The spirit of Ghost was out in full display last night, Aug. 26, as Papa Emeritus IV and the Nameless Ghouls kicked off the North American IMPERATOUR. Joined by Mastodon and Spiritbox, the 19-date trek is hitting up arenas across the country and Canada, and began at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego on Friday night.

According to, the show was stacked with a good chunk of the Swedish rock act's career-spanning hits, including "Rats," "Year Zero" and "Cirice" as well as new material from Ghost's latest album, this year's Impera (named one of Loudwire's Best Rock + Metal Albums of 2022 So Far). Tracks from that album included in the set were "Spillways," "Hunter's Moon" and the live debut of "Watcher in the Sky."

The IMPERATOUR is Ghost's first time in the States since March and comes after a heavy schedule in Europe over the summer, including an appearance at France behemoth Hellfest. This tour continues utilizing the character of Papa Emeritus IV in the lead role, who's appeared since 2020, after retiring Cardinal Copia.

As Ghost frontman Tobias Forge told Heavy Consequence earlier this week, playing large arenas like those on the current tour impacted the sound of Impera. He shared, "I think any artist that experiences any size upgrade, if you will, if you go from playing 300 people clubs into a theater of 2,000, you will in some way or shape, you will take that into consideration of certain sonic elements."

He continued, "I don’t think that it means that you go from playing grindcore to playing singer-songwriter ballads. It just means that you might clear up a few things that you know, in a big boomy room, this will sound awful."

Forge also divulged that he has ideas for the next album percolating, and said, "I have an album in my head right now that I think is going to be different from the one I just made. Both Prequelle and Impera were ideas that I had since six, seven years back. They were so different from each other in the sense that the 'plague album,' as I call it, was about the little person’s annihilation on almost more of like a carnal or a God’s wrath point of view, whereas the “imperial record” was more of a structural demise of the mechanics of society."

Forge added, "So they felt like two different things and the idea that I have for the next record is also a different thing from that. It’s just a way for me to compartmentalize the ideas of finding new ways to inspire me lyrically and conceptually."

See Ghost's live debut of "Watcher In the Sky"

Ghost's full set list at the IMPERATOUR kick off included:

  1. Kaisarion
  2. Rats
  3. Faith
  4. Spillways
  5. Devil Church
  6. Cirice
  7. Hunter's Moon
  8. Ritual
  9. Call Me Little Sunshine
  10. Con Clavi Con Dio
  11. Prime Mover
  12. Watcher In The Sky
  13. Year Zero
  14. He Is
  15. Miasma
  16. Mary on a Cross
  17. Mummy Dust
  18. Dance Macabre
  19. Square Hammer

The IMPERATOUR continues across North America the next four weeks, wrapping in Green Bay's Resch Center on September 23. Find tickets here.

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