Saturday May 11th 2018, the Fillmore in Detroit, MI was a chapel of ritual. The Grammy winning Swedish rock band Ghost was in town performing a blistering two and a half hour set to a sold out crowd. Ghost is by far the most theatric rock band in the game today. For the Joshbobdotcom.com readers who are not familiar with Ghost, let me catch you up to speed (it’s a little confusing so try to keep up).
Ghost is band sent on a mission by a secret underground satanic society to take over the world in the name of Lucifer. Led by a black pope, Papa Nihil, and Sister Imperator (the lead behind the scenes characters) that mastermind a satanic movement through the music of Ghost. Papa Emeritus I was enlisted as the first singer only to be replaced after the first album due to failure to take over the world. Papa Emeritus II and Emeritus III suffered the same fate as their predecessor after their respective albums (it’s the same singer with a different costume). The ancient bloodline was broken with current singer Cardinal Copia (again same guy, new costume). The backing band of nine consists of silver masked, “nameless ghouls” (who Lenny Potocki says look like Power Rangers). So you’re confused? Don’t worry; the bottom line is Ghost is a hard rock band with over-the-top theatrics that gives an added value to the experience. Today, it is nearly impossible to shock anyone. Alice Cooper carrying a snake, Slayer and Motley Crüe with their pentagrams, and Marilyn Manson with his anti-Christ superstar production just do not raise the public’s blood pressure like it used to. Still Ghost manages to provide enough refreshing mystery and occult to grab your attention. To describe their sound, the first time I heard them it immediately reminded me of the love child of Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult.
Saturday night Ghost would deliver a solid twenty-four songs to a packed house. The band managed to maintain a steady pace throughout the entire show. Choir hymns rang and the smell of incense permeated through the theatre before Ghost took the stage, opening with their new single “Rats” a radio-friendly rocker that takes me back to early 80’s metal. Ghost played songs spanning their entire six album catalogue and four new songs off the yet to be released “Prequelle”, due June 1st. The show had numerous highlights including a saxophone solo by Papa Nihil, several costume changes, and a confetti shower. The production seemed to build from start to finish with a calculated order that ended with “Square Hammer”, the groups highest charting song, which turned into a full on sing along. A roaring crowd brought the band back and for the encore. Cardinal Copia gave a passionate speech on the female orgasm, which seemed a little out of place, but Ghost is a band that creates their reality. “Monstrance Clock” was a fitting finale ending with hymn-like sing along, “Come together, together as one, Come together for Lucifer’s son”.
Ghost provided a fantastic show with a band that fired on all cylinders. The music and voice was spot on. Even to the point that the music comes off better live then their studio productions, which is a rare feat. Ghost left no doubt that they are a seasoned pro-band who know how to capture an audience. Bottom line is, if you’re looking for something new, outside your comfort zone, and wildly entertaining give Ghost a try. Don’t let the imagery hold you back. Watching Game of Thrones doesn’t mean you believe in dragons and White Walkers, but it is entertaining. Ghost hasn’t succeeded in converting Satanists around the world, yet, but they prove rock isn’t dead. It’s quite alive and well with Ghost.
Overall – A (A+ if they would have played my favorite song “Secular Haze”)
(photo credit: Dalton Potocki)