Some “stranger things” seemed to start occurring on this road trip immediately. Let me step back a bit. I love road trips and when I was asked to cover Ghost, I jumped at the chance. Ghost and the clergy put on an AMAZING show that will keep you in a mesmerized trance! Not sure if this has happened to anyone as they where heading out to see Ghost, but for me, this was a Stranger Things can happen road trip. Off to Fort Wayne, Indiana to a recently remodeled “The Clyde” theater, decked out and powered by Sweetwater Studios Theatre. So the 1st strange thing that started happening was once on the highway heading on out to Indiana my car started to drive a little strange, not a smooth ride, almost as if it really didn’t want to make this road trip… I’ve made a couple and yes things happen to vehicles, so I stopped did a once over and everything appeared fine. Continued on my way and the car was still driving oddly but for the love of music, I press on.
Since I was heading to Fort Wayne, IN I had to stop at the legendary GREAT Sweetwater Studios! What a great place, with great hospitality too. Oh and BTW the car made it, and I did a closer once over of my car (seemed OK). The Clyde Theatre wasn’t much further away, pulled in and at the 1st look didn’t seem like much almost looked like an old-time vintage movie theater. There were already a ton of people lined up out the front of the building and stretching done around to the back 4 hours before show time. Some ghoulish fans to say the least all to see the changing of the blood lead Ghost once again. In a recent turn of events, the leader of hottest metal acts around was replaced. Papa Emeritus III, long revered as the one that finally put the band over the top with a Grammy win in 2016, has relinquished power to newcomer Cardinal Copia. Now with Copia at the helm Ghost have their spirits reincarnated and positioned them to continue their worldwide dominance.
Once I entered the new renovated Clyde Theatre I was starting to see the work they’ve done and was impressed. Truly beautiful and electric was this venue. Once allowed into the stage area this venue was truly bigger then I imaged from the way the front of the building looked. So solid! Walking towards the stage (or should I say Pulpit) was like walking into the old scary churches in Chicago I remember as a kid. I don’t know why Catholic Churches use to always scare me as a kid. We (photographers) were getting settled into starting spots, while some dark 80’s Goth music was playing. Anticipation for the clergy was vastly surmounting, but the crowd seemed a little bit somber as they wait. Wait for the sound of the Clergy – Once the air was filled with the sounds of ritualistic classical musical masterpieces ‘Klara stiarnor’ and ‘Miserere Mei, Deus’ the crowd came to life. So hauntingly beautiful!
Fog machines started to spray out their mist, and the two classical pieces were replaced by ‘Ashes,’ a chilling spin on the nursery rhyme “Ashes to Ashes” off their new release Prequelle. Then the black backdrop windows of the Ghostly church morphed into stained glass, with demonic cherubs and an evil image of Papa Nihil, the devilish head of Ghost’s “church.” As ‘Ashes’ ended, the Nameless Ghouls took the stage, and the powerful riff of ‘Rats,’ (off Prequelle) filled the ears of the congregation as the new front man Cardinal Copia took the stage. Although, this is still Tobias Forge, the man behind the skulls of Papa Emeritus I, II, and III, but Cardinal Copia is an entirely different demon. The thought of Ghost’s revolving door of frontmen must lead to some doubt, and it is odd to see the iconic Satanic image of Emeritus replaced, but believe me, what they may have lost in imagery, they’ve gained with quite a presence in their new leader.
As the fog cleared and the sounds of the crowd died The band followed up with two of their biggest releases, ‘Absolution’ and “Ritual,” the crowd was treated to Ghost’s unique brand of metal Satanism. The stage was showered in red as the powerful, screeching guitars of ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’ the Cardinal emerged, (momentarily left the stage) now dressed in his full Cardinal attire. I’ll tell you. Some may joke or doubt Ghost, and what they do, but it is such an intense sight to see a Priestly Satanic Cardinal with so much power over his congregation of Ghostly disciples while you have a stage full of Nameless Ghouls thoroughly rocking everyone with their sinister wicked music.
The show was broken down into two acts lasting well over two hours. The crowd seemed to be caught in a trance or becoming mesmerized by the show. Or perhaps Cardinal Copia was casting some of his ghastly, evil spells over us all, but this was one incredible show. The band did not disappoint with a special guest appearance by Papa Nihil himself performing a sax solo on ‘Miasma’. It was electric and the crowd was caught in this web that the clergy had cast over us all.
However, my stranger things night continues. The show was astounding. For me, as I was leaving the venue with a little extra hop in my step. It just happens after I see a great show. I was on my way home… Car is still a mess at this point and now getting worse. I stopped at a gas station/garage that had a couple guys hanging out and they couldn’t find what was wrong. My thought “Just get me home and I’ll take care of it tomorrow”, and my wish was almost granted. I got within 6 miles from my house and I had a tire blow out. Luckily no one hurt and no damage to the car (except the tire). Odd to drive over 400 miles and then I have a blow out 6 miles from my home. That’s not all.
The next day after getting my tire replaced I went to look at the images from the show. Nothing, camera is dead. My memory cards aren’t accessible so I can’t see any images. I couldn’t explain it, took it into the shop, they got the camera to boot back up, and actually recovered the images for me. So crazy to say the least, but I know not to strange, just my camera has never done this before. I don’t know if it’s the Light or the Dark of if you even believe, or where you stand on which is Light and which is Dark. All I know is something bad could’ve happen to me, but by the grace of _________________ (Whatever) – There go I. The article that almost never was.
- Con Clavi Con Dio
- Per Aspera ad Inferi
- Devil Church
- Stand by Him
- Miasma (Papa Nhil on sax solo)
- Jigolo Har Megiddo
- Pro Memoria
- Deus in Absentia
- From the Pinnacle to the Pit
- Year Zero
- He Is
- Prime Mover
- Mummy Dust
- If You Have Ghosts (Roky Erickson cover)
- Dance Macabre
- Square Hammer
- Monstrance Clock
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY RICK TRIANA