If you've seen some of the unmasked interviews with Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge, sometimes he is asked if he prefers the more intimate venues or playing larger theaters and arenas. Without hesitation, Forge always answers the larger arenas. After seeing Ghost at Barclays Center this weekend, I can understand why.
Ghost put on a spectacular concert – it wasn't just a show, it was an event. While the upper deck was tarped off, it was still an impressive feet for Ghost to fill out the entire floor and the 100s of a massive arena. There were thousands upon thousands of rock fans congregating for a rock band that is less than a decade old. Not many artists can pull that off. Having seen the band at every phase of their growth, the arena setting is clearly where they feel most natural.
When entering the venue you are greeted by a beautiful backdrop that is reminiscent of a church wall with stained glass windows, each of the three windows depict each of the past Papa Emeretiuses (Emereti?). There was an intricate stage set up, with with different entrances and stairs and hidden corners, creating an aura of getting a satanic sermon.
The show began with the Nameless Ghouls playing us in and then Cardinal Copia comes out to massive cheers, kicking things off with their newer single "Rats," which everybody loved singing along to. The set was a great mix of new and old, picking songs from the band's entire catalog, with the crowd along for the ride every minute – joining in and singing. There was noticeably no moshing, which might seem weird until you stop and realize that Ghost don't really have mosh parts.
Forge has really grown into a frontman, with some fun banter in between songs, keeping the crowd attentive and laughing at his Vaudevillian small talk. The Nameless Ghouls also showed far more personality than I have seen in the past, especially the two lead guitar players, who at one point traded guitar solos to the crowd's amusement. Overall, there were seven Nameless Ghouls on stage – three guitarists, one bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist and a second keyboardist/backup vocalist.
It's quite impressive to see how much attention is paid to the mystique of Ghost. There were no fewer than five costume changes for Cardinal Copia, and each of them reflective of the era of music the band were playing. All the outfits were expertly tailored, with some nice Ghost logo accents as finishing touches.
Ghost took full use of the arena vibe, with pyro throughout, and wrapping the show up with concert confetti sprinkling throughout the entire venue.
After experiencing Ghost in such a large atmosphere, it's hard to imagine seeing them going back to smaller venues. If anything, it just makes me want to see what the show would look like on an even larger scale.
Con Clavi Con Dio
Per Aspera ad Inferi
Miasma (with Papa Nihil saxophone solo)
Jigolo Har Megiddo (acoustic)
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
If You Have Ghosts (Roky Erickson cover)