A few nights ago, my partner re-talked me into a thing I had talked myself out of doing from the moment I learned of its announcement last year. Seeing my new-found favorite band, Ghost, when they came through town with Volbeat in tow. At any other time, I would have bought tickets immediately upon announcement. However, we are still in the midst of a death plague pandemic, and I was not sure what the next nine to twelve months would bring. So I convinced myself it probably was not the best idea right now.
The tour kicked off on January 25th, and I started seeing all the post-show photo posts from the band. And as February 5th, the day they would be in my state, drew near, I found myself feeling sad at the prospect of missing them. Who knew when I would get the chance again to see them? If I would get the chance to see them again? If the last two years have taught me anything, it has been to not take our time and ability to do things for granted.
It was not until my partner and I came across a YouTube video of Ghost’s performance of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”, which they contributed for Metallica’s upcoming The Metallica Blacklist (a fascinating project I included the link to there, if you’re curious; where each band does a cover of a Metallica song, and all the proceeds go to Metallica’s own charitable organization, as well as each individual contributing band’s charity of choice [but those devil rocker’s are evil, ya know?] *insert eyeroll*) and their subsequent two closing songs: “Dance Macabre” and “Squarehammer”. In the midst of “Dance Macabre”, rainbow confetti was shot into the air as Tobias Forge waltzed around the stage, bedazzled in his turquoise sequin jacket and black and white face paint, and I was struck with the doomed feeling of “Why am I not going to this…” And before I could say anything, my partner said those exact words: “Why are you not going to this?” The result was me buying tickets Thursday night for a concert on Saturday. He also convinced me to buy nicer, lower level seats that were miraculously still available, not to settle for the nose bleeds. And am I glad I did.
The night was kicked off by Twin Temple, a self-described Satanic Doo Wop duo from Los Angeles. An act I had known nothing about, never heard of before, and was expecting nothing from. But let me tell you, her voice is phenomenal. A truly unexpected event, having followed three “Hail Satan”s.
I know everyone always expects to see a saxophone at a heavy rock concert.
Volbeat was up next, and clearly the desired band to see for a lot of people present. The people behind us were extremely confused when at 7:30pm, Volbeat’s curtain was dropped because where had Ghost gone?? Surely Ghost was not the headliner of this show?!!? Which it’s listed as a “co-headlining tour”, but it’s also been predominantly listed as Ghost’s show.
I have loved Volbeat since the songs “Still Counting”, “Heaven Nor Hell”, and “Warrior’s Call” popped up in 2008 and 2010, respectively. However, I have lost track of them over the years, not keeping up with their new material. Of their hour and a half set, they played one song I knew, “Still Counting”, and it was the last song they performed before turning the stage over for Ghost.
It’s been nearly a year since I first discovered Ghost. My partner and I were in the midst of one of our many YouTube music video rabbit holes. We discovered other gems like Eskimo Callboy’s “Hypa Hypa”, NanowaR of Steel’s “Norwegian Reggaeton”, and much to my partner’s chagrin, Wind Rose’s “Diggy Diggy Hole” (which my Spotify account now joyfully plays for him whenever he walks into our home office, or is in the car with me, but that is a tale for another time). And Ghost’s “Dance Macabre.” It was like love at first sight for me. Or first listen. Or both, since it was a music video after all.
The following Monday during work, I started my way through Ghost’s Spotify library, fully expecting to skip a fair few songs that didn’t quite click with me. But I never did. I never hit that skip button. I listened to them all day and I loved every second of it. They spoke to me on a level that I have not experienced with a new band in… maybe ever. I like a lot of bands, I have a large range of music I enjoy listening to, but it is pretty rare that I will listen to everything they put out.
By the time the trendy Spotify End of Year Recap thing-a-ma-jig was rolled out, in just nine months, I had landed myself in the top 0.05% of Ghost’s listeners and logged an impressive 50,000+ minutes listening to just them in the span of March through November. That would be 35 days of me listening to them 24/7.
Thankfully, by the time I bought tickets, I only had 48 hours to wait until the show. And in those 48 hours, I know I was obnoxious with excitement. I was more excited for this than I could remember being for anything else in a very, very, very long time. And in true hardcore fashion, I brought my dad with me. He had never even heard of Ghost before I asked him to be my plus one, but he humored me and came along.
Watching the stage being transformed was the largest undertaking I have ever seen for between-acts-setup.
Once Ghost began, the only thing I was there to truly see – Volbeat and Twin Temple were just a bonus – I had a stupid grin plastered across my face. I thought multiple times that I was glad for the mask rule, as no one could see my manic from excitement grin. (And if you know me in real life, you know I am not a commonly-smiley-person, you really have to earn your smiles from me. So the fact that I spent an hour and a half grinning like the Cheshire Cat, should truly tell you the depth of my happiness.)
Ghost is not for everyone, that I am more than willing to acknowledge. But, if they’re a band you have ever been curious about – listening to, or seeing them live – I would highly, highly suggest giving them a go. They are an experience you will never forget. Because, after all… if you have Ghost, you have everything.