By Blake Drinen
From the swift opening of the curtain to their triumphant closing number, Ghost held the audience’s attention with a sense of ease that appeared so effortless, leaving me utterly speechless. Dropping in at the Aragon Ballroom Thursday night as a part of their “A Pale Tour Named Death,” the Sweden-based rock group gave a wickedly fun performance that not only proved accessible to newcomers but also lovingly paid tribute to their long-time fans as well.
Going in, I had heard very little of Ghost’s discography, and therefore, my expectations remained a bit unsure of where exactly they should sit. The decision to perform without an opener appeared rather bold and right at 7:00 PM, the group jumped right into a bombastic and visually-striking rendition of “Ashes” without hesitation. From there, the energy never seemed to die off, with the crowd, sprawled out within almost every inch of the venue itself, wholly engrossed by the operatics of songs such as “Idolatrine” and “Devil Church.” Operatic seems to me like the best word to describe the very essence of a Ghost concert. From using the backdrop of a gothic cathedral to the costuming of lead singer Tobias Forge along with fellow bandmates, their show reads very much along the lines of an experience akin to Rocky Horror Picture Show rather than a traditional concert. In response, the audience’s involvement proved abundantly enthusiastic and fans of all ages turned up and dolled out their support in spades.
Even with a fifteen-minute intermission, the audience’s energy refused to slip away, with everyone on the floor buzzing with anxious excitement as they eagerly awaited the band’s return. Bursting back on stage with “Spirit” and “From the Pinnacle to the Pit,” Forge and company proved they were not ready to call it a night for a good while, charging on with fan favorites, “If You Have Ghosts” and ending the main set with perhaps one of their biggest hits, “Square Hammer.”
As the lights dimmed and the show seemingly reached its ultimate conclusion, Ghost, exhibiting just how well they can read an audience, came out one final time to perform an utterly rousing rendition of “Monstrance Clock.” A beautiful capstone for the show itself, what I realized in the final moments is just how much they took me by surprise within their two-and-a-half long set. Even going in hardly knowing anything about the group, Ghost’s show still proved wildly enjoyable, and to see an audience so utterly swept up by their music was a treat as well. It seems feels so rare nowadays to be able to attend a concert and know nothing about the group due to instant availability of their music on streaming platforms. However, I still remain quite glad about not familiarizing myself with their catalog beforehand, as I believe doing so made the night just that much more memorable. If you know little about Ghost and they arrive in your area, considering giving “A Pale Tour Named Death” a whirl. It is a show I wholeheartedly recommend experiencing.