Ghost – “Ultimate Tour Named Death”
Special Guests: Nothing More
The Giant Center – Hershey, PA – 10/24/19
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Metal elite, Ghost brought their Ultimate Tour Named Death to The Giant Center in Hershey, PA on October 24, 2019. They brought with them the energetic and passionate, Nothing More. This tour was on its final few shows with both bands gearing up to write new albums.
Nothing More is one of my favorite live bands; I’ve seen them about a dozen times since 2015. Their show is more impressive every time. Nothing More consists of Jonny Hawkins (vocals), Mark Vollelunga (guitar), Daniel Oliver (bass) and Ben Anderson (drums). This was their third to last show of the tour cycle for their 2017 release “The Stories We Tell Ourselves”. They performed 9 songs that went from raging, to serious, to an absolute inferno.
They hit the stage hard; Jonny immediately ran up a 20-foot structure to start off the show, he is all about the visuals and becoming larger than life. I’ve described their show previously as a religious experience and that description still stands. They kicked off the set with “Let ‘em Burn”. This song has their signature sound all over it; heavy melodic bass, screeching, distorted guitar, heavy metal drums and Jonny’s one of a kind vocals. Next up was “Don’t Stop” which started off with oddly enough, a techno beat. On this song Jonny’s vocals were sharp and piercing in a good way. They literally drove the message of the song straight through you. Daniel’s bass playing is so unique and heavily featured. The last blast of the heavy opening was “Go To War”. This song started off acapella with Jonny standing in the middle of the stage bathed in red light. Then the band came in and let it rip. I cannot say enough about the energy of this band, three songs in and I was exhausted.
Nothing More then slowed it down for the next two heart wrenching songs. “Jenny” which is off the their debut album is one of my personal favorites. This song is very personal to Jonny as it was written about his sister and her struggle with addiction. Next was “Fadein/Fadeout” which I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through. I had spoken to Mark in an interview just before the show about this song. The song is about the cycle of life and it’s heart-wrenching. The lyrics are heartfelt and touching. If you have lost a parent, listening to this song is quite emotional. The live version of this song absolutely crushed every one in the audience.
Nothing More ended the night in the grand fashion that they are known for. A mix of “First of the Year” from Skrillex and “We Will Rock You” From Queen. Jonny performed atop a cyborg, synth/drum combo straight out of the Terminator. They ended the set with “Salem (Burn the Witch)”. This performance was filled with insane guitar riffs, all four members drumming, killer vocals and a lot of sweat. They left their souls on stage after this performance. While Nothing More is now done touring for the year, they will be back soon with new music for all of us to enjoy. I can’t wait to hear what they cook up in the studio.
Next up was the night’s main attraction, Ghost. They played 20 songs over 90 minutes, taking the fans to their satanic church. Ghost consists of Cardinal Copia (Tobias Forge), the mastermind behind the entire band and the Nameless Ghouls and Ghoulettes. The stage was set up as a gigantic church, stained glass windows and all. A sprawling white staircase led from the main stage to a balcony where the 3rd guitarist, drummer and keyboardists performed. The ornate stage set up, incredible lights and demonic costumes set the tone for the incredible performance.
Ghost opened their set with “Rats” from their 2018 release “Prequelle”. This is one of my favorite songs. The guitar riff is super catchy and the hook is simple. The guitar solos were clean and not overdriven like classic metal but they are signature Ghost. Cardinal Copia’s vocals were clean and consistent; he is not a flashy performer even with all of his makeup but he commanded the stage with an abundance of confidence. Next up was “Absolution” from 2015’s “Meliora”. This song was a bit slower than the first and featured more keys. Rounding out the top of the set was “Faith” which picked the tempo back up. The one thing about their songs is that they feature a ton of instrumental breaks between the lyrics. It’s mesmerizing to watch so many musicians play together flawlessly.
A few months ago they released a two song “single”, “Seven Inches of Satanic Panic”. They played both songs from this release, “Mary on a Cross” and “Kiss the Go-Goat”. Cardinal Copia took the stage front and center to belt out “Mary on a Cross”. It’s hard to describe Ghost’s music. They are classified as metal but have a genre all of their own, especially with this song. It’s super melodic with super smooth and clean vocals. When I think metal, I think screeching guitars and generic riffs. They have definitely broken the mold. “Kiss the Go-Goat” was a bit heavier but what comes to mind when I hear this song is Elvis Presley’s, “Suspicious Minds”.
Ghost closed out the night with “Dance Macabre” and “Square Hammer”. Cardinal Copia asked the audience if they had their dancing shoes on and the crowd responded epically. The entire floor was bouncing with their fists in the air. Confetti canons exploded adding to the party mood. It was a great way to close out a powerhouse performance.
Ghost is definitely a force that will be around for a long time to come. They are finishing out the year touring in Europe and plan on writing and recording in the coming year. I don’t suspect that they will be away from the stage for long. This show was one of my favorites this year and has left me wanting to see both bands as soon as they hit the road again.