Swedish Grammy Award-winning band Ghost announced a North American tour still in support of their fourth album and latest release Prequelle which was released in 2018. Ghost is known for their theatrical outfits. Seven of the eight members go by the title of Nameless Ghouls and wear identical black costumes and silver-horned masks to conceal their identities. The band’s main man now goes by the name of Cardinal Copia and naturally resembles a Cardinal and sometimes wears a white tuxedo. His face is also a prosthetic mask with black eye makeup. Before the Cardinal existed, there was the character known as Papa Emeritus. Emeritus has gone through multiple incarnations as Papa Emeritus I-III (going backwards in age from old to young) and now a fourth and much older character called Papa Nihil who is unrelated to Cardinal Copia. Their music can be described as a mix between Blue Oyster Cult, The Beatles, ABBA and Black Sabbath‘s debut album. They explore various music genres including doom metal, pop rock, and occult rock. Although their lyrics are Satanic in nature, the band has stated numerous times that their lyrics are tongue-in-cheek humor and are not meant to be taken seriously. The first stop on the tour was the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, California. The same day of the show, Ghost surprised fans by dropping two new songs, Kiss the Go-Goat and Mary On A Cross. Both part of a new 7″ LP titled, Seven Inches of Satanic Panic. Even in the early hours of the morning, fans were lined up in anticipation for the arrival of Ghost; many of which came from out of town and drove a few hours to see them. Many fans even went dressed us as the Cardinal, Papa Emeritus and even Satanic nuns known as Sisters of Sin. It was Friday the 13th, there was a full moon out and a satire Satanic band was in town. A perfect way to start the weekend. The opening act was the rock/alternative metal band, Nothing More. They were very energetic and made for a great opening band. Looking around the venue, the crowd was either into them or they weren’t. Regardless, Nothing More gave it their all and never had a dull moment in their performance. Once they finished their set, it was time for the band that everyone came to see.
A black curtain covered the stage to keep the audience in suspense as to what was going on behind the curtain. The lights eventually went out and the whole venue erupted into a frenzy as the intro track from the newest album Ashes (Ring Around the Rosie rhyme) played over the speakers. The Nameless Ghouls were the first ones to come out and started the show with the first song from the newest album, Rats. The fans were more than ecstatic to finally see Ghost as they cheered, smiled, raised their hands and of course, sang their hearts out. The next song played was Absolution, one of the favorites from their previous album, Meliora. The song featured some explosions that added a nice surprise to the song and had fans singing along once again to the chorus. The third song played was another new track, Faith. It’s one of the more rock tunes from the album and for sure it’s a banger that will have you singing along and raising your horns. The lights went dark for a bit as Ghost prepared the first surprise of the night. The next song played was Mary On A Cross, one of the brand new songs from the new LP. A nice treat for fans to enjoy this song performed for the first time ever. The lights went out once again as the Cardinal went off stage and left it to the Nameless Ghouls to perform the haunting instrumental track, Devil’s Church. After a quick costume change, the Cardinal came back out to rejoin the Ghouls. This time, they would play Cirice (Sa-reese), the very song that earned them their first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2016 as well as the #4 spot on the Mainstream Rock Charts. The Cardinal once again went off stage and the Nameless Ghouls played another instrumental song, Miasma. For an instrumental, this song is fun to listen to and makes you wanna dance. The fun didn’t stop there. More than halfway into the song, fog started to come up from center stage. Little by little, it was revealed that Papa Nihil was slowly making his way to the stage with the help of a crew member. His mission? serenade the audience with a sweet sax solo that had the audience losing their minds and cheering for Papa Nihil. The stage went dark once again and a single bright light lit up to reveal Cardinal Copia in a full white tuxedo. Not only that, but riding a tricycle. A very humorous way to entertain and surprise the fans as you could tell by the amount of laughter heard. The next song performed was another fan-favorite, Ghuleh/Zombie Queen. This song had been missing from their recent setlists and fans had missed it dearly. So to have it back on the list surely put smiles on the fans’ faces and allowed them to sing their hearts out to the chorus. Up next was yet another treat for fans. Ghost performed the instrumental track Helvetesfönster from the new album for the first time ever. It was amazing to be the first show where the song is performed live. Ghost kept playing hit after hit and it was never a dull moment and your eyes are always kept on stage not knowing what would happen next. Cardinal Copia proved to be a very majestic frontman as he embraced his character during his performance by dancing which often includes crotch thrusts that drives the female (and some male) fans wild. Watching him dance was mesmerizing as if he’s trying to lure you into his seductive grasp and you have no choice but to submit to him. The Ghouls themselves were very entertaining as they beautifully played their instruments to perfection. The chemistry from all the band members was great. Cardinal Copia would notice how one Ghoul was taking the spotlight center stage and shooed him away. Other times, the Cardinal would sneak up behind one of them and spank them for good measure. It it by far one of the most entertaining shows of the year. Ghost would continue to play all the hits including From the Pinnacle to the Pit, Ritual, Satan Prayer and Year Zero. The song Mummy Dust was one of the highlights as one of the Ghoulettes came center stage and played a keytar to the song’s synth solo. To end the song, cannons shot out confetti along with Papa Bucks, dollar bills made to look like Ghost currency complete with a value of $666 and Papa Nihil’s face. Since one of the brand new songs was played, it only made sense to play the other new song. The next new song was Kiss the Go-Goat and it was another special moment as it was also performed live for the first time. The show seemed to come to an end as Ghost finished their set with Dance Macabre from their new album. This disco-like song gets fans up and dancing and singing along to its extremely catchy chorus, “Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you in the moonlight! Just wanna be, wanna bewitch you all night!”. The show came to an end and Ghost left and the stage went dark. All seemed quiet, but quiet is what the opposite of what Ghost is. Knowing that fans weren’t ready to go home just yet, Ghost came back out for an encore. That encore was Square Hammer from their previous Popestar EP. It is currently one of Ghost‘s most popular songs and even sat on the #1 spot on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts in January 2017. The chorus goes, “are you on the square? are you on the level?” which is one way fans talk to each other when referring to Ghost or the song. As the song and show came to an end, a blanket of fireworks rained down on the stage like a waterfall. A beautiful ending to a beautiful show. Ghost left the stage for the final time and guaranteed the fans left with nothing but smiles and memories. The fans got Ghost and now they had everything.