Phantom at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, California

Ghost returns to the United States to launch its end of summer Imperatour North American Tour at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego.

Swedish gothic/theatrical rock band Phantom returned to the stage at Pechanga Arena in San Diego to begin their dubbed North American tour Imperatour. This tour sees the Grammy Award-winning band once again bring Satanic Ritual Musical Theater to their North American fans in 2022.

Tobias Forge is the singer of Ghost and voices the main characters, Papa Emeritus and Cardinal Copia. He once again brings these roles to life, much to the delight of all the dedicated fans in attendance, with some in make-up and costume imitating their heroes on stage. The satanic devotees, happily singing the satanically oriented lyrics. Forge’s character on stage is constantly evolving with new and updated characters. Part Liberace, part Siegfried and Roy, part twisted and evil clergyman, Forge is quite the showman. The effeminate persona embodied by the showman moves across the stage with a grace and style reminiscent of a well-styled but twisted ballet or Broadway show. Forge definitely took Alice Cooper’s original gothic rock style, stripped out the horror element, and put a theatrical and satirical spin on their take on the satanic/metal/goth genre.

Ghost is not only Forge, but also includes a very good eight-member touring band, known as Nameless Ghouls. The ghouls, all wearing virtually identical face-covering costumes. Dressed in all black, the booted rockers, dressed in jodhpur pants, wore helmets, with large coke bottle goggles that looked like a cross between a Nazi video game character and a “Despicable Me” minion. Ghost brings with them on this tour a beautiful stage construction composed like an old gothic church and a very well programmed light show.

Nameless Ghouls and Forge’s evil anti-pope character, Papa Emeritus, and the dead (brought back to life with sparking AED paddles) playing saxophone Papa Nihil, all for quite an entertaining sight. Forge made several costume changes from the character Cardinal Copia at Papa Emeritus back to a very Liberaceous Copia in a blue sequined party jacket. During Forge’s costume changes, the band rocked the crowd with some great instrumental interludes. After each change, Forge’s character strutted and strutted gracefully across the stage as the Ghouls stomped and rocked the crowd with arena rock anthems.

This group loves the spotlight, and the aforementioned light show was a perfect complement to the theater. So many bands like this like to hide in the dark. This is not the case when you go to a Ghost show. This band loves the spotlight and was made for it. The ghouls were well rehearsed and the show ran with the timing of a well directed and rehearsed Broadway show. From the fall of the Kabuki curtain to the curtain call, with Forge tossing roses into the adoring crowd, it was all about well-acted theater.

Whether you’re a fan of music, a fan of lyrical content, or a fan of theater, it’s theater first and foremost and it’s very entertaining. Northern Europeans have a rich tradition in the doom/goth/death metal genre, and Ghost is one of the bands that sits at the top of this group. Ghost’s creativity, character building, and live spectacle are what set them apart the most in this genre. This tour showcases all of their talents. Forge is the consummate showman, and the Nameless Ghouls group is excellent. So whether you’re a satanic “believer”, think it’s all theater, or are looking for a good entertaining theatrical rock show, check out Ghost as they cross the United States to the end september.

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