On the 13th of May 2019 I flew from Boston to Atlanta to be in the first row of the pit at the fabluous Fox Theatre. My friend Susie Sanders spearheaded a charity auction and together we raised over $4,000 for Children’s Healthcare of America!Shortly after, I surprised my friend Mechelle Bass with a major upgrade- a third row ticket in the pit on Jake’s side!
I got to know Mechelle through Facebook. I collected over 100 stories from people around the world who answered the question “Why Are You Grateful for Greta Van Fleet?”. Mechelle’s story was touching and this was her first big solo trip out of state to see a concert since she lost her husband. Her courage to travel and grow outside of her comfort zone inspired me and I wanted to give her a surprise!
Check out the video and Mechelle’s story below!
From Mechelle Bass: “Greta Van Fleet has been an incredible inspiration for me. Their music and lyrics have brought me a great deal of joy at a time in my life when I needed it the most. In April 2017, at the same time as their meteoric rise, I lost my husband of 40 years due to the effects of Lyme Disease. As I struggled through the months following his death, I couldn’t even rely on the occasional escape through music as I normally would. He and I loved the same music so it was incredibly painful to listen to what we both enjoyed. I needed to find something new but I did not like what I was hearing on the radio. Then, in July 2018, as I was preparing to go to bed, I turned on Jimmy Fallon’s show. I sometimes will watch his opening monologue but I NEVER stay up to watch the musical guests. When the opening credits rolled, they announced it would be Greta Van Fleet. Immediately I thought, “Well, who is she?”. Unexpectedly, I became wide awake and watched the whole show. They performed “As the Curtain Falls”, and at the end I had to ask myself, what did I just see? Shortly after that, I watched “Highway Tune” video on YouTube, and that was IT! I was totally hooked after that. I scored the internet for anything I could find about them and bought their CDs. Honestly, I’ve listened to nothing else since. Their music has brought me out of such a dark place. Because they “officially” began their journey in April 2017, the same month that was my life’s lowest point, I almost feel as though they were sent to me. Thankfully, the whole world has benefited!
I am not a concert goer. The last one I went to was Journey in 1983! I have nothing against it, I merely have not been moved to see anyone. By the time I found they were playing nearest to me in Atlanta, all the decent seats were sold out. Suddenly, a month before the concert date, a young lady posted her tickets for sale. She had a Sunday and Monday ticket. Before I could answer her, the Sunday night ticket sold so I took the other one. The odd thing about it, looking back, was that I had not seen her post on the Facebook page before or since. So again, it’s like it was meant for me. So, now I have this one ticket, I’m going to my first concert in 36 years by myself, driving 4 hours, I’ll be surrounded by 20 year olds, all to watch young men in their early 20’s on stage…..what am I thinking! My kids probably think I’m losing it! I had to get over all of that because I honestly felt that I couldn’t miss seeing them live. I had an overwhelming sense that if I did I would be missing something extraordinary. They did not disappoint, they were extraordinary!
I made it to Alanta without incident, checked into my hotel and made it to the silent auction. I had been in touch with Chris Passmore about the Gratefulness book he put together to give to the band and we met up at the auction. He asked if he could interview me about my experience about attending their concert for the first time. During this interview he presented me with a ticket upgrade to 3rd row pit seat! He said it was through the generosity of Tee Jones, to whom I am eternally grateful! When he held it out to me, I have to admit I was quite shocked and immediately started to cry. I’m not even sure what I said after that, I hope I said thank you between the tears, because I was certainly was grateful!! I returned to my room to pull myself together before the show and change into my GVF shirt. Now that I had this terrific seat, what to do with my original ticket? It was a pretty good seat, surely someone would want it. I decided to walk past the line of people waiting to get in and give it to someone. I knew the problem with that is that most people didn’t come alone like I did so I may not be able to find someone. I got in the elevator and a young woman got in on the next floor. We got into a discussion of, what else, the band. She said she flew in from New Orleans and we had a laugh about how they just announced, that day, additional tour dates including New Orleans and Nashville, where we had just traveled from. She said she was on her way to the box office to see if she could get a better seat since hers was in the rafters and hoping she could find just one good seat. I said ” I’ve got your ticket, right here!” I pulled out my original ticket and gave it to her, she started to cry, just like I did. I have to admit, it felt pretty good to share my good fortune with another Army member.After giving my ticket to Army member Carrie, I made my way to the Fox Theater, an absolute beautiful venue. After finding my seat I was amazed to find I was only about 10 feet from the stage and directly in front of where Jake would be during most of the night. Looking around at the fans that were surrounding me, I saw there were people of all ages. The love and anticipation in the room was overwhelming. I no longer felt I was there alone but that I was there with 4,700 of my closest friends. When GVF came onto the stage, it was the beginning of a magical night. If you weren’t there on May 13th, check out Chris Passmore’s excellent description of the evening as he was front and center filming the concert that night. I had a wonderful time singing along to all their songs and witnessing, first hand, their collective talents. They left the stage briefly and we anticipated an encore. Waiting in the darkness and assuming my night couldn’t possibly get any better, I heard Chris call my name. I made my way through the crowd (trying not to smash toes) and found him at the front near the stage. He had made a space for me to stand next to him! I felt my heart swell as the guys came back on stage to play Safari Song. Near the end of the performance, Josh came along the front row touching all our hands. I squeezed his finger a little, lol. It was a night I will never forget! It may have been my first GVF concert but it won’t be my last, I’ve already bought tickets to the Nashville show!”