The faithful gathered one for one last ritual on the final night of Ghost’s Popestar Tour 2016. Ready to embrace the spectacle, be enlightened, and indoctrinated by sacred services, fans gathered at the stunning Kings Theatre in Flatbush Brooklyn, renovated to a level of opulence befitting of this epic show.
Kings is a great recent addition to the New York concert venue landscape. A classic old movie house lovingly remade with all of its splendor intact and all of the modern bells and whistle enough for any style of music. The place was gorgeous and the sound from anywhere in the house was immaculate. From what I could tell there was nary a bad sightline either. We will return to this place again and again.
Unlucky for the Ghost Cult crew this evening, we missed pop chanteuse Marissa Nadler’s opening performance because New York traffic- fuck you, that’s why. I love my hometown, but damn. As we filled into position the impressive crowd listened to the intro music as smoke-filled the venue. Some fans were dressed as band members or their beloved leader, others as nuns and priests, but most wore a regular rock fans natural dress. Ghost really is the gateway of escapism, even more than usual for this genre. The massive stage set with ramps and steps reminded me of Metallica’s classic Master Of Puppets stage riser and the backdrop of unholy art and sigils was much more awe-inspiring up close in the dark than when I saw it outdoors for Rock Allegiance Festival.
Finally, the band entered one at a time and began to perform the recent single ‘Square Hammer’ to a cheer! It was great to hear the entire crowd sing back the words to Papa Emeritus III. Papa, decked out in his full papal dress was magnificent. Strong in voice, mesmerizing as a performer; he had everyone transfixed on him. My head was spinning a bit from the awesomeness.
They smashed the crowd with hit after hit ,really cementing how deep this band can go with their catalogue in only a few short years. From ‘The Pinnacle To The Pit’, and ‘Secular Haze’ were creepy, heavy, and well executed. So much attention goes to Papa that I think people forget what a bunch of top-notch players The Nameless Ghouls are. Each one perfectly in their zone, enrapt in the moment and free to wail on their respective instruments 5(Wind) for instance, is actually one of the finer keyboardists in heavy music right now.
Later in the set, Papa returned to his usual tuxedoed self, looking dapper and charming. As great as the music was, the spectacle of the performance: fire, mood lighting, smoke plumes, confetti cannons 666 denominational dollar bills, Sister’s Of Sin giving out communion wafers to the front row, made this the Ghost performance I have been waiting for. The perfect combination of visual spectacle and musical genius, with a crowd ready to receive the word from his eminence. Other highlights of the night included ‘Body and Blood’, ‘Devil Church/Cirice’, ‘Year Zero’, ‘He Is’, ‘Mummy Dust’, ‘Ghuleh/Zombie Queen’, ‘Ritual’, and the usual closing number, ‘Monstrance Clock’.
The band was tight and I was right up front, catching every nuance of the show. We sang, we danced, and some even cried a little. We await you Papa Emeritus IV, and new Ghost music in 2017. In the meantime, check out some more photos from the show by Lisa Schuchmann for Ghost Cult.
WORDS BY KEITH CHACHKES
PHOTOS BY LISA SCHUCHMANN