The Fillmore || Philadelphia, PA || 20 July 2017
The Clergy had a message to deliver and Mass would be held at The Fillmore in Philadelphia. While on the road as openers for Iron Maiden, the band would be hosting a handful of headlining shows of their own. With a completely new line up of members, there was so much anticipation for this show, and with a sold-out audience of 2,500, I could see I wasn’t the only one. As the line stretched around the corner of the venue, you could see the eagerness in the faces of those waiting to get in. The conversations filled with excitement would vary from talking about the new lineup to those who did or did not catch them with Iron Maiden.
As I finally made my way inside, I could see the transformation was made and it was almost time. The stage an altar of a church with a backdrop of stained glass windows of pagan figures on display would complete the mood for the Sermon to hold court. The lights would go dim and it was time for the show to start. The intro of red lights would fill the stage with what sounded to be ghoulish druids speaking in Latin with an organ sound reminiscent to the start of a pagan ritual.
The lights would go black before coming right back on with band in place they start in immediately and heavy opening with their hit “Square Hammer”. Eventually, from a blast of smoke at the center of the platform would emerge Papa Emeritus. The band would continue to knock out hit after hit. Following “Square Hammer”, they go right into “From the Pinnacle to the Pit” without skipping a beat. With the band all over the stage, running from one side of the stage to the other, jumping off risers and their overall interaction with the crowd, it leads you to believe they have been playing together since day one. The songs sounded so tight live. This group was a well-oiled machine working together with ease. Papa Emeritus would be his usual humorous self with his comedic gestures. The band would jump right in to join the fun as they would all gesture to the crowd as well to one and other.
Theatrical lighting and smoke pouring across the stage as the set continued with hit after hit, including “Body and Blood”, “Cirice”, and “Year Zero”. As the show sadly came to an end as Ghost would complete their heavy set of hits with “Ritual”. I would make my way outside listening to everyone’s comments about how great the show was and how the band rocked. That was nothing far from the truth. The show was completely amazing and the band was just so tight together. I’m hoping this will be the same set of members that will be on the new album when it is completed. If that is the case, I can’t wait till the band hits the road again.