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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

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Ghosts’ “Re-Imperatour” (Concert Review)

Wilson experienced her first concert earlier this month at Ghosts’ ritual
A large screen captures Tobias Forge in his vestments and mitre cap during Ghost’s performance of “Year Zero.”

The Swedish rock band Ghost visited the United States in early August for their “Re-Imperatour” that featured shows ranging from the east to the west coast. As the name implies, the tour revisited their Impera album that was released March of last year. Tobias Forge, leader of Ghost, portrays the character of Papa Emeritus IV alongside hired musicians that are called Nameless Ghouls. Forges concept of Ghost is a complex one that explores religion and the humanities through dark lyricism and a striking theatrical stage presence.

Having been a die-hard fan of Ghost for almost two years now, I was determined to see them before their next tour. With that sentiment, I bought tickets for my boyfriend and I to attend the ritual (which is a term the band uses for their concerts) Sunday, Sept. 2 in The Woodlands, TX. This not only was my first ritual but my first concert, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. 

After driving six hours down to Houston, we got free parking and had a five-minute walk to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. It was around 100ºF in Houston and most fans were dressed in costumes and all black, which made the heat far worse. Fortunately, the venue offered a way to beat the heat with an air-conditioned lounge that sold food, beverages, and a merchandise stand. The lines to the merchandise stand were deceivingly long and crowded the lounge, however the lines moved quickly, and I left with two new tour shirts.  

Ghost didn’t play until around 9 p.m. but had a Swedish death metal band called Amon Amarth to open for them at 7:30 p.m. I believe their performance could have been better had it been darker to see their stage effects as it was still bright outside most of their show. They referenced Norse mythology often and even had a scene of Thor defeating the world serpent. Amon Amarth set the mood perfectly for Ghost with fan interaction and theatrics going as far as to encourage the crowd to start “rowing” in their song “Put Your Back Into The Oar.”  

As the atmosphere darkened, a white sheet was draped over the stage to conceal the stage background that was being set up. A blue light highlighted the stage while “Imperium,” the prelude to Impera, started playing causing the crowd to roar in excitement. As the song reached its end, a spotlight illuminated a Ghoul behind the sheet who began the song “Kaisarion.” A queue of background vocals and proximate pyrotechnics went off resulting in the sheet falling that revealed the band in a dramatic and exciting way.  

The rest of that night was filled with rhythmic and elaborate lighting that bounced off the gothic arches in the background and pierced through fog across the stage. Even those who weren’t close to the stage could notice the effect the lighting had that captured many of Ghosts’ darker elements. Forge switched outfits throughout the show that paired well with each song’s message and themes while the Ghouls adorned latex masks with black vests and pants. His outfits included a few sparkly jackets, a bat winged jacket, vestments, and a mitre cap that has one of the band’s logos, a Grucifix.  

The venue’s sound quality was electric and melodic as Forge and the audience sang in unison. Forge’s versatile vocal range left chills down the spine as he sang high drawn-out notes and made deep growls that lingered. The Ghoulette’s background vocals were stunning and echoed throughout the pavilion, outdoing their studio album performances by a large margin. Ghost didn’t fall short with their powerful instrumental talent either, which included evocative guitar solos and riffs with fierce drumming in the background. The haunting notes of the keyboard were rare but effective each time as it resembled the sound that comes from an organ piano. Each song managed to rock the venue and left myself and fellow audience members headbanging and pumping our fists into the air. 

The set list consisted of twenty songs ranging from the Impera album to old Ghost classics such as “Ritual,” “Con Clavi Con Dio,” and “Year Zero.” The set list didn’t end there and featured many fan favorites like “Mary on a Cross,” “Square Hammer,” and “Dance Macabre.” The performance of each song left a lasting impact as they all had their own quirks and traits that defined them as unique. I found their heavier songs like “Mummy Dust” to be more enticing as they are what initially made me interested in the band. However, their range didn’t just stop there, some songs were more heartfelt such as “Respite on the Spitalfields” and “He Is.” Others were humorous like “Miasma” that rose a deceased frontman from the dead to have a saxophone solo. The variety of Ghosts’ music that night makes them memorable and fascinating, which I believe would have been a catalyst for many to become die-hard fans. 

I was impressed with Ghosts performance and fell even deeper in love with the band by the end of the night. Ghost’s complexity with their lyricism, instrumentation, and vocals is utterly unique and is a sight to see live. If you love a band that touches the darker concepts of religion with a dramatic stage presence while dabbling into various forms of rock and metal music, Ghost is totally a band that I recommend you’ll want to check out.


Hayla Wilson is a first-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Hayla Wilson
Hayla Wilson, Contributing Writer
Hayla is a first-year communication major from Chickasha. She is a member of the Comanche tribe and taught herself how to do native beadwork. Hayla loves making earrings and other types of jewelry while I listen to music and watch YouTube.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Sept. 2023 - present