Concert Review: Ghost — A Hauntingly Memorable Experience
On a warm summer evening, Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, was shrouded in an atmosphere of mystery and intrigue as the enigmatic and theatrical Swedish rock band Ghost took the stage for a stop on their Imperatour Tour.
Known for their captivating blend of metal, rock, and pop, Ghost have garnered a cult like following due to their unique combination of music and theatrical storytelling. This concert was highly anticipated by fans and newcomers alike, promising an unforgettable evening of music and spectacle.
The concert opened with an eerie introduction, setting the tone for the evening at Jiffy Lube Live on August 24. The stage was adorned with elaborate set pieces reminiscent of a Gothic cathedral, complete with demons and devils on stained glass windows and flickering candles. As the band members, known collectively as the “Nameless Ghouls,” took their positions, the crowd erupted in excitement.
The charismatic frontman, Papa Emeritus IV, appeared on stage in his distinctive papal attire, exuding an air of grandeur and mystery. His theatrical persona combined with his powerful vocals immediately commanded the audience’s attention. The band launched into their set list, featuring a mix of tracks from their various albums.
Songs like “Rats” and “Mary on a Cross” along with “Call Me Little Sunshine” showcased Ghost’s signature fusion of heavy guitar riffs, melodic hooks, and Papa Emeritus IV’s haunting vocals. The band’s musicianship was impeccable, transitioning seamlessly between different musical styles, from the metal-inspired anthems to the more pop-infused melodies.
Watch the official music video for “Call Me Little Sunshine” by Ghost on YouTube:
One of the highlights of the evening was Ghost’s commitment to their theatrical elements. Throughout the performance, the stage was transformed into a visual spectacle, with Papa’s many costume changes, dramatic lighting effects, and mesmerizing backdrops that enhanced the narrative of each song. The presence of the “Nameless Ghouls” added an element of mystique as they played their instruments with precision while maintaining an air of anonymity.
The audience played a significant role in the concert’s atmosphere. Fans of all ages, dressed in a mix of casual attire and Gothic-inspired outfits, sang along to every word and raised their hands in unison. The sense of unity and camaraderie among the audience members added to the overall experience, creating a feeling of belonging within the Ghost community.
Papa Emeritus IV’s interactions with the crowd were engaging and filled with dark humor. His banter between songs added a personal touch to the performance, making the audience feel like they were part of an exclusive congregation. At the end of the main performance, Papa took a moment and sincerely thanked the assembled crowd for coming out to see the band play. Then the lights dimmed and Ghost left the stage.
But that was not the end of the evenings delights — the Dark Pope came back out after yet another change of outfit and asked the fans how many more songs they wanted to hear. Bargaining back and forth with them, the creepy yet smiling front man finally agreed that the band would play three more songs and then the fans would have to get the fuck out and go home!
The three-song encore consisted of “Kiss the Go Goat,” “Dance Macabre,” and the wonderfully melodic “Square Hammer.”
In the end, the Ghost concert proved to be a hauntingly memorable experience that blended music, theater, and a sense of macabre delight. From the band’s impeccable performance to the intricate set design and theatrical storytelling, every element of the show contributed to the creation of a truly immersive atmosphere. Ghost’s ability to transport the audience into their world of mysticism and rock ‘n’ roll spectacle is a testament to their unique artistic vision and their knack for creating an unforgettable concert experience.
Call Me Little Sunshine
Con Clavi Con Dio
Watcher In The Sky
Mary on a Cross
Respite on the Spitalfields
Kiss the Go-Goat
Here are some photos of Ghost performing at Jiffy Lube Live on August 24, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Mike Sprouse/Odd Rocker Photography.