Discoteca Céntrico, Lima
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Last night I saw Ghost for the first time. I’ve been obsessed with them for the last year, and was thrilled to discover they’d be here in Lima, Peru while I’m here. For the last week I’ve had their music on repeat, and finally the big day arrived.
What a show it was!
I’ll say this upfront: This was one of the BEST concerts I’ve ever been to! Everything – the atmosphere, the performance, the set list, the crowd – was perfect.
It started with haunting choral music playing over the speakers. It really set the mood – religious, creepy, unreal. It got darker, the lights got lower, and we all waited, anticipation building as the moment drew nearer.
Suddenly the black robed Nameless Ghouls walked on stage and majestically took their places as they began “Infestissumam,” the opening track from their second album of the same name. The whole crowd was insane, chanting along and jumping in excitement. But “Per Aspera Ad Inferi” is where the concert really began – the choir dropped out and Papa Emeritus II strolled onto the stage, ready for his ceremony.
The whole crowd was jumping, screaming, fist pumping, clapping, and singing enthusiastically along with Papa. I’ve rarely seen such frenzied energy, and this was one of those magical moments.
Ghost shifted gears and played “Ritual,” off of their first album. It used to be their show closer back in their earlier tours, but now it works well near the beginning – it keeps the momentum going and the crowd riled up.
“Prime Mover” was next. This wasn’t a standout track to me until recently. Ghost’s performance of it cemented that – the song has a great groove and has unpredictable twists and turns that keep it exciting all the way through. The chorus slows down and gets heavy, but then the second verse has higher screams that make it scary and thrilling all at once. Definitely a highlight from the set.
One of my personal favorites, “Secular Haze,” followed. The crowd finally calmed down just a bit for this song, but the energy was still electric. Everyone sang along and swayed to the bone-chilling organ and eerie lyrics.
After ripping though “Satan Prayer,” Ghost launched into their debut single, “Con Clavi Con Dio.” Papa Emeritus II bought out his smoking thurible, just like in Ghost’s earlier tours, adding religious cult legitimacy to the event. The whole crowd went wild, shouting the words and feverishly jumping along. This was one of the most memorable parts of the night, one where everyone was fully in the moment.
“Elizabeth,” “Body And Blood,” and (another personal favorite) “Death Knell” were next in line. The energy was still high, but then Ghost was ready to turn it down for an unexpected cover: “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles. But it wasn’t just a straight forward copy of the uplifting tune. Instead, Ghost took the major key and made it minor, turning “Here Comes The Sun” into a sinister, foreboding song. It’s amazing how changing some notes here and there can alter the entire mood of a song.
Ghost returned to their own songs, playing “Stand By Him” and their epic instrumental, “Genesis.”
And then it was time for another of the biggest spectacles of the night: “Year Zero.” The crowd, getting a bit too calm, suddenly perked up again for this grand opus of a song. I think this is the song where the crowd sang loudest – myself included. We shouted along, getting even louder for the anthemic chorus. This may well have been the true climax of the concert.
As the music ended, Papa Emeritus chatted to the crowd. He asked what we have; the audience was confused. He asked again, and some clever souls called out “Ghost?” Papa responded with a pleased affirmation, and followed up with another question: “And what else do you have?” The crowd shouted with conviction this time: A resounding “Everything!!” Indeed, if you have Ghost, you have everything:
Ghost launched into their beloved version of Roky Erickson’s song, “If You Have Ghosts.” Despite being a cover, this song feels like it has become Ghost’s own anthem. It’s rare when a song by one artist transcends its origins to belong to a new artist, but that is exactly what has happened here. “If You Have Ghosts” feels like Ghost’s anthem. The crowd contentedly sang with Papa Emeritus, well aware of the poignant meaning of the song in that special moment – Lima’s first time with Ghost, a time that will never be forgotten.
The song ended and the band walked off stage, but the crowd wasn’t ready for it to be over. They chanted Ghost’s name over and over, then changed their demand and shouted out “Zombie Queen,” eager to hear that song next.
The crowd’s pleas were not unanswered: Ghost returned, as ready for their encore as the mob of fans. The soft ballad “Ghuleh” was first, with slow organs and delicate whispers. Papa Emeritus kept shushing the crowd, keeping them in check until the second part of the song kicked in: “Zombie Queen” is the opposite of “Ghuleh” – it has an vibrant frenzy that sounds like a zombie prom.
After “Ghuleh/Zombie Queen,” our time with Ghost was up. They closed with “Monstrance Clock,” a song that starts off subdued and ominous, then turns into a uniting singalong. The crowd chanted along: “Come together, together as one.” We were one, all of us there with Ghost. Papa Emeritus thanked us and walked off stage with the Nameless Ghouls, leaving nothing but glimmering fog and delighted fans that just had the best nights of their lives.
Overall, this was one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
Everything was perfect: Ghost played perfectly, from the vocals to the guitar, drums, keys, and bass. On top of that, they had a flawless set list. They included every fan favorite and single, and had room for some lesser known tracks and well placed covers.
And then there was the energy. The venue wasn’t big, but it was packed. And the crowd had all the enthusiasm and energy that you might see at a huge stadium show. The size and excitement made for the perfect combination of intimacy and bigger-than-life performance on an epic scale. It was like seeing the biggest band in the world up close, with just a group of the most devoted fans.
The crowd, in addition to being so electrified and fervent, was also surprisingly polite. I wasn’t shoved or hit like in other shows I’ve been to over the years. We were all just there for Ghost.
All in all, this was an excellent concert, and easily one of the best I’ve ever been to. Absolutely a 10/10. If you ever chance to see Ghost, do yourself a favor and GO!
The Set List:
- Per Aspera Ad Inferi
- Prime Mover
- Secular Haze
- Satan Prayer
- Con Clavi Con Dio
- Body And Blood
- Death Knell
- Here Comes The Sun
- Stand By Him
- Year Zero
- If You Have Ghosts
- Ghuleh / Zombie Queen
- Monstrance Clock