Live photo galleries: GHOST, NOTHING MORE
Review by Greg Maki
With reasonable certainty, I can say I was a witness to the first time anyone, anywhere, asked the following question: “Hershey, do you like to have your assess wobbled?!”
Same goes for this one: “Hershey, do you like to have your taints tickled?!”
Such is the stage banter of Cardinal Copia, the latest alter ego of Ghost mastermind Tobias Forge. Behind hit singles “Rats” and “Dance Macabre” from last year’s “Prequelle” album, the cardinal has led this incarnation of the band to new heights, specifically a full-blown North American arena tour. Ghost’s music and stage show seem designed for halls of this size, and with another new song, “Kiss the Go-Goat,” making waves now, these likely are the venues the band will occupy for the foreseeable future.
“Cardy C” and his band of seven masked ghouls and ghoulettes—eight when Papa Nihil dropped in for a mid-set saxophone solo on the instrumental banger “Miasma”—patrolled a beautiful tiered stage with a backdrop made to look like giant stained glass windows. Forge was in complete command of both stage and audience throughout, gracefully gliding about as the band unleashed its signature Blue Oyster Cult meets Mercyful Fate sound. Wearing a succession of elegant suits, Forge seemed to relish the freedom he’s gained by not being confined to the unholy papal robes favored by the Papa Emeritus characters.
The 20-song set included music from all four full-length Ghost albums, plus the two featured on the newly released “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic” and the fan favorite “Square Hammer” from the 2016 “Popestar” EP. Naturally, the more well-known selections from the “Meliora” (2015) and “Prequelle” records garnered the biggest crowd reactions.
Two hours of smoke, flames, confetti and anthemic songs—plus one small bicycle—added up to a massively successful first visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania, for Ghost.
GHOST SET LIST: “Ashes,” “Rats,” “Absolution,” Faith,” “Mary on a Cross,” “Devil Church” (with extended jam), “Cirice,” “Miasma,” “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen,” “Helvetesfonster” (partial), “Spirit,” “From the Pinnacle to the Pit,” “Ritual,” “Satan Prayer,” “Year Zero,” (“Spoksonat”) “He Is,” “Mummy Dust,” “Kiss the Go-Goat,” “Dance Macabre,” (encore) “Square Hammer”
Nothing More was something of an odd choice as opener for this tour, having little in common musically with Ghost. However, the Texas-based band brings a little theatricality of its own with its giant “Scorpion Tail” contraption. And the quartet has a growing list of songs familiar to many heavy music fans—including “This is the Time (Ballast)” and the Grammy-nominated “Go to War”—which succeeded in priming the crowd for the main event.
NOTHING MORE SET LIST: “Let ‘em Burn,” “Don’t Stop,” “Go to War,” “Jenny,” “Fadein/Fadeout,” “Ocean Floor,” “This is the Time (Ballast),” “First of the Year (Equinox),” “Salem (Burn the Witch)”