Ghost Performs their First Ritual in Rhode Island – September 12, 2022
After more than a decade of performing rituals around the world, Ghost, now more popular than ever, made their first stop in The Ocean State. Joining them on this tour are the legendary Mastodon, as well as the up-and-coming Canadian band Spiritbox.
The night started off with the Canadian metal band Spiritbox. These guys have been making a name for themselves lately, rising up while touring constantly. Vocalist Courtney LaPlante leads the band through a blistering set, as her voice goes through a full range of sounds, from deep, heavy screams, to almost angelic high tones. The songs “Yellowjacket” and “Holy Roller” seemed to be fan favorites tonight. The arena was still filling up as they played, but the fans who got there early were treated to a great performance. Spiritbox is a band worth keeping your eye on, as I’m sure there will be many more chances to see them.
Atlanta’s Mastodon has been bringing their distinctive sound to the masses for over twenty years now! Mastodon’s performances have always had more focus on the music and the atmosphere, rather than the members of the band. With that in mind, you don’t find a lot of spot lights on these world class musicians. Instead, they performed in front of wall-to-wall video screens, with various spacey or psychedelic videos playing behind them. Troy, Brent, Bill and Brann never disappoint, powering through 11 tracks of melodic, heavy music, full of prog-rock inspired time signature changes, and complex guitar work.
It’s been just about a year since we last caught them in New England. Last time they came around, their eighth album, Hushed and Grim, had just been released. A year later, the songs off that album are now even more well oiled, and blend in seamlessly with the rest of their catalog. There was still plenty of classic songs in their set, with 2004’s “Megalodon” being a highlight.
It’s amazing to think that one of Ghost’s first US tours, back in 2012, was opening up for the co-headlining tour of Mastodon and Opeth. Now, a decade later, Ghost is topping the bill, and night after night delivers amazing performances that has earned them this spot.
Opening with “Kaisarion,” the band exploded onto the stage as the curtain fell. They then went straight into a thunderous performance of “Rats,” off of 2018’s Meliora. Papa and his nameless ghouls seemed delighted to finally be performing in Rhode Island, with Papa remarking “It seems to be a lovely island!” During a guitar duel between the two ghoul guitar players, one of them included the theme song from “Family Guy,” which is arguably the most well known piece of pop culture set in the Ocean State.
Ghost’s fifth album, Impera, was released earlier this year, marking their first album with frontman Papa Emeritus IV in the driving seat. Of course this wasn’t Papa IV’s first album, just his first since achieving the rank of Papa, as he led the previously mentioned Prequelle while still a Cardinal. Naturally, there was a heavy focus on his material, with about half of the band’s 19 songs coming off of those two albums. In fact, the first seven songs of the show were all off these two albums, before bringing things back to the beginning with “Ritual.” For many, like myself, who had a chance to see Ghost perform on their first album cycle, “Ritual” was the song that really hooked the audiences, and is always a treat to see performed.
With falling confetti and dollar bills during “Mummy Dust,” the resurrection of Papa Nihl to perform a sax solo in “Miasma,” and show stopping pyro displays during “Year Zero,” not a moment goes by that Ghost isn’t entertaining audiences. A highlight for many came when they performed “Mary on the Cross,” off of Papa Nihl’s Seven Inches of Satanic Panic EP, as the song has recently gone viral on TikTok. There was a noticeably younger-sounding cheer that erupted from the crowd as they started the song.
Unfortunately, the show eventually has to come to an end. The band came to the stage for an encore of what Papa Emeritus IV promised was 3 more songs. After the third of those songs, the colorful and confetti-filled “Dance Macabre,” Papa asked if they should play one more song. The audience roared, and he said “We’ll play one more song, under the condition that after this FOURTH song, you all get the fuck out of here!” The audience agreed, and was treated with one final song, the impossible to not sing along to “Square Hammer.”
When Ghost came around last winter, they were co-headlining with the always great Volbeat. I remarked at that show that the audience made it feel like a Ghost concert with Volbeat supporting. This time around, the band has shown that they are capable of headlining arenas. While the show wasn’t sold out, the more than 2/3rds full arena was delighted to welcome the band to Rhode Island, and hopefully we won’t have to wait another decade until their next stop here!