I was very excited to see Ghost when they played Webster Hall on May 11th, 2013. It ended up being a show I would not soon forget, because as the title suggests, the band doesn't just "play a gig," it's full on performance art.
I got the inside scoop on their start time and made sure to arrive with just enough time to get a drink and get a good spot in the crowd for their performance. As I patiently waited for the band to play, there was what seemed like evil church music playing, setting the perfect mood for what was to come. It's little details like this that make me enjoy a Ghost show all the more than a regular gig.
The lights dimmed, the ghouls appeared and it was on! The band started with the instrumental intro to their new album, Infestissumam. Once that was completed, the great Papa Emeritus II arrived to an uproarious applause. The band immediately went from the instrumental intro to the second track on the album, and it was glorious.
Papa was not only singing, but he was playing conductor, precisely timing his hand movements to certain drops in the song as if he were controlling the ghouls with his mind and forcing their hand to play certain parts. Emeritus has an incredible presence on stage in that his movements are very minimal and calculated but you can't help but take your eyes off of him.
About half-way through the show, a very attractive blond girl decided to hop up on the side of stage and start dancing and singing along to every word. She was clearly a fan and added an extra level of cool to the show.
Papa Emeritus II thanked the crowd towards the end of the show and mentioned the last time they played the venue, they played the basement hoping to one day advance to the big stage. It was clearly a big moment for the band.
A lot of naysayers say that Ghost is "all hype" but I thoroughly disagree. The band have fantastic songs and the "hype" can be easily confused for their excellent showmanship.
In short, if Ghost come to your time, GO SEE GHOST!
Here is the setlist:
Per Aspera ad Inferi
Con Clavi Con Dio
Body and Blood
Stand by Him
[Photo by Rodrigo Tercø Fredes]