2018 has been an emotional rollercoaster for Ghost fans. With their Meliora album cycle wrapping up in September of 2017, Papa Emeritus III was abruptly kidnapped off of the stage during his final performance making room for Papa Nil who wobbled onto the stage declaring that “the party is over the middle age is now beginning”. Fans were left in the dark wondering what this all meant, was Papa Nil going to be the next Papa? How come Papa III was yanked off the stage instead of having a traditional ‘changing of the Papas’ ceremony?
By the time the New Year rolled around, Ghost announced their Rats On The Road Spring Tour but was still very hush about what happened to Papa III. Around March, the band started to fill us in as they slowly released 3 videos explaining what has been going on. The first video informed us that unlike previous Papas, the new leader of Ghost would not be part of the Emeritus bloodline. In the second video we were introduced to Cardinal Copia, who apparently holds the second most employee of the month awards. The final video explained what happened to Papa III and his brothers, and to the horror of many, it turns out Papa I, II & III were all killed by their father so that they could be put on display for VIP ticket holders during the band’s Rats On The Road Spring Tour.
I had purchased my VIP package before the videos were released not realizing that not only would I get to meet Cardinal Copia, but I’d have the chance to see the Papa costumes up close as well. It was a bit shocking to enter the Veneration Of Relics and see all 3 Papas lying in glass boxes, the same way the popes are on display in the Vatican – but then again, it’s Ghost. I should have seen that one coming. Once the initial shock wore off I finally had the chance to take a closer look at the costumes. It was awesome to see the details of Papa III’s outfit up close, the pictures I took definitely don’t do it justice. Every time I write about Ghost on here I mention how I appreciate all of the hard work that the man behind Ghost puts into their extensive tour schedule and performances, and seeing the wear & tear on the costumes really solidified how dedicated he is to his art.
Leading up to this tour, a good chunk of fans seemed to have been a bit hesitant about Cardinal Copia, but rest assured that he is a lot of fun to see live. He might not have his skull paint yet, but he sure knows how to work a crowd. Think of him like a sassier and more sinister Papa III with even more costume changes.
Ghost played for about 2.5hrs with a 15-minute intermission between the set. Opening up the night the band filed out onto the stage to ‘Ashes’, the first track off of their upcoming album Prequelle, before diving into their new single ‘Rats’. Since the album doesn’t hit stores until June 1st, fans were treated to quite a few unreleased songs; one of which included Papa Nil being wheeled out onto stage in a wheelchair to perform a Saxophone solo. Along with the new tunes, old fan favourites such as ‘Prime Mover’, ‘If You Have Ghost’, and ‘Jigolo Har Megiddo’ made its way back onto the setlist, while songs like ‘Deus in Absentia’ finally had it’s live North American debut. The concert itself was a special experience, and as always every detail was taken care of. From the new costumes and stage design down to the finer details in the actual performance, everything was covered. The songs sounded a lot richer this time around with the added ghouls playing new various instruments live and doing backup vocals. It was a very nice change to what we were used to getting from Ghost. My friends and I often got stuck watching the new Ghulehs live as they would be dancing and engaging with the crowd from behind their keyboards. You could tell that they were having a ball up there. As the night came to a close, Cardinal Copia kept the tradition of ending the set with ‘Monstance Clock’.
If you have the chance to catch Ghost’s Rats On The Road tour please do yourself a favour and go check it out. I have a feeling this will be one of few chances left for people to catch them in a more intimate venue. This tour was truly the complete package for any Ghost fan and was well worth the 4hr drive from Toronto.
Ghost’s new album ‘Prequelle’ will be available June 1st worldwide, which you can pre-order here. Also be sure to check out our friends over at Children of Ghost to stay on top of everything Ghost related!