Papa Emeritus and his gang of nameless ghouls stopped by San Francisco last night to bring their live performance — what they refer to as a “ritual” — to a packed audience at the Warfield. If you’ve never seen a Ghost performance, it’s worth checking out at least once. The costumes, set design and dramatic performances make the show look more like a modern day opera than a heavy metal concert, which brings it to a level of entertainment that is rarely seen in music today.
Last night, after what seemed like an eternity waiting for the band to come on the stage, the audience was welcomed by Papa Emeritus sporting his trademark satin gown, upside down cross embroidered miter, and skeletal facemask, along with his herd of nameless ghouls as the backup band. The place went wild for him, and the show kicked off with “Metal Hammer,” which had everyone rising to their feet and singing passionately along to its lyrics.
One interesting thing to note about Ghost is that the music doesn’t always match the look. When you see this band live the devilish masks and somber makeup would have you thinking this is a Death Metal band complete with growls and high-speed drum blast beats. It couldn’t be further from what comes out of them. The music is quite tame and very melodic. Think 70s rock bands like Blue Oyster Cult or Merciful Fate.
Throughout the show, both Ghouls and Papa brought a lot of energy running back and forth across the stage, regularly connecting with the audience before them. Papa was in fine form peppering witty comments in between each song, adding some humor to what could be perceived as the resurrection of the Antichrist.
At the end of the ritual, what more can be said than it was a fine performance by a band that to some may be seen as scary — but to others who see the humor in it all — a memorable act with some intriguing songs.
Photos by Louis Raphael Photography
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