Words by Emilia D’Albero | Photo by Joe Papeo
Ghost have had a big year. From releasing their latest album Meliora to performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Satan-worshipping starlets have been thrust into the spotlight of the mainstream – and they are thriving. As someone who has been a fan for the better part of their career, I am immensely happy to see Ghost getting the attention they deserve. Their shows are now made up not only of big, burly male metalheads who shamelessly wear Ghost shirts to the shows, but also include women and children, too. Their latest show at the Paramount brought fans of all ages and all walks of life, together for one purpose- to hail Satan.
Ghost’s live shows have only gotten more elaborate over the years, but they’ve stayed true to their roots. Bringing their Black to the Future tour to The Paramount in Long Island last Friday, Ghost proved once again that they are worthy of the hype. Their stage is set with a backdrop reminiscent of your childhood church’s stained glass windows, with an eerie twist. Drums and keyboard are elevated, while Papa Emeritus III and the other 3 Nameless Ghouls glide effortlessly around the stage. Papa, like his predecessors, dons a sweeping black robe emblazoned with the glittering Ghost logo, an inverted cross combined with a capital G. You can almost feel the pleasure in his voice reflected in his stiff, emotionless skeleton mask when he greets the audience with a spooky, yet emphatic, “Good evening, New York!”
Opening with the first track off of Meliora, “Spirit,” the band sets the tone for the entire show. Papa stands at the front of the stage with his arms outstretched, inviting his audience to become a part of his show instead of passive listeners. And the metalheads around me sang every word, stretching their hands out as if to touch Papa’s. (Side note: I know there’s a lot of misogyny in punk/metal because of how “teenage girls don’t know how to behave at shows,” but I do want to mention that a good 50% of these grown “experienced” men had their phones out, trying to record the whole show. Insert Kermit the Frog drinking tea meme here.) The band blazed through their hits both old and new and spanning their entire catalogue of work, including their latest single “Cirice,” “Con Clavi Con Dio” off of Opus Eponymous, and “Year Zero” off their second album, Infestissumam.
After a quick costume change into a sleek, elegant black suit, Papa Emeritus III is back again, and the Nameless Ghouls have traded their electric guitars for acoustic. The crowd shrieks with happiness as the Ghouls play the opening notes of “If You Have Ghosts” off of a past EP that also included an ABBA cover, if you ever doubted the versatility of this band. As we all sang along, Papa pauses the song as the Ghouls keep playing, and takes a few minutes to elaborately introduce each Ghoul and explain their role in the band. This quieter portion of the show included fan favorites “He Is” and “Ghuleh,” but the energy in the room was no less than when the band played a “heavy motherfucker,” as Papa so delicately introduced the song “Mummy Dust”.
At a certain point, Papa brought out the “nuns” chosen for that particular show to hand out some goodies to the fans in the front row. Speaking to my previous point about misogyny in the metal scene, Papa felt the need to add a disclaimer about “not grabbing things that you want to grab” when the girls went down in front of the stage. I was appalled that he even needed to say that, but that’s a thinkpiece for another day. On a contrasting happier note, the most adorable moment of the entire night was when a little boy, not more than 8 years old and decked out in full Papa face paint, got a lesson in gentle “moshing” by his really cool dad and some other really cool guys around them in the pit.
Closing with “Monstrance Clock”, the band ended the show riding the screams of “come together/together as one,” which is what we, the audience, did that night. Ghost have come so far in the last few years and just keep getting better, and I cannot wait to see where the band goes from here.
TheWaster.com | Long Island