All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Ghost Live @ The Hifi Bar, Melbourne, Australia

You should have been there Melbourne! You shoulda been there!

To say that tonight’s Ghost gig, their first proper headline show on our shores, was a classic, is an understatement. It was one out-of-the-box both for fans and band alike.

Having toured Australia early last year as part of the Soundwave Festival, the band won many fans over with their unique schtick and retro-prog-classic-rock sound. But tonight, they’d be holding their own in front of an adoring Melbourne crowd. Never have I ever seen such a collection of Ghost t-shirts in the one room! It was a plethora of Ghost branded fans lining the Hifi Bar from floor to ceiling.

Tonight was also my first opportunity to photograph the band. Having fallen ill last year, I missed on attending Soundwave and cursed myself forever for missing out on shooting Ghost. I didn’t care about any other band on the bill having been a massive Ghost fanboy since 2010. And here I was. In the pit as the soundtrack from Kubrick’s masterpiece ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ kicks in, I felt the chest begin to thump and pump blood into my every pore. Fuck man! Ghost at last!

The band entered the stage from the EXIT door to the right of the Hifi. I had been tipped off that the band would be in the alley above in their full regalia about 15 minutes before showtime. I debated within myself if I should go upstairs and get the shot, but thought it best to leave them be and not don the paparazzi hat.

And there they were. Hitting the stage with such ferocity as they pummelled through ‘Per Asfera Ad Inferi’ to an absolutely rabid crowd.The Ghouls were definitely into it, as I could hear one of the guitarists slam their foot onto the Hifi stage in time to the drums.

It was a surreal feeling seeing the mighty Papa take to the stage in all his unholy garb leading a blasphemous procession of diabolical tunes in the name of Satan and all that is despicable and evil.

But if you bother to look past the image – you’ll see and hear a band of seasoned professionals finely attuned with their instruments and playing in total concert with each other. So tight and precise. Never have I seen a band so perfectly in tune with one another and the music they were generating. It was mind-blowing just how good they sounded and played.

Photographically, it was a bit of a challenge as the front lighting wasn’t the best. Couple that with the fact that the band had no front monitors, the Papa was at the very edge of the stage. With a very deep photo pit, it made for some difficult angles in trying to get his face in frame. It’s also kinda hard to shoot bands you dearly love as you’re there singing along to every word whilst trying to get a shot or two!

It proved to be a pretty special night at the Hifi and the smiles and post-gig euphoria by the punters present reminded you full well that you had just witnessed a pretty special gig.

After the show my colleagues from Metal Obsession, who I was shooting for, made our way to the Cherry Bar for some drinks.

Ghost arrived shortly after. Unmasked. With their entourage they moved to the private room of the Cherry Bar but mingled with fans outside as well. Those of us who knew what some of them looked like, grabbed an autograph or two! I was blown away by just how humble and gracious they were to their fans. Genuine humility and grateful to sign an autograph with no Rock Star posturing and bullshit you see from so many bands.

Wrapped it all up deep into the AM and I was convinced that here in January, I had already seen gig of the year!

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