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Ghost In Concert: A Loud Rock 'n Roll Spectacle

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 16, 2018 17:24

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Swedish band Ghost played a concert in Brooklyn's Barclays Center, and it was a loud, dramatic, genre-hopping rock 'n roll experience.

Ghost is a Swedish rock band, playing a roaring mix of heavy metal, progressive rock, with bits and pieces of other genres and presented with eerie Satanically influenced bombast that is only somewhat tongue in cheek. They played the final date in their A Pale Tour Named Death North American 2018 Tour at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on December 15.

This was the second time I'd seen the band live: the first was a few years ago when they opened for Iron Maiden. Back then I was unfamiliar with them but they won me over with their music, aura, and bizarre costumes. I knew I'd want to see them perform a full concert in the future. 

I'd planned to attend with my daughter, but she had strep so I gave away my ticket to a stranger. Only one friend was psyched to see a loud metal band and she had her ticket. Ach, my fuddy dud peeps. At Barclay's I noted that Ghost attracts a wide range of fans, from teens and college agers, to gray-haired folks and children, and even preschoolers. I kid you not. 

Ghost was formed in 2006 and for many years band members kept their identities hidden. More recently the singer, songwriter and conceptualist Tobias Forge has come out as the lead. His stage name has changed over time from Papa Emeritus to Cardinal Copia. Their songs, costumes and set design are rooted in Satanism and openly scornful of Christianity. The makeup of the band has changed somewhat also because some ex-members brought suits against Forge. But worry not, this current band played with chops and ferocity.

Perhaps one of the biggest surprises to me was that Ghost had no opener, and they played two lengthy sets of music. Except for one cover, the Roky Erickson song "If You Have Ghosts," the material was all theirs. Even the Grateful Dead don't play two full sets of their own tunes. But the energy level and songs were solid, even to someone like me who is only familiar with a handful of their songs. And before the show and during intermission the PA played atmospheric instrumentals that just added to the mystique.

Forge has a powerful, reedy tenor voice, tuneful and not forced. He strolled regally around the stage, up and down stairs on the set, maintaining an aloof presence. But he did speak to the audience, and went beyond the "Hello, Brooklyn!" cheers. He even asked us "Do you like to have your asses wobble?" And the crowd cheered. 

They played songs from all their albums, including the recent "Prequelle". From that 2018 album I enjoyed their performances of "Ashes", "Rats" and "Dance Macabre". The mid-set acoustic number "Jigolo Har Meggido" was different, stunning. 

I enjoyed the show very much, and enjoyed watching fans digging the music. Some dressed up ("Catholic cosplay" as one writer put it; as a non-Christian the nuances escaped me). Others knew every lyric. 'Twas powerful and theatrical.

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 16, 2018 17:24

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Horror metal band Ghost will tour North America this summer with iconic metal pioneers Iron Maiden Grammy Award-winning...

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