GHOST played its first-ever U.S. arena headlining show last night (Friday, November 16) the Forum in Inglewood, California. The concert at the 17,500-capacity venue, as well as the December 15 show at the 19,000-capacity Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was announced before the rest of the tour was revealed. GHOST later added Laval, Quebec's Place Bell, which seats 10,000, on December 7.
Fan-filmed video footage of the Forum performance can be seen below.
GHOST leader Tobias Forge told Forbes in a new interview that the key logistically during a tour that jumps from larger mid-size venues —mostly 1,500-3,000-capacity theaters — to arenas and back, is how to present that show in the larger setting without losing what makes it a virtually unparalleled staging in a more intimate environment.
"I think that one of our biggest hurdles right now — not in terms of imagination and planning but just economically and practically — is how to make those arena shows not look like we just put our theatre show into The Forum or Barclays. It needs to look like we look like this every night on the tour," Forge said. "There's usually a makeshift stage — a very generic square stage. A PA company has come in and put up a big PA, usually with a lot of speakers and stuff in front of the stage. So you end up in a situation that in a way sort of increases the distance between you and the crowd. Whereas if you go see BON JOVI, he will have built a stage that is meant to be in some sort of proximity to the crowd.
Forge added that he likes the challenge involved in properly pulling off GHOST's first American arena concerts. "This is my job," he said. "This is my dream. This is what I have been wanting ever since I was a kid. I sat in front of my TV in our living room. I had a VCR looking at tapes I'd freeze frame and draw the stage. I loved that stuff. It takes a lot of planning and you definitely have to grind your teeth a lot knowing [maybe] it won't really turn out the way I wanted… but fuck it."
Forge, who performs as Cardinal Copia, said in an interview with El Paso, Texas radio station KLAQ that his original character of Papa Emeritus could return. Forge explained: "One thing that I'm looking forward to is having a pope back in the lead…. Cardinal Copia is not the leader yet; he's working his way up. And I'm definitely also looking forward to him possibly becoming the real deal."
Forge added: "I'm okay with the Cardinal... But I'm definitely looking forward to, in the future, where he could also have his additional papal robes. And I think that, given the right production setting, there's definitely a lot of things that we can do that will be even more theatrical, more gags and more things changing."
Forge told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that he knew early on that GHOST would be a theatrical act. "This is not just like a T-shirt band," he said. 'This sounds like something that would be theatrical and, you know, over the top, so this must be like a theater band — yeah, and then we started like, very quickly it was like, there should be a pope, and it should be like a nameless band that should be in it, big church, and it quickly ramped up to where we had to make a decision where this is not just something that we can just wing at a bar."
Forge performed as a "new" Papa Emeritus on each of GHOST's first three albums, with each version of Papa replacing the one that came before it. Papa Emeritus III was retired in favor of Cardinal Copia before the release of the band's latest album, "Prequelle".
"Prequelle" debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and features the chart-topping rock single "Rats".