Thursday, April 24, 2014

Live Review: Ghost at Mojoes, Joliet 2014

Ghost | King Dude

Mojoes - Joliet, IL
April 21, 2014



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Too much is sometimes never enough. Reminiscent of Ghost's Friday performance at Lolla followed by the Saturday Lolla After Show at Double Door in 2013, Chicagoland was treated to another one-two punch of Ritual over this Easter weekend.

Saturday confirmed that two years after their first North American show, Ghost continue to exceed all of their hype. I was curious if the crowd in Joliet would be as hysteric as the one witnessed in Chicago. Monday was a gloomy, rainy day. When I set out to make my rush hour trek to the southern suburbs, Google Maps told me to expect a drive that would last two hours.

It was literally pouring when we arrived, and I was shocked to see kids lined up down the block and around the corner to get into the venue. Sound check was running late and the venue's doors were locked. We were able to huddle under the canopy outside the door until the guest list line was allowed inside.

Despite many opinions to the contrary, I've never had a bad personal experience at Mojoes. From Will Call to Security to the bartenders and waitresses, everyone was pleasant and courteous.

I had my reservations about the crowd that might turn out for the show. But this crowd was just as diverse as any Ghost show. Fans of all types are gathered as one. I see shirts from every end of the rock and metal spectrum. From Nuclear Assault and Dark Funeral to Thin Lizzy and Sleep.

King Dude went over even better in Joliet than in Chicago. The more intimate setup may have contributed to this, but he was much more interactive with the crowd and after mentioning whiskey, a girl on the rail handed him a free shot. I was impressed enough this second time around with the Dude to go online and preorder the new album. But I missed out on the colored vinyl. Lame.

While not as small as the Double Door stage, the stage here was really small. Especially for a band with six members.



Capacity was about 1000, but it still had a feeling of intimacy. And from my vantage point in the balcony, it looked hot on the floor. Really hot.

The pre-show hymns and "Masked Ball" intro remain the same. The band ripped into "Infestissumam" which significantly amps up the crowd. Papa takes the stage during "Per Aspera ad Inferi" and the tidal wave of energy finally breaks, and like a pent up orgasm the crowd releases. The collective feeling of unashamed joy like that is mind altering. No amount of drugs or alcohol can compare to the cumulative effect of the band, the music and the people around you putting forth such a tremendous amount of energy. It's almost heart stopping, and no matter what I write, unless one experiences it first-hand no words can give it justice.



The setlist in Joliet mirrors that of Chicago and previous stops on this leg of the tour. "Ritual" still seems unusual this early in the set, but it's also refreshing to see a band unafraid of playing their "hit" at the beginning of the show.

The crowd, while not as exuberant as Chicago, chants, screams and dances along. Even the pit that springs up occasionally is peaceful and devoid of the usual assholes and shenanigans.



Just as in Chicago, the newer songs are more well received than the older ones. "Year Zero" is like their "Master of Puppets." All night, the crowd has been chanting, near screaming, in a frenzy for the band to play "Ghuleh/Zombie Queen." After a short break, the band returns to the stage. The anticipation from every corner of the room is immense and then it hits. The first slow, discordant notes of "Ghuleh" slither out of the PA and the room goes berserk.The energy from the crowd during that song was something to behold, and I can't recall many recent shows in which it was so passionate and genuine.



Monstrance Clock closed the show, and after witnessing this combo of songs closing the show five times now, I think "Zombie Queen" would be the more appropriate closer. But it's a minor complaint for yet another amazing show. Ghost are among the elite live bands in existence today; irrespective of genre.



The lights went up to reveal a sea of sweaty fans, and if you ever want to see a group of jaded metal fans with giant ear-to-ear grins on their faces that would have been the perfect moment. The lines for merch afterward reminded me of something you'd see at a KISS or Iron Maiden show. 

Tonight marked my tenth Ritual with Ghost. A very cool moment backstage made me happy I'll be witnessing number eleven later this summer.

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