On several occasions, Calgary has had the opportunity of hosting Ghost. On this particular tour, they played at the Stampede Corral. Several people gathered on the floor and throughout the opening band, Nothing More’s, set the seats started filling up the venue. VIP’s collected their special edition merchandise and many others hoarded around the merch tables. I kept on spotting different people indulging in the costumes of the Ghouls, plague doctors, nuns, and of course Cardinal Copia.
We are no stranger to the performance of Nothing More, and that’s exactly what it is, a performance. With low blues lights, their vocalist confidently walked to the corner of the stage and climbed on top of a trapeze pole. He swung about on it, cranking the wheel that was fixated on top, and enthusiastically waved about as the performance of the rest of his band began. As he climbed down, you could see the black paint that went across his chest revealing a form of the American Flag. Nothing More is known for being energetic, hopping around the stage and showing off different musical techniques throughout. At the end of their set, their vocalist climbed on top of the now transformed machine again and swaying about in enthusiasm to the cover of Skrillex that bled into Queen’s “We Are The Champions” before going back into Skrillex’s “Bangarang.” The stage went black, and then the venue lights went back up so people could find their way to the concession in preparation for the main performance.
With a 30-minute intermission, you could feel the anticipation build-up for Ghost. Their gospel hymns spilled out over the PA system. For nearly 20-minutes you could hear the beautiful hymns chime in and collapse into the crowd. Once the whole room went to black those hymns went right into Ghost’s “Ring Around The Rosey,” track, creating the final build-up before the curtain came crashing down revealing the masked Ghouls standing completely still. It was stunning, but also intimidating to see these creatures so still on the steps of the make-shift church. With the first rift playing, they all walked over to their places, seamlessly playing their instruments. Cardinal Copia walked out and the room erupted into a cheer as he addressed the right side of the crowd and slowly found his way to the center of the stage. The whole set design played into the intricate music and haunting vocals. From front to back, the show felt like a full-fledged theatre performance. Each moment was purposeful and each character walked in great choreography. It was as if they didn’t want any section of the stage to be empty; Every corner of the room was to be noticed and entertained. The lighting was beautiful, played to each down-beat and in itself was a show on its own. Halfway through it all, the two guitarists played off in a battle against one another, spotlighted, showing off what they could do, before one was claimed to be truly victorious and the other was to stand at the center of the stage and take the hit of knowing that they had lost the battle. They returned to their corners of the stage, going back and forth playing into the next song as the lights went from the white spotlight to a deep ominous red. Slowly, everyone else on the stage became visible and played into this epic musical tale. Plague doctored oozed in as the lights turned into a blue and green, creeping about, inspecting the people up at the front. One had his lamp lit up and was carefully looking over the front and center crowd before they all found their way back behind the stage. It was at the track where we saw the presence of the past Nihil came back to life, performing on the saxophone with two guards standing by, as smoke came up and eventually flooded him off stage as the song came to its conclusion. It was at this point where we saw a new suit roll up in a tricycle and take to the stage. The whole event was a complete spectacle for both the long-time Ghost fans as well as anyone who may have only been a casual listener. It wasn’t a simple concert or show, but rather a complete experience of the event, all the way to the end with their confetti cannons signaling that the show was over.
I cannot stress enough about how the experience of seeing Ghost is not just for their fans. It’s for people who love to be entertained and I encourage anyone who has even the slightest bit of interest in seeing them to take the leap and purchase a ticket to one of their events. It’s completely entrancing and impossible to stop watching.
Photography By: Brandynn LP