Swedish power house Ghost brought their iconic rituals to France for a thrilling and exciting tour. I had the absolute pleasure to see them on their Imperatour.
On this blog, we have several blogposts dedicated to the band Ghost, so to say I was stoked to see them live on a headline was an understatement. I saw them back in 2019 as support of Metallica in London, but the atmosphere is totally different.
OUR BROTHERHOOD OF GOOD FAITH
Seeing Ghost is not just a show, it is an experience. Walking in the venue, you get this eery feel, by being surrounded by a lot of people with the iconic incarnations of the different Papa’s. However, the crowd is incredible. While waiting for the show to start 7000 people were singing on top of their longs to A-ha’s Take on Me. With the curtain dropping and covering the stage, the roars became louder by the minute, with Imperium giving us the proper countdown.
In the dimly lit atmosphere as Imperium approached its conclusion, anticipation heightened with the resonating guitar riff of Kaisarion echoing through the venue. The silhouette of the Nameless Ghoul against the grand curtain was electrifying, preceding the dramatic reveal of the church-like stage in all its glory.
The opening was spectacular, enhanced by the ambiance of smoke and the explosive display of fireworks. Noteworthy was the spotlight on the Nameless Ghouls on guitars and bass, claiming their moment at the forefront of the stage before the entrance of Papa Emeritus IV. The frontman, styled in a vintage military jacket, had a commanding stage presence.
The choice of initial songs predominantly from the Papa Emeritus IV / Cardinal Copia era was apt, considering the Cardinal’s transformation and the band’s soaring popularity during that period. The journey kicked off with Kaisarion, seamlessly transitioning into the captivating Rats and Faith, both standout tracks from the 2018 Prequelle album. An additional highlight was Papa Emeritus IV addressing the audience in French, showcasing his linguistic efforts for the tour.
Hunter’s Moon and one of my favourites, Jesus He Knows Me, kept the ritual going in high pace. It was great to see the latter song, as not long after it was removed from the set list. This song fits so perfectly in the set list with the charismatic Papa and the double meaning of the song.
Going to a Ghost show truly feels like a ritual, as the fans call it. The atmosphere is different from other shows and goes from pop to rock, to darker times with for example the song Ritual. The vibes really change and with the different songs (and vibes) the different costumes of Papa came all alive.
The master behind the mask of Papa is of course Tobias Forge, who really seems to be in charge of the whole show. From the different outfits, to the banter and actual singing, Forge brought together a show of a lifetime.
DEAD BUT ALIVE
The show kept going with hits like Call Me Little Sunshine casting its enchanting spell, gracefully giving way to the dark and mysterious tones of Con Clavi Con Dio. The atmosphere shifted again with the haunting presence of Watcher in the Sky, setting the stage for the epic spectacle of Year Zero, where the energy reached its zenith, captivating the audience with Ghost’s masterful musical journey. The different era’s of Ghost came perfectly together with this section of the show.
I will call it my own fault, but Watcher in the Sky was overlooked by me on the album. But wow, it sounded amazing live, and I will give it some extras spins in the coming days for sure. He Is, might be one of the first songs I knew the band from and was great to hear live.
On Miasma, the resurgence of Papa Nihil (Papa Emeritus’s father) for a wild saxophone finale adds an amazing touch to the show. I was thrilled to experience Miasma again. The TikTok and absolute fan favourite Mary on a Cross followed perfectly with Mummy Dust (and the actual launch of Papa Bucks and confetti) and Respite on the Spitalfields closing the main set.
The band made a vibrant return to the stage, with Papa engaging in some entertaining banter before they unleashed the stellar encore. Kiss the Go-Goat kicked things off, seamlessly transitioning into Dance Macabre and turning the venue into a pulsating dance celebration.
The stage came alive with confetti, a riot of colourful lights, and Papa donning a distinctive costume, creating a surreal ambiance, especially when compared to the earlier performance of Year Zero. The grand finale came with Square Hammer, bringing the show to a triumphant close as Ghost took their final bow. The Nameless Ghouls absolutely killed it tonight. They sounded awesome together, the backing vocals were on point and were highly entertaining to watch. Papa Emeritus IV nailed it, a great voice that truly brings this amazing character to life. I feel lucky to have seen them like this.
The show is simply spectacular, pulling out all the stops with cleverly employed effects like smoke billowing from the floor and ceiling, pyrotechnics lighting up Year Zero, and a confetti and money cannon displaying Papa Emeritus’s image during Mummy Dust.
Miasma, featuring the return of Papa Nihil, and ending with a wild saxophone solo, is a big highlight for me. The technical aspects are flawless—impeccable sound, dazzling lights, and a gargantuan set list of 20 tracks that skilfully blends hits with some deeper cuts.
Each song contributes a piece to this beautiful musical mosaic. Perhaps a tribute to the late Tina Turner with We Don’t Need Another Hero would have been a nice touch. But that is being nitpicky and understanding very well a show like this isn’t easy to change on the spot.
The encore is nothing short of incredible, with hit after hit following each other. After nearly two hours of non-stop performance, Ghost leaves us with a once in a lifetime experience.
What a truly impressive and amazing show!
Read more reviews here!