GIG REVIEW: An Evening with GHOST Live at The Forum, London
On a warm evening in London, 2300 fans gathered to see Ghost give a Sunday service on their current Popestar European tour. This was not your normal church Sunday service; here it matters not if you believe in God or Satan or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Ghost was there to preach their own brand of metal music.
The warm-up act for the evening was Zombi, a band from the USA made up of Steve Moore and Anthony Peterra I had never heard of the band before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It quickly became apparent that I shouldn’t expect much. After 10-15 minutes it was clear that Zombi were just synthesized music and a drum kit, and looking around me, no-one seems to know what to make of…whatever it was we were seeing. As the set moves along, the guys never once speak to the audience or even mention what their songs were called. There was not even a backdrop to say what the band are called, I was only able to find out who they were after looking up Ghost’s touring schedule. The music would have been more suited to a night club than a heavy metal gig. The biggest cheer of the set was when we were told that the next song was the last song; it was a huge relief to everyone watching, even if we were a bit annoyed we’d lost 45 minutes of our lives to this. The music was what it was, and I’m sure there might be a person, who would like it, but it was completely the wrong style for this crowd and with no audience interaction or even talking, they did nothing to appeal to those watching. This was without doubt the oddest choice for an opening band.
Ghost took to the stage, opening with “Square Hammer” and in a blinding flash of light we were greeted by Papa Emeritus to a massive roar of approval from the sold out crowd in attendance. The audience was screaming every word of the song with such passion that it was quite an experience to be a part of. I wasn’t surprised though, such is the skill with which the band was performing and with which Papa Emeritus was commanding the stage.
The band moved into from the “Pinnacle to the Pit” with the crowd still singing every word. The band’s playing was faultless, and even behind their masks you get the impression they were enjoying every moment as much as the audience.
“Secular Haze” and “Con Clavi Con Dio” follow in quick succession. I’ve always enjoyed this song, ever since I first listened to Ghost. I particularly like the bass in this track, and it doesn’t disappoint live. There’s something about that many people shouting “siamo con clavi, siamo con dio, siamo con il nostro dio scuro” in perfect unison that was kind of haunting, it certainly adds something to the show. The band moved into “Per Aspera ad Infer” which keeps the set moving along at a brisk pace.
Next, we were introduced to tonight’s sisters of sin, meaning it can only be time for “Body and Blood”, a staple Ghost track they play in every show. This again was sung to the rafters by everyone in attendance, and the whole front row was given communion for good measure. Once the instrumental track that was “Devil Church” ends the band kicked right into “Cirice”. It was amazing to see the band playing this well considering the line up changes the band have undergone in recent months. The crowd somehow manage to raise their volume for this one; you can tell they were really enjoying the show Ghost is putting on for them. Then came the song most people were probably waiting for, as the beginning words to “Year Zero” ring out this was where the band up their game. What a spectacle this song turned out to be, using both smoke and fire to great extent throughout the song with the crowd loving every second of it. This really was the band’s defining song of the night. Then the atmosphere was brought down a little to allow time for both the crowd and the band to catch their breath, still a floor-less performance nonetheless. The more slow paced style was continued with “Absolution” with Papa Emeritus still commanding the stage with his own style.
The pace picked back up as the band go into “Mummy Dust” which the crowd were called upon to sing back the words Mummy Dust which builds up more and to the point where at the end confetti was raining down upon the audience, much to their screaming approval. This would have been a perfect place to end the show and send everyone home every happy. But after a brief blackout the opening notes to “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen” were heard and everyone was singing along once again, it’s a great song from their album ‘Infestissumam’, but with the live setting having gotten the adrenaline pumping, and everyone was emotionally invested in the show, the atmosphere was like nothing I had ever seen. It was a real you-had-to-be-there moment. For the last song of the set we were treated to “Ritual”. When the band take their bows at the end Papa Emeritus informs us “if you really think we would end with a crap farewell like that you should know us better by now” and with that the band reappears and they go into Monstrance Clock for the encore.
Ghost put on one hell of a performance tonight they have raised there live show performance even more since I last saw them. I believe the only way for this band is up and with the single “Square Hammer” topping charts all over the world this band will be headlining major festivals all over the world in no time at all.