Ghost is back with a new EP and tour, both entitled Popestar. This time around, the production and sound is bigger than ever, and they're playing their largest venues to date.
This tour, the band chose to kick off their tour in Rochester, NY at the Main Street Armory. By now, it's well known that Ghost has an extremely dedicated and faithful fan base. Still, the anticipation for this show was even more palpable than expected. The band had just released their new single "Square Hammer" earlier in the week, with the accompanying video debuting a mere twenty-four hours before this show. To top it all off, was a mounting curiosity as to whether fan-favorite ghoul "Omega" was still part of the action or not. Fortunately, most of this hunger was satisfied within moments of the show opener.
Ghost hit the stage at 9:15 pm and opened their set with the live debut of "Square Hammer." While I didn't realize it at the time, they were featuring their bassist in a somewhat unconventional manner with her (yes, her) taking the stage front and center (see photo above). It quickly became apparent that this chessboard of a stage represented more than the physical manifestation of their new song lyrics, but was symbolic of the pieces that seem to have moved within their own camp. While Omega was absent, they seem to have moved Water from bass to guitar and added a new member to the band on bass.
As they moved through a fairly conventional set, there were few minor changes from the previous tour including the additions of "Square Hammer," "Secular Haze" and "Absolution" while dropping "Spirit" and "If You Have Ghosts."
In addition to the set changes, lineup changes and bigger stage, we got several rounds of pyrotechnics throughout this show as well. There is something impressive about a band that is consistently trying to build on their live production. I first saw Ghost headline in 2013 while touring their sophomore album, Ifestissumam. Their set was very stripped down and simple. The theatrics consisted of their original ghoul masks and some fog. In the three years since, they have grown incredibly as musicians and as performers. Despite the tongue-in-cheek satanic tones of the act, I dare say this is a family affair. For those new to Ghost, give them a listen. This band has more hooks and harmonies than would even seem fair.
Ghost once again closed out their set with "Monstrance Clock." Interestingly enough, Papa Emeritus III did not introduce his nameless ghouls, as he traditionally does during the set. This has only served to feed the speculation as to the fate of Omega. Is his absence permanent or temporary? One thing is for certain, his absence was felt. We missed his signature "Omega-stomp" and the way he would command the stage. Regardless of circumstance, we also wish a warm welcome to this new ghuleh, whomever she is.
Set List: September 16th, 2016 - Rochester, NY: Main Street Armory
1. Square Hammer
2. From the Pinnacle to the Pit
3. Secular Haze
4. Stand By Him
5. Con Clavi Con Dio
6. Per Aspera Ad Inferi
7. Body & Blood
8. Devil Church
10. Year Zero
11. He Is
13. Mummy Dust
14. Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
16. Monstrance Clock
Ghost will be on tour throughout North America this fall. Click banner for tickets
Ghost - Square Hammer (music video)