GHOST leader Tobias Forge says that he was "furious" after learned two months ago that a venue in St. Louis had halted fans at the entrance to the band's concert and asked them to remove any face paint.
Two days before the concert, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights revealed via social media that "face paint or masks covering the face" would "NOT [be] allowed while entering the venue or purchasing items at concessions. Any face coverings must be removable upon request," the policy said.
Despite the publicly stated face paint policy, many of the two bands' fans arrived at the concert to realize they were in violation of the policy and were either denied entry or told to remove the face paint by venue staff. This resulted in general confusion about what was and what was not allowed, with one female GHOST fan reporting on Instagram that she was told her makeup "foundation was too light and it looked like facepaint to them so I had makeup wipes given to me and told that the white eye contact didn't help." Another attendee wrote on Facebook: "So weird we didn't see anyone have issues. We stood in VIP line over an hour with people who had make up. They all got through security. And no one said a word to them. Sucks it happened. I have even to KISS shows there as well... people wore KISS make up."
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre released a statement the following day apologizing for the confusion and clarifying that GHOST wasn't behind the face paint policy. Attendees who "experienced issues" at the concert were urged to contact the venue by e-mail to help "improve" the process "for future shows."
In a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine, Forge shared his reaction to reports of GHOST fans being told to remove any face paint. "I was furious," he said. "The story that I heard was that it was an initiative taken by some of the security people, who didn't approve of the band. They didn't like what we were doing so they wanted to be mean to these kids, and those kids were really, really upset with that.
"They told them it was a band requirement," he continued. "That was upsetting to me. We would never ask that of our fans. We want them to dress up, we want them to come and have fun."
Forge went on to explain why he is especially sensitive to the feelings of GHOST fans, saying: "Over the years, I've come to understand that a lot of our fanbase are, in one way or another, outsiders or that their lives are lonely or they're struggling with something. It feels like there's a lot of hurt among our fanbase, and I want to address that. They've found a kind of belonging being in this group of GHOST fans."
GHOST kicked off its summer 2023 U.S. tour on August 2 at the Concord Pavilion in Concord, California. Support on the "Re-Imperatour" came from AMON AMARTH.
Produced by Live Nation and FPC Live, the 27-date trek stopped in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Cincinnati, Austin and more before wrapping up with the band's September 11 and September 12 return to the Kia Forum in Los Angeles.
GHOST has been touring in support of its fifth album, "Impera", which sold 70,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in its first week of release to land at position No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It marked the third top 10 album — and fifth top 40-charting set — for the Swedish act.
"Impera" landed at position No. 1 in Germany and Sweden, No. 2 in the U.K., Netherlands, Belgium and Norway, No. 3 in Australia, No. 5 in France and Ireland, and No. 20 in Italy.
"Impera" was released in March 2022. The 12-song effort was produced by Klas Åhlund and mixed by Andy Wallace.
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Posted by Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre St. Louis on Wednesday, August 9, 2023