The first time I saw Ghost live was back in 2013 when they were part of Jägermeister tour alongside Gojira and The Defiled. I knew of them but I haven’t heard any of their material before seeing them live. Ghost are known for their costumes and make up, their identities remain secret as they are all wearing masks. One of the security guys in the pit also mentioned they had a closed sound check so none of the venue staff could see them. Visually, the show is unusual and rather dramatic and everything from the stage set up, lighting and the outfits works in harmony with the music. Compared to 2013 at a glance their show doesn’t seem much different however the whole stage appearance just seems a bit more polished and well rehearsed.
As I stepped in at a last minute for another reviewer who couldn’t make it, I only arrived at the venue just as the support band Zombi was finishing their set so I can’t really comment on them. I’m not familiar with the band but the little bit I heard seemed a slightly odd choice to support Ghost, however that’s just my personal opinion as the crowd appeared to be enjoying what Zombi had to offer.
While I was waiting in the pit for Ghost, I had a quick look at the set list, very appropriately printed on black paper, that was taped on the stage floor so I was ready for ‘Square Hammer’ which was the opening song following a rather lengthy choral music intro when Papa Emeritus and his Nameless Ghouls finally took to the stage to a massive cheer from the packed O2 Academy Birmingham.
Without any breaks or communication with the audience the band swiftly moved on to ‘From The Pinnacle To The Pit’, ‘Secular Haze’ and ‘Con Clavi Con Dio’ engulfed in smoke and red lights that added even more dramatic impact and with the crowd singing along.
This was followed by equally superb Body & Blood, Devil Church, Grammy-winning Cirice and Year Zero. We were even treated to a confetti shower during Mummy Dust which seemed surprisingly cheerful touch for a band like Ghost.
O2 Academy is certainly not known for their amazing acoustics but it’s safe to say that Ghost gave it their all and it’s impressive to see a band playing so well especially as they’ve gone through some line up changes just recently. They are like a well oiled machine and whether you love them or hate them, no one can deny they put on a mind-blowing show. I know that they will be headlining Bloodstock festival later this year and I very much look forward to seeing them again.
Ghost Set list:
From The Pinnacle To The Pit
Con Clavi Con Dio
Per Aspera Ad Inferi
Body & Blood
Review and Photographs: Katja Ogrin