Ghost: Final Night Of A Pale Tour Named Death At Barclay Center
A Pale Tour Named Death 2018
When we think of some of the biggest and best bands in 2018, Grammy Award-winning Ghost is without a doubt on the top of our list. The band led by its mastermind Tobias Forge made it a mission of theirs to set out for world domination, they just about have achieved just that. Back in May, the band announced during a press conference in New York City’s Irving Plaza that they would be playing two of the biggest shows they’ve ever done on U.S soil. Ghost announced it would take on The Forum in Los Angeles and the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY and later added Montreal, Canada to the arena show agenda as well, with no help from an opening act.
A few weeks later Ghost released their fourth full-length album titled Prequelle. Now after a successful Rats On The Road Spring tour, a new album that has earned them two Grammy nominations for “Best Rock Album” & “Best Rock Song” the band is about to wrap up their biggest tour to date and for A Pale Tour Named Death all roads led Cardinal Copia and The Nameless Ghouls to Brooklyn, NY’s Barclay Center for the final North American date of the tour.
As I arrived at Barclay Center the energy was electric, this very well might have been the most anticipated rock show hitting NYC all year. No easy expectation to meet. Fan’s wrapped around the arena, some dressed to the nines, some waiting for their VIP experience to meet Mr. Copia.
Pre-Show Fan Chatter:
I spoke to a fan Melissa Cullbrith, who said: “I’ve never been more excited in my life, this is my 11th Ghost show and it feels like the first time.”
I asked another fan Sean, who drove from Philadelphia what his expectations were for the show he said: “This is honestly what I always imagined it would get to, Ghost has never disappointed live and I can’t imagine this not being huge.”
Sabrina and her boyfriend Michael shared a bittersweet sentiment saying “We’ve seen Ghost so many times, in venues that always felt intimate. On one hand, it’s great that they’ve grown this much, but there is some sadness to knowing we may never see them on a small scale again.”
A sentiment many Ghost fans felt, joy for the band’s success, excitement to see how the show transforms in such a larger venue but also the fear of losing intimacy. Intimacy is something Tobias Forge has acknowledge when it came to player larger arena’s but he has said in interviews recently there are ways of playing larger spaces for production sake but still maintaining an up-close-and-personal feel.
Doors for the Barclay Center opened at 7 pm, with no opener on the bill and Ghost scheduled to take the stage at 8 pm. I made my way inside for what I saw as the beginning of the next chapter for Cardinal Copia and the Nameless Ghouls.
Before the band goes on “Klara stjarnor” by Jan Johansson and “Miserere Mei, Deus” by Gregorio Allegri are playing through the venues P.A. system along with the smoke from the Frankincense.
As the lights went black the Brooklyn crowd roared with excitement and the Nameless Ghouls & Ghoulettes, along with Cardinal Copia sporting a black suit, made their way to the stage. The set began with “Ashes” as an intro to “Rats”, next up was “Absolution”. Right away, you can see Ghost led by the Cardinal are meant to be on an arena stage. Copia managed to gesture and interacted with the crowd just like he does in a smaller venue setting. The major difference being an upgrade to lighting and the overall production. The band’s stage was once again stone-looking steps with a larger than life stained glass church backdrop.
The lighting and energy were by far the best I’ve seen, the lighting changes to fit the mood of each track throughout the show. Besides the Cardinal, the Nameless Ghouls very much interacted with the crowd as well and brought a ton of in your face energy to the equation using every inch of the bigger stage. Cardinal Copia also switched into his black Cardinal outfit, this was the first of four outfit changes.
Almost midway through the set, the Ghouls had a jam session in the form of the Prequelle track “Miasma” that sounded absolutely amazing, and towards the end of it Papa Nihil came on stage and played a solo on his saxophone surrounded by Ghouls. The crowd erupted with joy and was a major highlight during the first act, the crowd loved it! Cardinal Copia then returned to the stage with yet another outfit change, this time wearing a white suit and a black top hat wrapped in white. Copia has a sense of humor and it shows, telling the crowd “I too can make a grand entrance”, he then tells the audience “I’m gonna walk off and when I come back, it will be my grand entrance and you will scream”. Copia follows through with his strut back on and the crowd obliges to cheering. Copia then told the crowd the band would “take it down” an acoustic version of “Jigolo Har Megiddo”.
To add to the theatrics of Ghost, Forge splits the show into two acts, much like when you see a play. Act 1 and Act 2 at the halfway point of the show about 14 songs in. Ghost intermission lasts for 15 minutes during that time “Masked Ball” by Jocelyn Pook played through the P.A. I love the addition of this feature to the show as it gives fans a chance to grab more food and drinks, but also digest the first part of the set they just witnessed and get excited again to return for act 2.
When the band returned, Cardinal Copia is now in his red Cardinal attire and kicks the second act off with “Spirit”. Act 2 features fan favorites like “Year Zero” which comes fully loaded with flames and red lights that make the stage look apocalyptic and “From The Pinnacle to the Pit” which sounded massive in this vast setting. Another ballad moment of the show is a performance of the song “He Is”, where he had a microphone stand with him at the top of the staircase and the ghouls all around him. For the song “Mummy Dust” the frontman teased the crowd by asking “Do you like heavy music? Like really heavy music?” and also asked,
“Do you want me to tickle your taints?”
It’s little, subtle parts of the band’s performance that made the night memorable and broke up such an intense, long set. It’s so important for a front-man to interact and involve the crowd, and Cardinal Copia nailed that, the comedic portion of the show also helped to lift the weight and remind fans they’re supposed to enjoy themselves. As “Mummy Dust” came to a close, confetti and Copia money shot out into the arena floor.
The show features Copia’s hilarious, dark and crude humor which is well received by the fans, I literally witnessed attendees laughing to the point of tears at moments. The highlighted moment of the comedy is a break in the middle of the Rocky Erickson cover “If You Have Ghost” where Copia comedically introduces each member of the band with a funny comment attached. The last two songs of the night were “Square Hammer” which sent the crowd into a sing along frenzy and the always popular introduction to the band’s encore “Monstrance Clock”, with Copia even mocking the way bands take a bow, leave and come back on stage. Before he began the song he taunted the crowd saying “What are you all still doing here? Go the F**k home”.
I’ve seen Ghost live quite a few times at this point, and I honestly have to say this show was next level. The attention to detail, the incorporation of the band’s story into things like the meet and greet, plus the guts to take risks and step out of previous comforts zones. Keep in mind Ghost nearly one year ago opened for Iron Maiden in Barclay Center and just in that time, they headlined the same venue by themselves in a two and a half hour, 26 songs full production set. These are the things that make this a masterpiece of a performance, Forge has proven that this band not only deserves to play arena shows but that they are also ready, willing and able. Longtime Ghost fans will absolutely love the band’s future performance, and honestly, if you missed any of the A Pale Tour Named Death shows, you really messed up. I really think Ghost have found themselves a home in large venues with massive production.
The band is done touring for the moment but they have a ton planned for 2019 including a tour with Metallica overseas, they’ll also take A Pale Tour Named Death oversees plus appearances on some U.S festivals including Chicago Open Air, and Sonic Temple. There is also some chatter of the possibility of a new album in 2019. My prediction, Ghost will only get bigger and better from here.
For more information on Ghost, check out the band’s official website at www.ghost-official.com/