within the next few months, and I’ll be waiting in anticipation every day until then.
If you want to see some of the videos that I took of the concert or check out some of the other concerts that I’ve been to, check out my Instagram! @edens_expeditions