D’Astolfo: Ghost Delivers a Memorable Show at Covelli

YOUNGSTOWN – Thursday’s concert by Ghost, the hard-rocking band that delves into the demonic, was every bit the spectacle that the hype implied.

Led by Tobias Forge, the band brought its The Ultimate Tour Named Death tour to Covelli Centre Oct. 10, delighting all who came to its altar, which surprisingly was not sold out. Forge remained in his Cardinal Copia character throughout the show, but he didn’t take himself super seriously. If he did, the whole thing would get silly. He’s a friendly ghost.

With his seven-piece band of masked Nameless Ghouls (that would be the other musicians), Forge delivered a 90-minute set at the arena. It was theatrical, but it was also a concert. The show would not work if the music wasn’t on point, and fortunately, it was.

Ghost opened with current single “Rats,” and played most of the latest album, “Prequelle,” including the single “
Dance Macabre.” But it also dove into its back catalog. The band had a crisp and crunchy three-guitar attack that often bore the mark of metal staples like Black Sabbath and Judas Priest.

The Grammy-winning Ghost is an act worth seeing and it’s taking its place in the metal hierarchy. The band is a top-line act for the Exit 111 Festival Oct. 11-13 in Tennessee, which is a who’s who of hard rock.

The Covelli show pulled in fans from Pittsburgh to Canton, but I would have expected more of the just plain curious to show up as witnesses. Oh well, their loss.

As Cardinal Copia, Forge changed robes (and vestments) multiple times and stalked a stage that looked like the marble steps of a cathedral. A backdrop of giant stained glass windows – with likenesses of Forge’s other alter ego, the evil Papa Emeritus, depicted therein – framed the proceedings.

Soothing but ominous Gregorian chants announced the explosive start of the concert in the darkened arena. The show utilized a lighting design that was noticeably better than almost any concert I’ve ever seen, and of course there was pyro – hellish fireballs to be specific.

The show was dynamic and had many playful moments, including one where Forge, as his alter-ego Papa Nihil, jammed on a saxophone. Haunted house organ music preceded gleaming power chords on guitar as Forge donned his monsignor robes for “Mummy Dust,” a single off the band’s third album “Meliora.”

“Are you with us?” Forge asked the crowd numerous times during the show, making sure everyone stayed attentive and invested.

For those who get it, the show was a unifying experience.

Forge is wiry and animated in body but the mask he wore revealed no facial expression. The Swedish-born rocker spoke in an affected accent, like the host of a Transylvanian castle.
His control of the crowd was remarkable. When Forge spoke, the crowd was quiet. When he gave the order, it roared.

And when it ended, Forge blew kisses to the assembled, who walked out with the feeling they had just seen something they would remember for a long time.

Pictured: Cardinal Copia (Tobias Forge) and one of the Nameless Ghouls play to the crowd at the Covelli Centre Oct. 10.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.