October 22, 2016
T. Ray Verteramo
“We meet upon the level and we part upon the square
These words have precious meaning and are practiced everywhere
Come let us contemplate them, they are worthy of a thought
From the ancient times of Masonry these symbols have been taught
We meet upon the level, every country, sect and creed
The rich man from his mansion, the poor man from the field
For wealth is not considered within our outer door
And we all meet on the level upon the checkered floor.”
– The Level and the Square
And on the checkered floor of the “altar-ed” stage, where the 3-tier riser paneled with faux marble perched above the crowd, we met upon the level, indeed.
The Popestar Tour is not Black to the Future part II. One setlist is not like another. The light show, the added LED light platforms, the smoke geysers and the strong, new backdrop of the Unholy Trinity gives this show some sharper fangs for a deeper bite. So, “Oh I saw them last year,” is no excuse.
Those who question whether or not Ghost should be considered Metal have a legitimate point, in regards to their discography. The haunting (no pun intended) acidic “grooviness” intertwined with seductive riffs and chants makes this group either an instant obsession or an ugly sweater one grows into. But, the second those Ghouls take the stage, the Metal question is shoved down your throat.
Ghost is Metal.
Influenced by a patchwork of genres from 80’s classics to Black Metal to Prog to Blues, it is astounding that their work becomes so adhesive when they’re performing live. This is their element — which I’m sure would please Sister Imperitor, as they would be unable to indulge “insipid questions” when occupied in this state…
The show plunges right in with the new release, “Square Hammer,” which gives a welcoming embrace over the sea of screams. Its lively pulse and elegant simplicity sticks to your ribs as well as your memory, so therefore, makes for the perfect opener.
After that, the fault beneath your sense of safety cracks open and Ghost lays down the business.
The familiar bass intro to “Pinnacle to the Pit” from their latest, Meliora, shook the walls and hooked the leash onto the collar before resurrecting “square” favorites, like “Secular Haze” and “Stand By Him” from Opus Eponymous. Their driving performances roughed up the songs enough to give them an edge, but clean enough to slice. “Con Clavi Con Dio” united the house in sing-a-long until five songs later, they lash out “Year Zero,” which set the fire on full gas.
Exploding with energy and beautiful lights, Ghost brings this feral new set with custom class and signature elegance in clear, loud, magnificent sound.
Papa Emeritus III, graceful as always, full of playfulness, humor, and irresistible sensuality did his job ensuring that all the sweating, pulsing, touching, vocalizing bodies mounded and squeezed – and how Ghost provided the stimulation — were aware that “in a way, we’re already fucking.”
Then, the customary finale of “Ritual” before they bid good night with no encores.
I wonder if they thought it was as good for them as it was for us? Not sure if they’d respect us in the morning, though…