Ghost Haunts Second Sold Out Ritual In Los Angeles

October 21, 2016
The Wiltern- Los Angeles, CA

    Swedish rockers Ghost have been climbing to the top of the world within the past couple of years. In 2015, the band released their third album Meliora which earned them a Grammy in Sweden. The album’s lead single Cirice (Sa-reese) won the 2016 Grammy award for best metal performance. On September 16, 2016, Ghost released their second EP Popestar which included a brand new track Square Hammer and four covers consisting of: Nocturnal Me (Echo & the Bunnymen), I Believe (Simian Mobile Disco), Missionary Man (Eurythmics), and Bible (Imperiet). Immediately following the EP’s release, Ghost set out on the North American Popestar tour. The Wiltern in Los Angeles seemed like a big enough venue, yet the band seemed to have underestimated their own fan-base because not only did night one of the Wiltern sell out on October 20th, but the second night on the 21st sold out as well. By the time Ghost was getting ready to come out on stage, the venue was filled to capacity as the band’s legion of fans were ecstatic to see them whether it was their first time or not. Plenty of fans could be seen dressed up in attire as Nameless Ghouls, Papa Emeritus, women as nuns, and even the kids got dressed up for the show.

The lights went out as the anticipation started to build up as the choir song Miserere Mei, Deus (Have Mercy On Me, God) gave the venue a sense of being in a church. Incense were being burned on stage and gave the venue a nice and relaxing smell. Several minutes later, the second intro started and the venue was covered in red light as Masked Ball By Jocelyn Pook (as heard on ghostsc-23Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut) kept the eerie feeling to the venue going and built up even more anticipation. Eventually the Nameless Ghouls started coming out one by one and they opened the show with Square Hammer. Frontman Papa Emeritus III made his appearance on stage just as his singing parts started and let loose his beautiful yet haunting clean vocals. The first thing you’ll notice is how all the Nameless Ghouls are dressed alike to conceal their identity and are only told apart by their alchemical symbols of: Fire (guitar), Aether (guitar), Earth (drums), Air (keyboards), and Water (bass) who is the band’s newest member and is also a female.

The second track played was From the Pinnacle to the Pitfrom the Previous Infestissumam album. Secular Hazewas the third track played and was a sigh of relief to fans since it hasn’t been played live since 2013 and is a fan-favorite. Con Clavi Con Dio (With Nail With God) saw the band go back to its roots to the debut Opus Eponymousalbum and has a more kick to their music compared to the recent releases. Papa Emeritus even brought out a thurible during the song that he would swing side to side and have it release more incense. One of the main attractions to the show is when Papa Emeritus would bring two female audience members, dress them up as nuns called Sisters of Sin, and have them pass out communion wafers and wine. Beforehand, Papa Emeritus showed his more humorous side and spoke to the audience how they should behave with the Sisters of Sin and told the audience no touching and made clicking noises with his mouth and hand gestures making references to the audience so they don’t grab the Sisters of Sin’s boobs, butt, or lick their fingers. Since the communion wafers and wine involve the body of Christ, it only made sense that the band next played Body and Blood.

The instrumental Devil Church gave the Ghouls a quick chance at being in the main spotlight as the song gave off a chilling feeling as if taken from a 70’s or 80’s horror movie. As a quick warm up for the next song, the guitarists play the intro chord to Pink Floyd‘s Shine On You Crazy DiamondCirice finally got its chance to shine and featured Papa Emeritus returning to the stage changing from his satanic pope outfit to a regular tuxedo. Year Zero is another fan-favorite and fans love singing along to the chorus, “Hell Satan, Archangeloooo! Hell Satan, welcome Year Zeeerooo!”. For the record, Hell Satan is archaic Swedish for Hail Satan so the meaning is correct in the song’s terms. To make the song more fitting, the band used pyro during the chorus and gave the song a more hellish feel. He Is is another song from the Meliora album and is perhaps the most beautiful song the band has written. It’s a beautiful ballad that can make listeners cry during the show. Mummy Dust was one of the best songs of the night as towards the end, cannons shot out confetti as well as dollar bills made by the band containing Papa Emeritus’ face and the number 666 where the value of the dollar is. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen served as another song where just about everyone in the venue could be seen singing along to. Ritual from the debut album was to be the show finale. The Nameless Ghouls left the stage, but Papa Emeritus stayed behind and asked the audience, “Do you really think we’re gonna finish the show with a shitty ending like that?”. He then went on talking not only about the female orgasm, but embracing the female orgasm and how it was still seen as a craft of…the devil. Air Ghoul on the keyboards made a classic horror sound as if straight from a silent horror movie to add to the shock. After several minutes of speech, Papa Emeritus introduced the final song of the night, Monstrance Clock. The song has a perfect where a choir sings and fans can sing along to, “come together, together as one. Come together, for Lucifer’s son”. The band members left the stage while the choir continued the final line and fireworks were sparking red lights like a magnesium flare to give the dark stage something beautiful and majestic to look at. The show ended and fans all around were filled with excitement, tears of joy, and looks like they’ve just seen the best show of their life. The fans got Ghost, and now, they have everything.

Review by: Misael Ruiz