GHOST HAUNT THE ARMORY
Date: October 5, 2019
Venue: The Armory
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Reviewer: Metal Headz Media
Photos: Albright Photoworx
Ghost made a stop in Minneapolis, Minnesota on their Ultimate Tour Named Death Tour. They brought along the wild and crazy band Nothing More to support them. I had seen Ghost once a few years ago when they opened for Iron Maiden and really enjoyed their set, but this would be my first experience with Nothing More. I was glad to see they were playing The Armory because it’s not as large as the sport arenas in town, but still has a capacity of 8,400 people.
As I drove past the venue to get to the parking ramp, I was happy to see long lines waiting to get inside. Before I left, I checked to see and there were still tickets available, so I didn’t know what to expect. While I was at will call waiting for my photo pass, three guys came to the window and purchased tickets. It peaked my curiosity of how full will it be?
Once I had my credentials in hand, me and the other photographers headed to the VIP entrance and gathered in a lobby area waiting to be taken inside. We kept checking our phones in anticipation of being let inside. Two minutes prior to Nothing More‘s set time, we got the signal and were escorted to the side of the stage and were directed to the biggest photo pit I had ever seen. Usually, we are tripping over one another and weaving around security, but not tonight. There was plenty of room for the fourteen of us except for the bottleneck at the front of the stage where it jutted out just short of the barricade. I had also noticed to my surprise that the arena was only three quarters full.
The lights suddenly went out as a World War II air raid siren filled the air. Red lights shone down on the stage and illuminated singer Jonny Hawkins as he came into view. He perched high above the stage turning the crank of the siren alerting the crowd that the show has now begun. “Let ‘Em Burn” led off the high energy set with Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Daniel Oliver (bass) and Ben Anderson (drums) joining Jonny on stage. “Christ Copywright” and “Don’t Stop” were the perfect intro to a kick ass bass solo on a custom made contraption, aptly named the Bassinator. A swiveling, custom guitar which allows for three people to perform a bass solo all at one time.
The energy did not stop there. “Go To War” kept fists thrusting into the air. “Jenny” was one of my favorite songs of the night along with the change of pace tune “Fadein / Fadeout.” “Ocean Floor” highlighted another side of the band’s sound as it built up to another killer song, “This Is The Time (Ballast).” At this time, we found ourselves looking at Jonny high above the crowd once again. This time, he was on top of the infamous “Scorpion Tail” as they broke into a cover of “First of The Year (Equinox)” from Skrillex and blended it into a tease of “We Will Rock You” to close out their set.
Nothing More’s setlist (as per setlist.fm):
01. Let ‘Em Burn
02. Christ Copyright
03. Don’t Stop
04. Bass Solo
05. Go To War
07. Fadein / Fadeout
08. Ocean Floor
09. This Is The Time (Ballast)
10. First of The Year (Equinox)
While waiting to be led back to the photo pit, we were informed that Ghost moved back their start time ten minutes due to a few hundred people still waiting to get inside. This is the first time I had been to a show that this had happened. Talk about a band dedicated to its fan base.
Once inside the pit, the lights went out, the curtain dropped and the Nameless Ghouls filled the stage. “Ashes” led the way into the radio friendly rocker, “Rats.” The crowd pumped their fists to the beat and helped Cardinal Copia (Tobias Forge) sing the chorus. “Absolution” kept the fists going and the first explosion of the night caught everyone off guard. Cardinal Copia made sure to cover all three levels of their cathedral inspired stage as they made their way through “Faith,” “Mary On A Cross” and “Devil Church.”
At this time, I noticed the arena finally was filled to near capacity. I also noticed it was now quite hot in there too. I grabbed a cold beverage as the instramental “Cirice” came across the speakers. Toward the end of the song, Tobias appeared once again; but to everyone’s suprise, he was dressed as Papa Nihil killing it on the saxophone.
After he left the stage, the band cruised through “Miasma” — another instrumental, which allowed for another costume change back to Cardinal Copia. “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen,” “Helvetesfönster” and “Spirit” were next up on the list. At this point, I was starting to lose interest. I’m not sure if it was song choice, repetitive stage moves or that it was just too long of a set list. I started to look around and noticed I wasn’t the only one. You could definitly tell who the diehard fans were and who was here to hear their hits. “Pinnacle To The Pit” slapped me back to life. This hard hitting song is one of my favorites by the band, but it wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. While “Ritual” and “Satan Prayer” were being played, another photographer started to pick apart the songs. He would say “That keyboard part sounds like Styx” or “That riff reminds me of Judas Priest.” I picked out a part that reminded me of Iron Butterfly, so you can tell they have a wide variety of influences. The towering flames during “Year Zero” caught my attention and pulled me back into the show.
After the band finished “He Is”, Tobias tried his best attempt at humor. He asked the crowd “Do you feel better now than you did two hours ago?” The crowd responded with a roar. “So do I”, he replied. “We now have a good relationship. Like we went to second base with each other.” That was followed by a loud laughter. He then asked the crowd if they wanted to hear a song so heavy that it will wobble thair asses? Crowd roars again. He then yells louder, “Do you want your asses wobbled?” The crowd responded with the loudest cheer of the night. He then stated the next song was so heavy that it will tickle your taint. “Do you want your taint tickled Minnesota?” Another loud applaud gave way to “Mummy Dust.”
At the end of the song, he again asked the crowd if they liked that and if it rocked their socks off. “I now have a question. Not about your feet, it’s about your ass. Did they wobble?“ Crowd screams. “What about your taints?” More screams. He then tells the crowd that they can’t leave without a good old kiss. “Kiss The Go-Goat” got me and their fans re-energized for their big time closers. “Dance Macabre” got everyone singing, clapping and dancing as confetti cannons filled the arena with streamers.Another explosion and more flames accompanied the band during their closer “Square Hammer” before the band said good night.
Even though I started to daze off a little in the middle of their set doesn’t mean I do not like the band. I’ve done this at other concerts too, especially when I’m not familiar with all of the band’s music. I think Ghost are very talented and I will probably see them again when I know more of their material.
Ghost’s setlist (as per setlist.fm):
05. Mary On A Cross
06. Devil Church
09. Ghuleh / Zombie Queen
10. Helvesfönster (only first riff)
12. From The Pinnacle To The Pit
14. Satan Prayer
15. Year Zero
16. He Is
17. Mummy Dust
18. Kiss The Go-Giat
19. Dance Macabre
20. Square Hammer