GHOST / NOTHING MORE
Reno Events Center
It’s a Saturday night in Reno, NV and while there are many events happening in the World’s Biggest Little City, the main attraction for myself is seeing GHOST and NOTHING MORE. I don’t feel the Reno Events Center was truly prepared what was coming their way as the line to get inside was wrapped around the building and while letting people into the foyer, it became full and nobody else could get inside. There was a delay letting people into the concert hall so I had to approach security to get through that madness in order to get inside to shoot the show.
After getting inside and into the photo pit, Nothing More took the stage to dark lights and while they are a band with an artsy touch, it somehow felt that the lighting crew wasn’t quite ready. But once everything synced up, they were on track to deliver their moody brand of hard rock with high ranged vocals. Unfortunately, the crowd who were finally won over in the end, took half the set to get fully engaged with NM. Once they hit song five with JENNY, the crowd had recognized this from its radio success and then the theatrics kicked in towards the end of the set when they also dropped a piece of WE WILL ROCK YOU to the crowd and ultimately won them over. I would classify NM as one of those bands you need to digest as there are many layers to their sound and lyrical content and some thought is required.
The rise of Ghost is something that seems carefully planned from their early releases, full albums, Eps, and how they have gone through the stages of being the opening act for the likes of IRON MAIDEN in the US to METALLICA in stadiums throughout Europe, and while not moving millions of records, they still manage to sell out arenas (The Forum and Madison Square Garden) and now they carefully navigate North America through many tertiary markets with this portion of the tour kicking off in Bakersfield, CA and night two here in Reno, NV, both not major markets but marketing wise it all makes sense.
Now the mood began to navigate into the headliners set as the black curtain blocks the stage and church hymns being played over the PA and those in attendance, many in costume, were anxious to see THE NAMELESS GHOULS and CARDINAL COPIA take the stage. Soon the lights go down, ASHES pierces the ears of the crowd, and boom, RATS kicks off with the drum beat and the crowd goes wild. Cardinal Copia, aka TOBIAS FORGE, commands the stage with swagger and knows how to work the crowd from front to back and side to side.
The way the guitarists work the flanks of the stage for their exchanging solos and guitar parts, the way the bassist takes front center then backs up onto the staircase between the drummer and keyboardists, the way they come together, line up to salute the saxophone solo, or even alter the intro of CIRICE, from the wings of the stage, the choreography all works and does not seemed forced. Cardinal Copia entices the crowd with simple banter in between songs and is never too wordy, but can bring laughter with the question, “Do you like your taints tickled?” Who thought up that one?
All jokes aside, Ghost takes us on a flawless 20-song set and change up the set list from the last time I saw them last November in Sacramento. The stage show, complete with a backdrop looking like stained glass, lights that set the mood of every song, stairs, spotlights, and fire, flashes, and confetti, how can one go wrong? And uniquely, they save their 2 biggest hits, DANCE MACABRE and SQUARE HAMMER until the very end and the crowd stays the entire time. In the past 15 years, there is no band that has had this type of rise, to arena headliner status, with such a unique visual presentation and lyrical message whose sound is actually ‘safe’ yet attract the ‘metal’ community. I have been a fan, I remain a fan, and tonight was nothing short of phenomenal! INCREDIBLE!
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Mark - HardRockCore
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