The Grammy winning Swedish metal band Ghost made the first of its three Southern California appearances at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium (RMA) in Riverside, California on Tuesday, October 18th with their Popestar tour. Once I arrived to my destination I noticed the fans formed a line around the block waiting for the doors to open, it was very entertaining to see the fans of all ages in face makeup like Papa Emeritus lll, and the younger fans wearing masks of the Nameless Ghouls.
They say curiosity kills the cat… well, I was curious to see what all the hype was about. I didn’t know what to expect of Ghost – whatever expectations I had was immediately smashed, this show was phenomenal. If you are unaware of their Satanic beliefs, you get the opposite impression as the backdrop looks like the church’s stained-glass windows, the covering on the stage looks like a marble floor to frontman Papa Emeritus lll attire, but don’t be fooled! There are visible signs this is not the norm, maybe that’s what the devil does distracts you from your well-being.
It’s 9:00 PM and the lights start to dim, as you hear the introduction anthem Miserere Mel, Deus playing, feeling like I was at Christmas Eve Mass, incense fill the air with nice calming music, followed by Masked Ball, as the altar boys uncover the drums and keyboards, the fans are starting to get restless, taking in the atmosphere. I turn to check the crowd, two fans with the Nameless Ghoul masks are standing front and center. The lights go down the cheers rise as the five Nameless Ghouls appear on stage (Alpha, Water, Wind, Earth, Omega) opening with Square Hammer. As I’m photographing the bassist – Water, the fans’ cheers erupt to volume pitch, as I see an arm rise there he is, in all his glory the “evil pope” Papa Emeritus lll dressed in his miter and papal robe standing on the top tier of the stage, following with From the Pinnacle to the Pit then Secular Haze.
In Ghosts‘ eight years of existence and the release of three albums they have formed a giant following, Papa and the Nameless Ghouls own the stage with their mesmerizing presence, Papa engaging the audience with hand gestures like he is conducting an orchestra. Swinging back and forth the thurible filling the stage with incense for Con Clavi Con Dio to the humorous side with sayings ˋCan you Dig Itˋ and ˋParty Onˊ as two nuns’ (sisters of sin) ready to pass out unholy communion for Body and Blood. After an instrumental by the five Nameless Ghouls of Devils Church, Papa Emeritus lll re-appears in a black suit and slicked back hair, transitioning into the Grammy Award Winning song Cirice.
Is Ghost for real with their beliefs? That’s up to one’s interruption, they covered all the fan favorites from their discography, the musicianship is superb, the stage decorations, lighting, humor, the canons blowing silver and gold confetti with Ghost dollars over the fans during Mummy Dust. The energy from the capacity crowd was through the roof, fans crowd surfing and the nonstop fist pumping the horns and singing every word for ninety minutes. Would I see Ghost again? You wouldn’t have to ask me twice!!!
As Ghost re-enters the stage for the encore, Papa is going to give us a lesson, as he sits down explaining that the last song is always the same. “For hundreds of years, thousands of years, the female orgasm, even today in stupid, feeble minded society the female orgasm is regarded as a craft of the devil. What do you think California?? So, in here we celebrate the female orgasm, sing the last song with us, sing it loud and clear, a song to celebrate the female orgasm in the name of Satan.”
“This last song describes as one such female orgasm how it’s achieved” Monstrance Clock.
Don’t miss this show when it comes to your town.
Miserere Mei, Deus (Intro)
Masked Ball (Intro)
From the Pinnacle to the Pit
Stand by Him
Con Clavi Con Dio
Per Aspera ad Inferi
Body and Blood
All photos by Tammy Greene
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