LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Ghost, Amon Amarth in Mansfield, MA (08.19.23)

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LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Ghost, Amon Amarth in Mansfield, MA (08.19.23)

Out of all the concerts this summer, this was the show I was looking forward to the most. Two bands with awe-inspiring stage setups including over-the-top theatrical borderline supernatural themes. Lead singers who absolutely dominate their shows with energy and precision, leaving much to muse over and discuss when the music reached its finale.

I’ve been an avid fan of the Swedish band Ghost upon hearing their album Prequelle back in 2018. I believe it was one of those rare albums that you either hate or it instantly becomes your new favorite record. Every song became a new earworm and I couldn’t stop playing it. I made it my mission to see this band live soon after this new obsession. I had that opportunity in October 2019 and, quite frankly, it blew my mind. I had never seen a show before so full of wild sets, unique costumes complete with changes as the set progressed, comedic bits between the singer and his cast of “ghouls”, as well as bursts of fire and confetti with this fantastic fake money sprinkled in, which fans have lovingly dubbed “mummy dust”. And the fans surrounded me at this show dressed up to the nines with their best makeup and devilishly fun wardrobes. I was hooked. I had the pleasure of seeing them another two times between then and now – this being my fourth “ritual” as die-hard fans call these shows. I have heard it’s difficult to obtain press credentials to shoot their shows, so after receiving approval to shoot and review this show, there was much to look forward to.

Amon Amarth, another Swedish rock band, opened. I had never actually heard of them before this outing, but their overall theme and gimmick intrigued me. They are a melodic death metal band, formed in 1992, with a heavy leaning on Viking mythology. Their band name comes from the Sindarin name of Mount Doom, a volcano in J. R. R. Tolkien’s middle earth. Not usually one for death metal, but I was down for a good time with Viking metal. They certainly did not disappoint.

On a night that felt like a journey back in time to the age of warriors and legends, Amon Amarth took the stage at Xfinity Center, bringing with them a torrent of Viking metal might. With a setlist that could rally the gods themselves, the band’s performance was an unforgettable spectacle of power, passion, and epic storytelling. The set began with “Raven’s Flight,” an explosive opening that immediately engulfed the venue in an atmosphere of raw energy. The crowd’s anticipation turned into fervent excitement as their larger-than-life presence materialized on stage. The thunderous riffs and pounding rhythms set the tone for the epic saga that was about to unfold.

The immersive blend of crushing guitar riffs and Johan Hegg’s commanding vocals transported everyone to the heart of Viking battles and tales of valor. “Deceiver of the Gods” and “Put Your Back Into the Oar” demonstrated the band’s mastery of crafting anthemic choruses that demanded crowd participation. Most metal bands involve a mosh pit or two, but I had never seen one quite like this. During this particular song, Hegg commanded the crowd to “Get down on your knees and row!”. The pit and surrounding seats had the audience literally down and rowing along their invisible Viking fleet. It was quite the sight to behold.

“Raise Your Horns” further fueled the crowd’s fervor, transforming the venue into a celebratory Viking feast. The chorus became a rallying cry, as the singer encouraged fans “tonight, we drink from the horn!”. Including 2 stage backdrop changes, random lightning, and a Viking battle (reminiscent of the restaurant Medieval Times) this set was incredibly amusing and fun. Highly recommend seeing them live and in concert if you ever get the chance.

Next up, Ghost! As darkness descended upon the Xfinity Center, the atmosphere was charged with an otherworldly anticipation. The enigmatic Swedish rock band, Ghost, graced the stage on this fateful night, weaving a spellbinding tapestry of sound and theatrics that transported the audience to realms both sinister and sublime.

Opening the night with the enigmatic and explosive “Kaisarion,” Ghost immediately established this was going to be a show full of energy and devilish enthusiasm. The sinister allure of “Rats” followed, and the crowd was taken by storm as the band delved into their theatrical side. The haunting and infectious rhythm had everyone moving in unison, enthralled by the charismatic presence of the band’s lead vocalist, Tobias Forge aka “Papa Emeritus IV”.

“Faith” and “Spillways” continued the musical journey with their hypnotic melodies and intricate instrumentation. The interplay between the keyboard and guitar added depth to the compositions, enveloping the audience in a sonic experience that was as eerie as it was captivating. The atmosphere reached its peak with “Cirice,” a fan-favorite that had everyone singing along to the mesmerizing chorus. The juxtaposition of melodic beauty and dark undertones showcased Ghost’s ability to craft songs that are simultaneously haunting and accessible.

“Absolution” and “Ritual” immersed the audience further into the band’s haunting world. The captivating visuals and Forge’s theatrical presence created an otherworldly experience that transcended mere musical performance, drawing everyone into a macabre dance of sound and imagery.

“Con Clavi Con Dio” paid homage to Ghost’s earlier material, eliciting nostalgic reactions from long-time fans while still resonating with newcomers and “Watcher in the Sky”, a new track from their last full length EP “Impera” showcased the band’s versatility as they seamlessly transitioned from haunting ballads to energetic rock anthems.

The anthemic “Year Zero” had the crowd raising their voices in unison, embracing the darkly playful energy that Ghost exudes. The interlude of “Spöksonat” served as a moment of respite, allowing everyone to catch their breath before the evening’s crescendo.

“He Is” and “Miasma” showcased the band’s musical prowess, with Papa’s vocals soaring above the intricate instrumental arrangements. The ethereal beauty of new crowd favorite, “Mary on a Cross” was followed with bombastic energy from “Mummy Dust,” which ended with an explosion of confetti and their own brand of evil $666 dollar bills.

As the night drew to a close, Ghost brought the crowd to a spellbinding conclusion with the Impera standout track, “Respite on the Spitalfields.” And what Ghost show would be complete without an encore of their ever-popular hit “Square Hammer”. Papa had mentioned, “We couldn’t let you all go home without a good night kiss”. The haunting ambiance and melancholic melodies left a lingering sense of awe, a fitting finale to an evening that blurred the lines between reality and the supernatural.

Ghost’s concert was a symphony of darkness and artistry, a bewitching experience that showcased their unique ability to blend theatricality with musical prowess. From the haunting melodies to the captivating visuals, every element was meticulously orchestrated to create an atmosphere that transported the audience to a world where the macabre and the melodic coexist in perfect harmony.

Photos: Ghost, Amon Amarth at Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA on August 19th:

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