In this day and age, shock rock is nothing new. We’ve seen Kiss, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, and so many more tackle this feat. What makes Ghost different you may ask? Well, let me tell you. They take that genre and bring it to a whole new level. Ghost is known for their Satanic imagery and theatricals. Ghost puts their own twist on to their shows, albums, and aesthetic. Which is definitely showcased at their “Rituals”.
I was fortunate enough to see Ghost on three of these tour dates for their most current tour titled “A Pale Tour Named Death”. I’ve seen this lovely Swedish band nine times throughout the last year and wow. It never gets old.
This time being my first at the Hippodrome, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, my expectations were surely blown out of the water. The venue is absolutely perfect for an act like Ghost. At first glance it seems extremely modern, once you get into the actual theater and stage itself, it’s a completely different story.
Before the show began, I was slated for a meet and greet with Copia. My friends and were so stoked about it. Though the interaction may be brief between one and Copia, it certainly is memorable. I entered the area for the photo op, and completely froze when I met him face to face. We quickly lined up to take the photo. After that, he told me to take care and have fun. (I was grateful since I had another meet and greet the next day at their Upper Darby show. I gathered the courage to tell him, “Thank you for Ghost. It’s helped me through rough patches this year, especially with my depression.” I proceeded to show him my tattoo I got of him and he really liked it. If you ever have the chance to do a meet and greet, I would highly recommend it. The Cardinal is a super sweet individual.)
After the meet and greet, I went to the box office to grab my photopass. I rushed to the concert hall to find an appropriate set up for taking photos. Little did I realize what kind of night I was in for.
The concert starts with the lights dimming. The intro “Ashes” leading into “Rats”, a fantastic banger of a song to get the audience hyped up. It one hundred percent does its job as an opener. The curtains went up and the Ghouls and Ghoulettes come out on stage to start up the instrumental. The crowd went wild and Cardinal Copia came on stage to start off a momentous night.
Followed by Rats, was Absolution. The audience were putting their arms up during the segment of “Put your hands up and reach for the sky. Cry for absolution”. The energy you could feel radiating off from the fans was staggering. During the first three songs, one of my favorite moments occurred. “Rhythm Ghoul” came up towards my camera and I… and this magical photo happened. Taking that photograph felt awesome! The Ghouls are so charming and charismatic.
After a few more songs, Copia had changed outfits into his black Cardinal outfit for “Con Clavi Con Dio”. He graced the stage with the entrance of him swaying a thurible. Which is a neat touch to say the least. Followed by that was one of my favorite songs they perform live, which is known as “Cirice”. This song is special to me because it has truly impacted my life. The lyrics “I can feel the thunder that’s breaking in your heart” is powerful. Also, one lucky audience member gets “Ciriced” during this song. I love seeing such intimate connections happen between fan and band members. Up next we have the iconic instrumental “Miasma”. The reason for this song being so illustrious is Papa Nihil’s hot jazzy saxophone solo near the end of it. If you haven’t seen his insane saxophone skills, you’re definitely missing out.
Concluding the first act was “Witch Image” and “Life Eternal”. Witch Image being a fan favorite off their album Prequelle, is always a delight to see performed live. The way how Witch Image leads into “Life Eternal” is breathe taking. Once when I heard the bells for Life Eternal’s beginning, I knew instantly that the song would leave me breathless. The content, style of vocal, and instrumental melt together so wonderfully. This being one of my favorite songs by Ghost, makes me extremely happy to know I’ve heard it live. One can feel the raw emotion when Copia sings this precious hymn. “This is the moment of just letting go. She said if you had Life Eternal”. The open interpretation of this song leaves so much open for the listener to decide what the song means. For some it could be just another track off the setlist, for some such as myself, this individual masterpiece leaves me crying and smiling every time in the best way possible.
Once “Life Eternal” had finished, the curtain dropped for the intermission of the show. Might I add, it’s truly a lovely thing to have. Especially for a seated show. Having that small break in between ables one to get refreshed for the second act.
After fifteen minutes, the audience took to their seats and thus began the second act.
Starting off headstrong, began “Spirit”. Later on was “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” and “Majesty”. A standout for this half was “Satan Prayer”. Copia came out in a vampire fashion along with his cape he’s known for wearing during this song. I joking refer to him as “Count Copia” throughout this track. Hearing the fans chant, “Hear out Satan Prayer. Our anti nicene creed. For the cumming of seed” right back to the band all throughout the chorus gave me chills. The follow up for these songs are no disappointment. “Year Zero” and “Faith” go hand and hand. “Year Zero” has the energy while “Faith” packs the punch.
While the night was starting to dwindle down to the last of the set, Ghost covered Roky Erikson’s song “If You Have Ghosts”. Being a long time fan of Ghost, I know how much this song means to the fans. Many of us, listen to this song and it reminds us that we’re not ever truly alone. The “spirits” are always with us. Just like Copia mentions in his speech throughout IFYG. Some of my favorite lines from the variation of the speech are, “…if you’re going through one of the bad times right now, if you are experiencing one of life’s lows, remember that we need both highs and lows. So things can feel different. And remember that things change. For better or worse, things always change.” The way how Copia makes these concerts so personal makes me love and appreciate them that much more.
Sounding off the of the “ritual” was “Dance Macabre” and “Square Hammer”. These two songs made the audience sing and dance their feet off. The riffs and choruses are so catchy and easy to lose yourself in. At the end of “Square Hammer”, the band took their bows and proceeded to exit the stage. You’d think they’d end off the night with a banger like “Square Hammer”, right? Not exactly. Copia came back on stage saying, “You’d think we give a shitty ending like that?!” Thus giving us the final encore of “Monstrance Clock”.
Overall the concert is a surreal experience. Any fan of metal and rock music will thoroughly enjoy Ghost. It’s obvious this once in a lifetime band will only continue rising further up with each release and success. I’m excited to see how far they will go. The sky is the limit for them. With “The Director” behind the lead of Ghost, it’s no doubt their potential is unlimited.