It has been a week, so I think it is high time we talk about it. I SAW GHOST AGAIN LAST FRIDAY.
This time, however, was different. I drove five and half hours to see them. I took my nephew along for the ride, after discovering post-first-ritual that he was also a fan. I knew this time going in that Ghost fans call their concerts Rituals. I knew the magic to expect. And my goodness did they not disappoint.
The show was set to begin at 7, and it very promptly started at 7. No more had we sat down in our seats, did the lights go down for the opening band. Spiritbox was the opening act this time; while not really my thing, I can appreciate the immense vocal range of Courtney La Plante. The same cannot be said for the second band, Carcass. They seemed like nice enough chaps, but neither my nephew nor I could understand a thing they were saying in their songs. Part of me was questioning if they were actually attempting to summon a demon. Thankfully, we missed most of their set by standing in line at the single shirt stand in the venue.
It took nearly forty minutes to get the stage ready for Ghost, a lot longer than it had taken than the first time I saw them. Although, that could have also just been the anticipation seeping into my nerves, dying for Ghost to take the stage. Though I largely attribute that to perhaps the slightly smaller stage, so they had to construct more things between acts. Either way, the wait was more than worth it.
When that curtain finally dropped, I had instant chills.
They opened much the same this time around, as they did earlier this year, with Kaisarion and Rats, but from there they completely changed things up. (I had been mildly wondering how much this would feel like seeing the exact same show I had seen only eight months prior – but let’s be honest here, I would have been happy with that as well.) From The Pinnacle To The Pit has been completely removed from the setlist to make room for many entries from Ghost’s latest album, Impera. While I was sad to see that one go, I was quite happy with the addition of those that replaced it. Faith was moved up to the third song, followed by the introduction of Spillways. Devil Church remained fifth, which was also still followed by Cirice. Griftwood – one of my favorites off of Impera – made it’s debut at number seven, bumping Hunter’s Moon to number eight. Ritual moved up from the eleventh place previously to the ninth slot this time around. Call Me Little Sunshine made it’s live debut at number ten, followed by Con Clavi Con Dio. Prime Mover returned to the setlist at number twelve, followed by the new Watcher In The Sky. We got in our “Hail Satans” during the pyro-heavy Year Zero at the fourteenth slot before the first pre-recorded interlude of Spöksonat. Picking back up their instruments, they marched on with He Is, the one song I had been heartbroken they had not played in February. (A fun fact, this one song has been the single most inspiring song for my writing over the past two years.) After He Is, we were launched into a live rendition of the musical bit, Miasma, which you can see my video of below.
During the performance of Miasma, we were treated to a thing I had heard rumor about for the entirety of the tour: the resurrection of Papa Nihil. I had heard rumor, and even seen video of his performance, but I could not have possibly prepared myself for the absolutely GLORIOUS moment that he was wheeled out onto stage. Then shocking him back to life in-sync with the music and the sparks… I was not prepared for that SUPERB execution of his resurrection. (And as I said last ritual… everyone expects a saxophone at a Satanic concert, right?)
After Papa Nihil collapsed back into his box, we were rocking into the home stretch. Mary On A Cross went from number four on the setlist back in February, down to number seventeen and the beginning of the closing of the show, thanks to the song’s new-found popularity on the TikTok. It was a song that in a recent interview, the man behind Papa Emeritus IV said he had always played at shows for HIM. And now it’s getting the fan appreciation it has always deserved and become a huge crowd favorite.
Mummy Dust was the eighteenth song Ghost played, and saw the first explosion of confetti. I was hoping this Ritual, being a row or two closer to the stage, I might actually get my hands on some of much sought after Mummy Dust – at the First Ritual one lone piece was drifting towards me, only to have the guy in the row in front of me snatch it out of the air. But alas, it was still not meant to be this time. I did end up getting a new piece of confetti, so a small consolation.
Dance Macabre, the pure rainbow fest and disco jam of the night, was being set up to be the end of the show. Papa was saying his goodnights and farewells, and I began to get a little twinge in my chest. Surely they wouldn’t NOT play ‘Square Hammer…’ I was able to convince myself that there must be something a-foot, as there was no WAY they wouldn’t play it, it’s been their closer for ages (at least that I am aware of). Due to my somewhat distractedness, I was caught completely unaware when the rainbow confetti was shot out during Dance Macabre, leaving me in pure squeals of delight at the sight. And let me tell you, you have not experienced true color until you have seen Ghost perform Dance Macabre live. You have not lived until you experience this song live. It. Is. E V E R Y T H I N G.
And then… they all left. The lights went out. My brain frantically kept thinking No, surely not, they CAN’T be done yet! They just CAN’T be!! I have been to many concerts in my days, and one would think I would know better. When concerts are over, they do not just turn the lights off. No one would be able to find their way out. The lights come on, all of them. And yet, I was still deceived. Usually, by the end of a concert, I am finding myself ready to be done. Ready to go home. Ready for quiet. And ready to be away from people. But not with Ghost
I wish Ghost Rituals could go on forever. That I could just live and exist in that small bubble of time for the rest of my days. I would even happily sit in a nearly six hour long concert while they played every song in their repertoire.
Then, after a few agonizing moments that felt like a lifetime, THEY RETURNED.
Square Hammer erupted to life, the lights were white and bright, illuminating both the stage and the crowd. Square Hammer is easily one of my favorite songs. Of course, being of the mindset that which ever Ghost song is currently playing is my absolute favorite, that doesn’t always mean a lot. But it is legitimately one of my all-time favorites, plus, I adore the music video and the phrasing of “It’s just Tobias Forge living out his dream of being in a German silent film.” always rings true to me when I hear it.
It was over far too soon. As they did in February, the lights came up and Emmylou Harris’ Sorrow In The Wind played as the band members all came down to the front of the stage, waving and blowing kisses at the crowd. Signs appeared, a stuffed banana was tossed, it is without a doubt the most intimate closing of a show I have ever witnessed.
A mix of emotion washed over me, as I stood there, taking photo after photo. Sadness that it was all over, and yet elation for having gotten to see them live once again.
Ghost for me is the likes of which I have never experienced in a band before. I have loved bands before. Have loved songs before. Had crushes on artists before. But I have never loved a band like this before. I have never felt this connected to a band. Felt so engulfed by a fandom. (If you’re a fellow Ghost fan and are female – born or identify as – I highly suggest looking up the Sisters of Sin group on Facebook, they are the absolutely loveliest group of humans I have ever had the pleasure of interacting with.) The serenity the music itself gives me, the elation of seeing them live are both things that I will carry with me, close to my heart forever more.
Above are a collection of animations my phone made for me from my photos from the show. A fun fact: if I were to post a photo from the show every day, I would be posting them for well over a year.
It would, of course, not be a Ghost post without a proper photo dump.
I will leave you with my final photo from the night… Papa standing at the top of the drum steps, with a single spotlight on him. All the ghouls and ghulehs had melted away, leaving him standing alone to blow one final kiss, to take one final bow. I will travel to the ends of the earth to see this band every time they are touring. They are a must see, a must experience, and I immensely look forward to our next Ritual.
If you have Ghost, you have everything and you will never ever walk alone.