Ah Vegas. Full disclosure, this is only my second time here, gambling isn’t my thing and, generally, neither are manufactured experiences. There is, however, an allure, a temptation to revel in the tawdry displays of tourists on Fremont, convincing themselves they’re being entertained, convincing themselves that the shiny dress, the cheap suit, the almost fashionable, is real – even if it’s just for a moment. The exuberance can so easily feel manic and desperate – a high that takes a wrong turn and becomes dark, feverish, and somehow sad.
But there are moments. Moments when people come together to experience something they deeply love, that the bad trip is forced back behind joy, excitement, and connections with people who share a passion.
Ghost is a band that brings out that passion and excitement. The community that gathers at The Joint in The Hard Rock is primed for connections – connections with each other and with the band. Vegas is a notoriously difficult venue. Artists have an audience that might have picked up the tickets at random, and there for a myriad of reasons where the show isn’t the primary focus.
Ghost, though, brings fans to them; as easily across geography as emotionally during a show. Current front persona Cardinal Copia, deftly draws the crowd into his sermon – never stranding the audience in a lull, but carrying them through the changes in tempo with witty banter, and faith that, wherever he’s taking them, the journey will be rewarding.
Cardinal Copia’s persona bridges priest and lounge singer in a playful, joyous manner that, somehow remains unironic. And while he may lose a few of the less faithful during his earnestly delivered monologue on the cycles of depression and hardship to highs and loves that we all experience; more are with him. It might be partially this supportive, positive, fun philosophy that backs all Ghost does that engenders such love from their fans.
It is the passion from the fans that is partially responsible for the current rise in Ghost’s popularity. Passion, and a fun pop-rock accessibility that has been missing from the larger music scene since the eighties. A pop rock that is backed with skilled musicians; clever, articulate songwriting; and a colorful, engaging narrative live show.
“Are you with us?” is a mantra of sorts for Ghost, and for Ghost fans. A question that is always replied with an emphatic affirmative.
Review written by Forrest Kenworthy