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Norse Notes

The Student News Site of Oakmont High School

Norse Notes

The Student News Site of Oakmont High School

Norse Notes

Farewell “Dreams in Gold”

Greta Van Fleet’s recent album “Starcatcher,” shows, and social media.
Brianna Nusom
Oakland’s first sight of Greta Van Fleet when the curtain dropped.

Michigan-native rock band, Greta Van Fleet (GVF), tour their fourth studio release, “Starcatcher” (2023), filling venues with light, love, and complex musicianship. Established in 2012, the four-piece band consists of three brothers: twins Jake (guitar) and Josh (vocals), Sam Kiszka (bass and keyboard); and their long-time friend Daniel Wagner (drums).

Greta Van Fleet traveled through the east coast, beginning the “Starcatcher” world tour where they reside in Nashville, then landing on the Pacific Coast where they wrap up the US leg of the tour.   

Greta Van Fleet graced Oakland Arena’s stage on Aug. 8, 2023; many have come from so far away and have been waiting for so long. 

Teddy Swims, who was backed by five fellow instrumentalists, took the floor as the opening act with his soulful voice, eccentric style, and playful energy. He then surprised the crowd when he threw peanut butter and grape jelly Uncrustables into the pit. Teddy Swims provided a familiar tune at the forefront of his set, busting out Journey’s mega-hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the second song on the setlist. 

Teddy Swims left the spotlights with his nine-track set, leaving a strong, lasting impression. 

Similar to their previous tour ― “Dreams In Gold” ― Greta Van Fleet lowered a curtain prior to their night’s appearance, building strenuous anticipation for when the curtain falls. 

The music up until the band’s emergence consisted of an orchestrated medley of the “Starcatcher” album that bled into a cinematic, dramatized number. The lights flickered and for a moment: time stood still, the venue encapsulated in complete silence. 

Katarina Rolf is a senior at Castro Valley High School who attended the Oakland concert on Aug. 8th. 

“That was an insane feeling,” Rolf said. “I think to summarize it’s like walking into another world or dimension and feeling the amount of love hit you.”

Seeing GVF posed along the elevated stage, a sense of surrealness washed over the fans the second the curtain dropped.  

After buying tickets during our second period class four months prior, Oakmont seniors Sarah Jabbarnia and I waited all our lives for the day of the show.  

“I was in shock,” Jabbarnia said. “I think we all waited so long and it ended up coming so quickly that none of us were really prepared. I feel like nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen.”

Fellow fans and cousins Kylee Lucas and Sophia O’Connell arrived at Oracle Arena around 1:30 pm, showcasing the many hours that went into preparing for the show. 

“I was DIY-ing my outfit, spending a lot of frickin’ time on the [friendship] bracelets and memorizing the album,” Lucas said. “I’d have it on repeat in [my] AirPods at work trying to get all the lyrics down so I could sing along to every single word.”

O’Connell expresses the experience of walking into the venue and the lead-up to Teddy Swims, seeing a diversity of fans from far and wide for one shared experience.  

“It was definitely crazy,” O’Connell said. “Especially when people started coming into the seats and you look up and there’s all these people and it was amazing … I just love [Greta Van Fleet] and I love their music. Even if I wasn’t in [the] pit, it would have [still] been so amazing.”

The “Starcatcher” tour has proved itself to be a much bigger production than GVF’s previous tours. Rising with the heat above, GVF continued the use of pyrotechnics and sparks but introduced catwalks, Stage B for the acoustic set, dreamlike lighting, and otherworldly backdrop designs. The extravagance from this era matches the phantasmic tone that is established within the “Starcatcher” record.

“It freaks you out because you don’t know when [the curtain drop] is going to happen,” Lucas said. “The music will start building and then it goes back down. So it helps build up that anticipation. Though on this tour, the way they’re standing up there like a f——- boy band ― it’s so much.”

A staple for many Greta Van Fleet shows is the interactions between the guys and the fans before, during, and after shows and in between cities. Help from the catwalks along the sides of the pit and lower bowl, Stage B located in the middle of the floor seats, GVF’s new stage setups have given more opportunities for these exchanges and close-up viewing for audience members.  

“At one point Josh was throwing out the roses,” O’Connell said. “He looks over at my brother, threw the rose at him, and made sure … he got it. And then also before the show, one of the security guards was like ‘I have something for you’ and he brought him a guitar pick, which was so cool. And then he also high-fived Jake and Danny.”

Inspired by the recent trend at Taylor Swift’s Eras tour, friendship bracelet making and trading begin to make an appearance at the “Starcatcher” shows. 

“We made around 100-and-something friendship bracelets to trade and give to people in [the] pit,” Jabbarnia said. “So that was super fun. I think a lot of people enjoyed that aspect. Obviously, we took inspiration from Taylor Swift, but I think it’s kind of transcribing to a lot of concerts recently. And bracelets are definitely a way to make friends at concerts.”

The difference between this tour and the previous is the fixed setlist performed with the expectation of select locations such as Nashville, Seattle, and Los Angeles. The Nashville and LA audiences saw “Anthem” during the acoustic set and Seattle received a cover of “The Music Is You” by John Denver.

“Runway Blues,” a minute and 17-second track that treks into the second half of the album, is the only song on the record to not be featured on the tour. Despite the mixed reception of “Runway Blues,” the Peaceful Army (the name for GVF’s fan base)  was elated to know the fan favorite-track “Light My Love” from “The Battle at Garden’s Gate” (2021) as well as “Farewell For Now” were featured as the encore each night.

“Light My Love” holds so much significance for fans: for some, it was the first Greta Van Fleet song they heard on TikTok; the track that roped them into the GVF community; the anthem that speaks volumes about the message that the band stands for. 

“It truly felt like everyone was one love, one heart and everyone was there together and present,” Rolf said. “It was phenomenal. Just seeing how happy the performers were as well, when Josh was seeing all the [pride] flags come up … it probably will never ever get old for him.”

No matter the reason, “Light My Love” has journeyed beyond the initial love it had received before the tour was announced. About two months following the announcement of the “Starcatcher” World Tour, Josh came out in an Instagram post on June 20, spreading awareness of proposals that would refuse the right for marriage licenses to members of the LGBTQ+ community arising in the band’s residing state.   

It became indisputable that “Light My Love” would be the most moving point of the night for those a part of the community, supporters, and the band. As a result, the relationship between the artist and listener became further solidified.   

“I loved [‘Light My Love’] at ‘Dreams In Gold’ even before Josh came out,” Lucas said. “Now with the pride flags it was even more special because [there’s] something about the way this band is – there’s inherently a sense of community amongst the fans. With the band, everyone has a common goal of just light and love and peace and happiness. I think anytime they perform a song that really embodies that and you just look and you see the whole crowd singing and everybody’s swaying, and the part when everyone had the pride flags. It makes you feel proud to be a part of the community.”

Josh was surrounded by an overwhelming amount of acceptance: thousands of comments flooding the post and receiving roughly two-hundred thousand likes on Instagram, TikTok videos from fans voicing how proud and happy they are or feeling even more seen within the GVF community.  

“They’re amazing performers,” Rolf said. “All they do is spread love. They’re hilarious and they are extremely talented and make you feel so included.”

Social media is a great way for artists to quickly and efficiently reach out to a diversity of people, build a community to discuss topics of interest within a fan base, and effectively let the world know your name. However, these benefits inevitably follow drama, pushing to an extent where privacy is invaded, and putting the safety of others at risk. 

A few of these instances have recently emerged: some fans have been exposed for purposefully trying to seek out the members of Greta Van Fleet either by ‘accidentally’ running into them around town or renting Airbnbs near their homes.

Despite the light shining on the shocking and recent transgressions, the very vast majority of fans continue to preach the messages of light, love, and unity that the Peaceful Army stands for.   

“I think the positive impacts [of social media] created a large community of so many people and their love of music and classic rock,” Jabbarnia said. “Negatively though, we’ll just need to learn how to adapt social media into the real world and still respect people’s personal boundaries.”

In some way or another, The “Starcatcher” tour has sparked pivotal moments for GVF’s audience. Greta Van Fleet is continuously reaching new people, pushing to new heights, and experimenting with new sounds, all the while maintaining their ethos. 

“I think it’s even more special with Greta Van Fleet because we, in addition to the common interest of just their music, are all a part of this movement that’s just all about spreading love and peace and happiness.” Lucas said.

A bittersweet feeling transpires ― it is sad that the band has to bid us a farewell yet after about a month break from touring, GVF will travel to Europe and continue to spread anthems of the Peaceful Army. Nevertheless, fans will continue to live in the moment, wonder, look forward to, and prepare for what will come next for Greta Van Fleet.

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About the Contributor
Brianna Nusom
Brianna Nusom, Editor-in-Chief
Brianna Nusom, senior, is in her fourth year on the Norse Notes staff. She has been involved with Oakmont's theatre for four years- the past three she has been the sound technician for plays, musicals, choir and band concerts, and dance shows. Brianna has been a cheerleader for six years and looks forward to what the senior season will bring her. Brianna has a great passion for all things music and in her free time she enjoys composing and listening to music. Outside of school, Brianna plays many instruments ― her favorites include drums, bass, and guitar. Her essential music genres include grunge, folk, and metal, consisting of artists such as Alice In Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stephen Stills, Deftones, and Greta Van Fleet.  

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