With their innovative approach to live performances and their equally-as-innovative fans, Ghost conjured up a spellbinding show at the DCU Center.

10/25/19 – DCU Center

Roadies dropped the massive, flowing black curtains, which swooped down to cover the stained-glass backdrop as Ghost prepared to take the stage. Church hymns played as the audience waited; they were asked to dress up in costume in spirit of the impending Halloween holiday and heartily accepted the challengethere was a girl beside me, eyes black, clad in a black lace dress, feathery boa, and a giant large rubber rat, which was glued to her shoulder. Concert-goers whispered and chatted anxiously, awaiting the first notes of notoriously enigmatic lead singer Tobias Forge. The uncanny scent of incense sliced through the air. After a blackout, the curtains came crashing down like something out of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s nightmares. The raw opening riffs of hit “Rats” began as Forge—clad in a vintage red waistcoat, black leather gloves and the ghoulishly humanistic mask of character Cardinal Copia—slithered out from the thickening wisps of fog. Strutting out onto the catwalk, Forge looked out over his riotous fans who tossed fake rubber rats through the air and chanted the lyrics back to the Swede. With their innovative approach to live performances and their equally-as-innovative fans, Ghost puts on more than a show: it’s a mecca to the unorthodox and creative.

Ghost created an eerie, otherworldly atmosphere to their performance with intricately designed sets of cathedrals, red roses, stained glass windows, and stone steps; imagine yourself at an post-apocalyptic rock rave. After tracks “Absolution” and “Faith,” punctuated with explosions of fog and fireworks, Forge took a moment to conjure up excitement from the crowd. “It’s Monday,” he said, speaking comically in the Copia character’s accent, “but we’re going to pretend it’s Friday.” After addressing the crowd, Forge backed up into the fog à la Phantom of the Opera and played beloved tracks “Cirice,” “Devil Church” and “Miasma”—during the latter, he exploded into a spellbinding saxophone solo, dressed in pope robes as beloved Ghost character Papa Nihil. Between his raw vocals and fast-changing costume switches throughout the set, the front-man worked the stage and gave it his all, comically making hand gestures to correspond with the lyrics, riding across the stage on a much-to-small tricycle, and pacing back and forth to give equal attention to his eager fans. 

Charismatic British guitarist Chris Catalyst—known to Ghost fans as “Nameless Ghoul” due to the expressionless metal devil mask he and his other band-mates wear—deserves to be noted. His interactions with the other band members (including a “battle of the guitar solos” with his fellow guitarist) and effortlessly raw guitar licks were unparalleled. This, paired with his good-natured interactions with the audience (he helped and encouraged a little boy in front of me make devil horns with his hands in the shape of the “rock on” gesture), stole the show.

Year Zero” was the most striking performance of the night; the DCU Center became a place of worship as Forge sang. Fog unfurled around him, burning red stage lights bathed the band, and fire erupted from the foreground of the stage with each strike of Catalyst’s guitar. You could feel the fire licking your face, and you could feel the passion emitted from each and every member. It was a surreal performance and deeply inclusive of the audience (every lyric was chanted back at Forge with fists pumping in the air for extra emphasis); I’d never seen something that visceral at a show.

As the show began to draw to a close, Forge thanked New England for always embracing the band, and reminded his audience that, unfortunately, it was—gasp—not Friday night, but Monday. “It’s a school night,” he soothed the audience, upon being met with boos. “Calm down, it’s alright. You didn’t think we’d leave without a good-bye kiss?” The metal group then broke into their last songs, much-loved hits “Kiss the Go-Goat” and “Dance Macabre.” Confetti burst through the air during the last track, showering the audience as Forge thanked them again for supporting the band. He took overly dramatic bows and told them to “Get the fuck out,” and asked, “What are you doing? Don’t you want to go home?” before playing an encore of “Square Hammer.” 

Ghost, despite their frightening image to some, are so much more—they are dedicated, astoundingly passionate musicians who aspire to grow and create constantly, whether it be lyrically, instrumentally, or in the mythos of their band. Their dedicated performance left me wondering: when will they be in Boston next, and can I buy my ticket now?

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