Ghost kicked off the United States leg of A Pale Tour Named Death last night at the Theatre in Grand Prairie. As part of 97.1 KEGL’s Freakers Ball, this show was more of a pre-Halloween extravaganza than a typical night of music. Both fans, and venue staff, were dressed to impress in the spirit of Samhain. From demons and clowns, to nuns and those dressed as members of Ghost, (the members of the band are known as the ‘Nameless Ghouls’) just going through security was almost worth the price of admission. The lobby was full of booths promoting haunted houses, CBD, and of course, the radio station was on hand for the night’s festivities. The artist’s merchandise line maintained a steady flow of fans who were eager to get the first look at the tour’s apparel offerings. While opening artists Badflower, Fever 333, UnderOath, and Jonathan Davis, played their respective sets, the venue stayed less than half full as a lot of the fans mingled in the lobby or the outside smoking areas.
Just after 10pm, darkness engulfed the theatre and sounds of the singing children from Ghost’s “Ashes” echoed through the PA. By that time fans had filtered in, but the venue was far from capacity. The black curtain covering the stage rose to the ceiling as the silhouettes of the Nameless Ghouls were unveiled. The crowd sang along as the headliner opened the set with “Rats” from their latest album Prequelle. Vocalist and mastermind behind the masked musicians, Tobias Forge, (whose stage character is Cardinal Copia) walked out clad in a black collared button-up and painted face. The persona Cardinal Copia is new to the Ghost story line after replacing the old vocalist character, Papa Emeritus III.
The stage consisted of a curved staircase that allowed the masked Ghouls to perch the drums and synthesizers high in the air for a bird’s eye view of the crowd. A cloth backdrop representing cathedral style stained glass windows stretched from the floor to the rafters. The Ghouls kept the crowd entertained as they incorporated the opening riff of “Smoke on the Water” before transitioning into “Ritual.” Cardinal Copia informed the crowd that they should keep their socks on because Ghost was going to rock them off. The corny, and sometimes sexual jokes, continued throughout the night and were well received by the crowd.
All jokes aside, Ghost executed a flawless set; they take that part seriously. The levels of the instruments were masterfully mixed and the stage setup was unparalleled. True masters of their craft, Ghost delivered one of the most unique performances I’ve seen to date. The uncompromised stage set-up only helped further display the masterful musicianship of the members. The crowd’s eyes were drawn to the right area of the stage as the lighting or fog illuminated the Nameless Ghouls during guitar and synthesizer solos. The bass and drums kept precision timing to keep the Ghouls on track. The band then kicked into the heavy offering of “Mummy Dust.” During the song, in true over-the-top Ghost fashion, fog cannons shot massive amounts of red, white, and blue confetti paper into the air that rained down on the crowd. Both visually and musically appealing, Ghost put on a truly memorable performance. “Dance Macabre” kept the crowd moving and singing along. The hour and a half set was closed out by an encore of “Monstrance Clock.” After witnessing Ghost in a live setting, it was obvious to me that they deserved the attention and recognition that they have received over the years. I see a bright and mysterious future for the masked Ghouls.
– Corey Smith
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