It's no secret that Tobias Forge, the mastermind behind the Swedish rock band Ghost, is a fan of arena rock. In a recent interview, Forge said he set his goals for Ghost to reach arena-level rock with admiring bands such as Metallica and Iron Maiden.
Since forming in 2006, Ghost has released five studio albums, all of which have been met with critical acclaim. The band's most recent album, "Impera", debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart. It's been certified gold in Sweden. Additionally, Ghost has played sold-out shows at some of the biggest venues in the world, including Madison Square Garden and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Tobias says, â€œI sat with a map and just mapped out how they travelled. So, for me, itâ€™s always been, if you want to make it big, if you want to be a musician. You need to tour all the time. And you need to do, like, five shows in Wisconsin.â€
He adds â€œIf it wasnâ€™t for the fact that we had a very strong merch situation. I donâ€™t think we would ever be able to tour the way that we have done over the last 12 years." Also pointing out the bands artistic and visual approach.
Ghost played in pubs and clubs in 2012. Now the band will headline New York's UBS Arena next month with an 18,500 person capacity.
President at Live Nation Entertainment Arthur Fogel said â€œThere is such a long list of new artists that have emerged and developed over the last 12 years that are selling out arenas and stadiums around the world." He adds â€œItâ€™s a regeneration cycleâ€”not only of artists but of fans.â€ If Ghost call it day, Tobias is happy for other bands to take a shot â€œI wouldnâ€™t be too worried about arena rock or stadium rock dying.â€
What is arena rock anyway?
Put simply, it's rock music that is designed to be played in large arenas and stadiums. One of the earliest examples of arena rock is Led Zeppelin's legendary 1977 concert at Madison Square Garden. Captured on film in "The Song Remains the Same"
In the years since Led Zeppelin popularised arena rock, countless other bands have followed suit. Some notable examples include Queen, AC/DC, Kiss, Boston, Journey, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, and U2. These days, arena rock concerts are a mainstay of the live music scene. If you want to see your favourite popular band play live, chances are you're going to have to do so in an arena.
Arena rock concerts are a different animal than your typical club show or theatre gig. There's a certain intangible energy that comes from seeing a band perform in front of tens of thousands of people. It's an experience that every music fan should have at least once in their life.
Additionally, playing arenas is a key component of any musician's career trajectory. For better or worse, ticket sales are often used as a metric for a band's success. And when it comes to ticket sales, arenas are where it's at. If a band can sell out an arena show, it means they've made it to the big time.
We're excited to see Tobias Forge and Ghost continue their ascent into the annals of arena rock history. If their recent successes are any indication, they'll continue selling out stadiums and playing some of the biggest shows ever seen. Here's to hoping we can catch them live somewhere soon!