Ghost and Volbeat Perform a Ritual in Worcester, MA – February 11, 2022
On a warmer-than-average Friday in February, thousands of heavy metal fans descended upon Worcester. After nearly two and a half years since their last New England performances, Ghost and Volbeat brought their co-headlining tour to the DCU Center. Kicking the night off was self-proclaimed “purveyors of Satanic doo-wop,” Twin Temple.
I knew nothing about Twin Temple before tonight. A band all dressed in black and red took the stage. As they started playing an instrumental, a man and woman walked down the catwalk while carrying swords in front of their faces. These were Alexandra and Zachary James, the high priests of Twin Temple. Alexandra had a big black beehive hairdo, giving the vibe of a goth version of the B-52s. I’m also sure I wouldn’t be the first to make comparisons between her and Amy Winehouse. They exchanged the swords for a bible and a bell, and Alexandra spoke to the crowd while reading from her book, speaking about how we were all gathered here in the name of Satan. After she performed her ritual, they kicked into a song. From the looks, you’d likely expect heavy music, but they do, in fact, play doo-wop style. The music feels plucked right out of the 50’s, but with songs like “Let’s Have a Satanic Orgy,” “Satan’s a Woman,” and “I’m Wicked.”
It was an interesting performance. They certainly have a unique gimmick going for them, and while I get the pairing with Ghost, some of it felt a little redundant for what would come later in the night. If you’re looking for a Satanic doo-wop band, I can’t imagine there being one better than Twin Temple. Alexandra’s vocals were great, and the band was solid. Their sax player really helps get this vintage sound, and he even came down the catwalk later in their short set to take a solo.
The very first show we ever covered on this website was Volbeat at The Paradise in Boston, way back in 2011. In the 11 years since then, their popularity has exploded, and they’ve played progressively larger shows. This well deserved growth has been great to see.
As the curtain dropped, and they kicked into “Seal the Deal,” the crowd went wild. Frontman Michael Poulsen came to the microphone at the end of the catwalk, where it was impossible not to feel the energy of the crowd surrounding you. Their setlist was heavily focused on newer material, with 14 of the 16 songs coming off of their last 4 albums, leaving space for only 2 songs to be played from their first 4 albums. Some of the longtime fans were disappointed to not hear more of their older material, but these recent albums are the ones that have found them more success, so it’s not a surprise. One classic song that always gets a good reaction is “Sad Man’s Tongue,” which for a long time they’ve been introducing with a portion of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”
Volbeat released Servant of the Mind this past December, and given the reaction to songs like “Becoming” and “Shotgun Blues,” their popularity does not seem to be slowing down. The song “Wait a Minute my Girl” features a saxophone solo in the middle, and sure enough, a sax player and a piano player suddenly rose up from the middle of the catwalk during the solo. They appeared again for another song later in the set. Had Ghost decided to play “Miasma” in their set, we could have had a sax solo in all three bands, but alas, we had to make do with only two sax players tonight.
The band sounded great, with Poulsen’s voice sounding very strong. Guitarist Rob Caggiano appeared to be having a blast, as he always does, while bassist Kaspar Boye Larsen and drummer Jon Larsen (no relation) held down the rhythm section. Whether you like the newer material or not, Volbeat is always tight, and always puts on a great show. They closed off their show with “Still Counting,” always a fan favorite, leaving people ready for the band to return on a future tour!
Seal the Deal
Pelvis on Fire
Say No More
Ring of Fire / Sad Man’s Tongue
Dead but Rising @Info[Tour debut]
Wait a Minute My Girl
The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
The Devil Rages On
The Sacred Stones
Die to Live
Like Volbeat, we’ve been covering Ghost for a long time, and seen their growth. Back in 2013, they came to Royale in Boston, while supporting their second album. We saw them come back supporting bands like Avenged Sevenfold and Iron Maiden, we’ve seen them headline venues like the House of Blues, up to now, when they are a bonafide arena rock band. Elaborate production, costuming, pyrotechnics, all make for a great visual show, and of course the band has the goods to back it up.
The band opened with a brand new song, “Kaisarion,” off their upcoming album Impera. The only way to hear this song currently is by preordering the album at the show. You’ve got to feel pretty confident about a song that nobody has heard to use it as your opener, and I gotta say, I liked what I heard. I’m certainly looking forward to the album’s release next month. They followed up with the one-two punch of “Rats” and “From the Pinnacle to the Pit.” One of the things that I’ve always loved about Ghost is their monster bass tone, and that’s on full display in “Pinnacle,” started off by the bass player at the end of the catwalk.
Similar to Volbeat, Ghost only played two songs off their first two albums, but they’re both fan favorites that get huge responses, “Ritual” and “Year Zero.” The final chorus of “Year Zero” was punctuated by huge blasts of pyro behind the stage.
Toward the end of the song “Mummy Dust,” confetti cannons went off, launching not just confetti, but 666 dollar bills with Papa’s face on them. Confetti again was launched during “Dance Macabre,” which had very colorful lighting throughout.
In their final trio of songs, Ghost played their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” which they recently recorded for Metallica’s Blacklist compilation. The crowd loved it. As much as the original song has been overplayed, the chorus is one of those arena rock, sing-a-long classics, so it fits in great with Ghost as they are.
As Ghost has evolved over the years, the number of band members has grown. Frontman Papa Emeritus IV sounds great, leading the charge, but his army of nameless ghouls now includes keyboard players, percussionists, and backup singers. I remember on the Infestissumam tour being bummed out by the pre-recorded vocals on “Year Zero,” so it’s great to have background vocals actually being sung throughout the show now.
Though this was a co-headlining tour, it felt very much like the evening was a Ghost show. Both bands played for the same length of time, and put on great performances, but if you looked at the reaction of the audience, when people were sitting, singing, and what they were wearing, the crowd definitely skewed toward Ghost. With the amazing growth they’ve had over the last decade, I can’t wait to see what tricks they have in store for us next!
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
Mary on a Cross