You all know that I am not a Ghost fan. Well, that being said, what I am a fan of is people who are passionate about a band regardless of what I think about them. My good buddy Eric Layton recently attended a sold out Ghost performance in Atlanta, GA and when he asked me if he could write a review, who was I to say “no”? This is a fantastic interview and I’m so happy that Eric got to witness such an amazing show from one of his favorite bands and that he chose to share it here with us. Take it away Eric!
June 10th, 2017
Review by Eric Layton
On Saturday, June 10th, I witnessed history. One of the best venues in Atlanta allowed Ghost to use pyrotechnics in the hallowed halls on Luckie Street. They are the first band to do so, and it led to one of the most amazing shows I have seen. The show was announced in late March, as an off day for the band who are currently opening for the legendary Iron Maiden. I bought my tickets, but for the first time was a little ambivalent towards going. I have experienced 6 rituals, 4 of which have not been drastically different from each other, but they were in town so I had to go. Then it happened. The lawsuit. The unmasking. The veil was lifted and the reveal was less than pretty. These factors really drowned my excitement for the show; it brought the realization that the “Solo Project” was a dirty corporation that treated the freelancers like shit, and failed to pay them for their contributions to the music that I love so much.
Saturday rolls around and I head to the venue with my wife, and we meet up with my friend who was going to experience ritual for the first time. We were in line and I see tons of people heading in to the venue early for the VIP experience (Meet and Greet and some exclusive merch), and it further drove home my disdain. I know from experience that these are around $250, and there had to be at least 50, if not closer to 75 people there. “Ghost not making a profit…My Ass!” I thought.
Once in the venue we suffered through the opening act of Royal Thunder from here in Atlanta, for about 45 minutes. We were able to work our way to the front by this time, and I was beginning to get anxious. How would the new band be? Would the show be another rehash of the show I saw in November? Why did I waste my money? The lights dimmed and and the Ghouls took the stage. From that moment on, my doubts and fears were cast aside as this new band played with an energy I have never seen before. Papa took the stage and owned every inch of it, choosing when to share it with the Ghouls, applauding their performance, and asking the audience to as well. The new band was a choreographed machine, never missing a beat, hitting every mark, and really responding to the crowd’s excitement. I can honestly say, I have never been to a show and experienced this much excitement and energy, from both the crowd and the band. It was truly electric.The setlist was the exact same as the last show I saw, but as I have said after every Ritual,”These guys continually get better and better; each show is better than the last.”
After the show we waited by the buses to try and get some autographs. I met the 2016 incarnation of the band in Knoxville, and had a great time after the show, as many of them commented on my Tribulation and In Solitude Patches. I was hoping to share this experience with my wife and friend. We were able to meet Papa and two of the Ghouls, Fire and Aether. They were as nice and genuine as they could be, spending time, talking to each fan there, shaking hands, offering hugs, and signing autographs. Fire confirmed my thoughts, saying, “I know you guys think I say this at every show, but tonight really was the best show we have played so far on the tour.” This sentiment was confirmed on Instagram, as @thebandghost thanked Atlanta for the best show yet.
I have contemplated the events prior to and post show and have come to this conclusion: if Tobias owes people money, he should pay them. But is it wrong for him to call this his solo project? I don’t think so. If the stories are true about how he recorded the first few demos, playing all the instruments and singing, how is that different from Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters’ first record? How is him telling people that it is his solo project any different than Dave Mustaine and Scott Ian having the same mindset about their respective bands? Ghost is just able to interchange the members in a more seamless fashion, without drawing the ire from every metal blogger on the net speculating why and who are the replacements going to be and comparing the replacements to the “originals”.
Never has there been a band more polarizing than Ghost. You love them or hate them, much like our current political climate, (Papa had a No Trump button on his jacket; one more reason to like the guy). So in the end, I was so glad I went. My throat was sore the entire next day from singing along to the songs of Satan, with a new family of Ghouls. If you have never been to a show, try to see one; I promise you won’t be disappointed. It will not be as special as what happened in Atlanta on Saturday, but if history repeats itself, there’s a chance it could even be better.