Ghost brings a new Papa to the Windy City Oct08

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Ghost brings a new Papa to the Windy City

There are only a handful of bands that have more than a small dose of originality. Sweden’s Ghost, sits in the upper tier of that category and in my opinion they lead the pack.  Ghost produces a sound that strays from today’s path. Categorized as “metal”,  their music shows only slight similarities. Honestly, I’d be hard pressed to put them into any genre of today’s music. Anyone who is familiar with Ghost knows exactly they are lumped into “metal”.

In late August, Ghost released their highly anticipated third record, Meliora and are in the midst of their first U.S. tour for Meliora.  There have been a few changes in the bands camp though, new uniforms for the nameless ghouls and the departure of Papa Emeritus II. Thankfully, Ghost didn’t have to stray far because waiting in the wings was P.E. II’s brother (aptly named P.E. III) to step in and carry the family torch.  It’d been nearly eighteen months since Ghost has graced Chicagoland with a live ritual and Chicagoans have been clamoring for a proper introduction to  Papa Emeritus III as well as the return of Ghost. The setting for our special introduction to Papa III was the Riviera Theater which sold out weeks ago.

Papa & the ghouls brought the British psychedelic/rock band Purson along as the openers for the entire tour.  Fronted by Rosalie Cunningham, Purson had the arduous task of warming up a crowd that in majority hadn’t heard of them and in all honesty, could’ve cared less  because tonight belonged to Ghost. I will admit though, there were heads bobbing in the crowd.  I enjoyed Purson’s set and would be interested in seeing them on another night but like I said, this night belonged to Ghost.

As Purson left the stage there was a wave electricity that blanket the main floor of The Riv.  The anticipation was oozing out of the crowds pores.  A ghost show is more than just a concert, it is a performance! To set the tone and heighten our senses,  the crew placed dozens of  lit incense sticks on each side of the stage along with changing the between set music to an eerie styled classical piece. In what seemed like an instant, the house lights went down and the hair on my arms stood up.

As each member of the nameless ghouls took their place on stage “Miserere mei, Deus & Masked Ball” played. The ravenous Chicago crowd had already shifted into 3rd gear before the entrance of the Papa Emeritus III set foot onto the stage.  I wasn’t quite sure how the roars from the audience could get louder but believe me when I say “it happened!” Opening the show were ” Spirit and From the Pinnacle to the Pit” off of their latest release.  As P.E. thanked those in attendance for such a warm welcome the band blasted into “Ritual and Con Clavi Con Dio” off of 2010’s breakout “Opus Eponymous.

At this point of the show, it was obvious that the members of Ghost were willing to pull out all the stops and up the ante when Papa III invited two women in Nun outfits called  “The Sisters of Sin” onto the stage to give communion to the audience members in the front row during the song “Body and Blood (2013’s Infestissumam ) while quickly transitioning into “Devil Church.”

Halfway into the bands ninety minute set , the fog that had inhabited the entire stage had doubled in thickness and “POOF”  P.E. III disappeared,  only to return sans  his Mitre (hat) and robe and wearing an outfit reminiscent to a tuxedo to perform the first single from Meliora, “Circie”.  In typical Papa fashion, Papa Emeritus III had the audience hinging on his every move. One of several highlights of this performance was a tempo changing,  acoustic rendition of “Jigolo Har Megiddo” followed by   Ghuleh /Zombie Queen and Roky Erickson’s If You Have Ghosts.”

Papa thanked the audience for joining the band for this ritual and exited the stage only to quickly                       re-emerge for an encore of  ” Monstrance Clock and The Host of Seraphim” and in a flash, all of the gloriousness of Ghost had disappeared.

**Ghost is a band that needs to be experienced live, it is utterly impossible to do their performance justice with words.**

Set List

  1. Miserere mei, Deus
  2. Masked Ball
  3. Spirit
  4. From the Pinnacle to the Pit
  5. Ritual
  6. Con Clavi Con Dio
  7. Per Aspera ad Inferi
  8. Majesty
  9. Prime Mover
  10. Stand by Him
  11. Body and Blood
  12. Devil Church
  13. Cirice
  14. Year Zero
  15. He Is
  16. Absolution
  17. Mummy Dust
  18. Jigolo Har Megiddo (Acoustic)
  19. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
  20. If You Have Ghosts

Encore:

  1. Monstrance Clock
  2. The Host of Seraphim (Dead Can Dance song)

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