Yes, There are Ghost(s) in Ybor City

By on October 15, 2015
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(Photo-Travis Failey)

On Sunday night in Tampa, Ghost, (formerly known as Ghost B.C. in the US), performed at the Ritz in historic Ybor City during the North American and European “Black to the Future” Tour. It was the perfect collaboration of venue and artist, as The Ritz has a gothic mystique all its own and has been a staple in the community since 1917. The Ritz has been called many different names throughout the years (Masquerade for one) and its gone through its fair share of different owners, but one thing has remained, it’s the best venue for live music in Ybor City.

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

I wasn’t sure what kind of crowd to expect for a Ghost show on a Sunday night, but their fans and curious observers packed the Ritz. From the rail to the side walls and back throughout the balcony, movement was limited as the fans were shoulder to shoulder. There were women who were dressed as nuns and various other characters out of the book of Revelations.  You could cut the anticipation with a knife when the lights went down.

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The musicians, know as Nameless Ghouls, with their silver masks and horns, took the stage behind their fearless frontman, Anti-Pope, and lead singer, Papa Emeritus III, and opened with “Spirit” from their third studio album, Meliora. The Nameless Ghouls are said to represent one of the five elements: fire, water, wind, earth and ether. As you may or may not know, the band member’s identities have remained secret, which truly is a difficult task in this day and age of social media.  Papa III wore his trademark gold mitre, skull mask, black and purple papal robes, while traversing the stage from one end to another. It became clear from the very first song, that this wasn’t your average run of the mill concert, this was a theatrical performance.

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

As Ghost performed the single from “Pinnacle to the Pit,” their influences and talent became more evident. The six piece from Sweden filled the room with pounding drum beats, symphonic keyboard tones, mixed with metal and classical guitar riffs. A blender of sounds bounced off the walls of the Ritz while bands like Styx, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, and local legends, Savatage, kept coming into my head. While Ghost’s lyrics are patently Satanic, the band has stated that their image is all “tongue-in-cheek.”

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

During their 19 song set, Papa III not only sung throughout but was also the choreographer/ringmaster of the stage and the crowd. The fans looked at Papa III in reverence like he was their savior for the evening while he performed a ceremony with the “Sisters of Sin” by passing out communion during “Body of Blood.” It was shock rock in the vein of Marilyn Manson or Alice Cooper, and it worked. Ghost is a must-see band if you are a fan of horror movies and music.

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

The theme would change a bit at the halfway point of their set when Papa III changed out of his robes and into a black suit coat with tails, while the crowd screamed for more Ghost. The show took a more pronounced opera-like sound during “Year Zero” and “He Is.” The Nameless Ghouls and Papa III joined together in the middle of the stage during “He Is” and proved to the crowd that the band isn’t just a gimmick, but consists of talented musicians performing anthem rock material as the crowd sang along. They also broke out a keytar during my personal favorite song of the night, “Mummy Dust.”

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

Ghost also changed things up during their set with a catchy surf rock track in “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen” and even more with the Roky Erickson cover, “If You Have Ghosts.I wasn’t thrilled with this song, as I didn’t think it fit with the rest of their set, but it’s a fan favorite that was produced by Dave Grohl in 2013.

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

Ghost closed the night with “Monstrous Clock.” That song’s beginning is somewhat reminiscent of Alice Cooper’s “Welcome to My Nightmare,” but the tune continued with a more up-tempo unifying beat to lead the crowd out of the Ritz and into the streets of Ybor City. Ghost posted on FB the next day, “Children of Tampa! Thank you all for making our first evening together such a memorable one. We think that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. / A Nameless Ghoul”

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

Ghost at the Ritz in Ybor City was a sight and sound spectacle and I asked many in the crowd if they thought Ghost would be this big without their hidden identity “gimmick.” Some said yes, while others said no, but in the end, does it really matter if you are being thoroughly entertained? I don’t think so.

For tour dates and other information: http://ghost-official.com/

More Photos & Setlist

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

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(Photo-Travis Failey)

Setlist:

  • Spirit
  • From the Pinnacle to the Pit
  • Ritual
  • Con Clavi Con Dio
  • Per Aspera ad Inferi
  • Majesty
  • Prime Mover
  • Stand by Him
  • Body and Blood
  • Devil Church
  • Cirice
  • Year Zero
  • Spöksonat
  • He Is
  • Absolution
  • Mummy Dust
  • Jigolo Har Megiddo
    (Acoustic)
  • Ghuleh/Zombie Queen
  • If You Have Ghosts
    (Roky Erickson cover)
  • Encore:
  • Monstrance Clock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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