May 14th was a warm evening in Silver Spring, a suburb of Washington D.C. As it grew dark, many black-clad fans of all ages made their way into The Fillmore, one of the larger venues in the area, under a marquee that glowed “Ghost – 8PM.”
After two opening acts that spanned the gap between punk and blues, Ghost was set to take the stae at 10:30 PM. The crowd chanted “Papa…Papa…Papa” in unison in hopes to usher the arrival of Ghost’s ominous frontman, known simply as Papa Emeritus II, and his band of “Nameless Ghouls.” The band took their time before getting onstage. While the stage crew was setting up, incense was lit, and Gregorian chants played over the PA, showing an exquisite attention to detail that is unheard of at most other live performances.
When the band finally took the stage, the crowd went wild. Ghost embodies theatrics. Papa Emeritus II dons his famous corpse paint, with a black pope-ensemble, complete with a scepter emblazoned with the band’s logo. His band of Nameless Ghouls each match entirely in costumed robes of black, complete with shiny black masks. The whole band matches, even down to the shoes they wear onstage. The backdrop consists of soaring banners resembling the stained glass in a cathedral, and the drummer and keyboardist are set back on imitation stone platforms.
The visual aspect of the band was quite a sight to behold, but the musical performance was on-par as well. The band soared through a 15 song set of theatrical metal, that included such hits as “Elizabeth” and “Year Zero.” The band fed off the energy of the crowd, and though their outfits conjured images of a holy cult, their performance had the energy expected of any live metal show. After their set ended, they returned to the stage for an impressive two-song encore that ended a night that will surely be forever emblazoned into the minds of their fans. Seeing a Ghost live show is truly a unique experience.
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I am a music photographer and journalist, currently located in the Baltimore/D.C. area. I own Monster Moments photography and my work has been published in ads and magazines both in the US and internationally.