My First Concert Post-Pandemic

When the pandemic began, uncertainty was felt in every aspect of life. We couldn’t leave our homes, much less go to an entertainment event. Going to a concert larger than a pub or house show hasn’t been on my radar until recently. I’ve been wanting to go to a big show, something similar to a pre-pandemic concert. It just so happened that a friend of mine was seeing Greta Van Fleet in Albany on October 5th, and she had an extra ticket.  

Am I the biggest Greta fan in the world? No. I was familiar with their music but not extensively. I’d liked what I heard from them so I figured this could be a great return to large concerts. By the time I arrived to MVP Arena, I was excited for the experience of sharing music with a large group, even if I didn’t know many of the songs that would be performed. By the time I left, I was speechless, as it was truly one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.

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To start the show the audience was introduced to 68-year-old Robert Finley. The blues and jazz inspired artist was not someone I had heard of before, but he got the crowd excited for what was to come. Accompanied by a band, which included his daughter, Finley put on an energetic performance that truly showed age is just a number. Linked here is his Spotify. I highly recommend checking him out if you like an old blues sound with a modern twist.

The second opener was Houndmouth. Before walking into the arena, I didn’t know who the openers of the show were. When I saw the poster hanging up by the merch stand I got super excited seeing who the second opener was. The friends who were with me at the concert didn’t really know who Houndmouth were or why I was so excited about an opener. After their performance, my friend sat next to me turned and said “I get why you were so excited.” They played a mix of their newer and older songs and had an energetic stage presence. Houndmouth was a fun surprise for me, and a great energizer for what was to come. Their Spotify is linked here if you want to give them a listen.


Before Greta began their set, a curtain was lifted that surrounded the entire stage. (If you’re curious, the cover photo is the curtain.) As lights illuminated the designs from behind the curtain, lead singer Josh Kiszka began a monologue whilst hidden from the audience. With the monologue concluding, the curtain dropped, and the band immediately went into Built By Nations.                                                                                                                   

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By starting with Built By Nations, Greta let the audience know the explosive show we were in store for. And when I say explosive, I mean literally. Pyrotechnics illuminated the stage; the heat being felt on my face high up in the 200 section. If anyone in the audience wasn’t convinced that this show would be electric, Greta quickly put those thoughts to bed.

Part of the setlist included Heat Above, Broken Bells, Light My Love, and other songs from their 2021 album The Battle At Gardens Gate. Each song grew off each other, creating a captivating experience. Every person in the audience was so engrossed in the performance that time seemed nonexistent. When the last notes of The Weight of Dreams rang out, the ending of the show felt surreal. No one was ready to leave quite yet. Cheers of ‘Greta, Greta’ roared through the venue.

The band wasn’t ready to end the show either and came back out for an encore. Their return to the stage had them playing Age of Man, a track off their 2018 album Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Fans were ecstatic and the band only aided in the audiences excitement as they geared up for their final song. Josh asked the audience, “One more? Something like a grand finale of sorts?” Jake Kiszka then started the intro for Highway Tune, a song from their 2017 album From The Fires.

The audience went crazy upon hearing the opening guitar riff. The show ended the way it started: explosive. When the lights finally came up and the show ended, I sat there for a moment and took in all that I just witnessed.

Final Thoughts

Going into this show I didn’t know what type of experience a Greta Van Fleet concert would be. I only hoped that the songs would sound somewhat similar to what I’ve heard in digital recordings. To say my small expectation was blown out of the water is an understatement.

Josh sounds the same in person as he does on my phone. With a voice as unique as his I didn’t know if it would translate the same in person as it does in recordings. He was phenomenal from the first lyric to the last.

The talent from every member of this band was otherworldly. Jake had a several fantastic guitar solos, one of which was a several minute solo played behind his head. Sam expertly switched between the bass and keys, never having anything other than smooth transitions. And Danny killed his drum solos, one lasting well over five minutes, never once dropping in intensity.

While the show itself was fantastic, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the phenomenal staff at MVP Arena. Particularly, the medical personnel and security. During Houndmouth, a fan in the pit fell unconscious. Houndmouth stopped their set and security quickly cleared a path to get the fan the help they needed. Throughout the rest of the night, I noticed almost a dozen people pulled out of the pit for various reasons. The staff at the arena were on top of keeping the fans safe and should be recognized for their continuous efforts throughout the show.

I never wanted this concert to end. Greta Van Fleet are truly great performers and someone you should add to your concert wish list. After not having seen live music in this capacity for over two years, it was more than I could have asked for. Now if you excuse me, I need to go rewatch all of the videos I got from the show.


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