The Ghost Inside’s Comeback Show Was A Triumph Over Tragedy
Following a tragic bus crash four years, ago nobody knew what the future held for The Ghost Inside. Since 2015 we’ve seen the LA metalcore mainstays overcome more than most of us will ever endure, fighting every day for the ability to even walk – let alone play a show. But this weekend, for one night only, TGI stepped back onstage at the Shrine Auditorium in their hometown, in front of thousands of die-hard fans. We simply couldn’t miss this show. And this is how it went down.
This Is The Hottest Ticket In Town
An 8,000 capacity sell-out – which was upgraded, and yet still sold in under five minutes – tells one half of the story. That queues start forming at 11am with people still scouring the area for spares in oppressive summer heat tells another. But those fans craning their neck for a glimpse of the outdoor action from the roof of a nearby parking lot? That is all the confirmation you need about just how important the return of The Ghost Inside is; three years and eight months after the 2015 bus crash that nearly cost them everything.
There’s A Lot Of Love In The Venue
“If we aren’t the most loved band in the world, it sure feels like it,” declares frontman Jonathan Vigil at one juncture. Inside, merch queues extend far longer than average patience levels can endure, while others gather to leave messages of love and support on giant banners. Backstage, the likes of A Day To Remember (who have all flown from Canada to be here tonight), Stick To Your Guns, Stray From The Path, Falling In Reverse, Of Mice & Men and dozens more have arrived to cheer on their friends, rubbing shoulders with hundreds of emotional friends and family.
The Band’s Physical Limitations Don’t Hold Them Back
The extent to which the life-altering injuries endured by members of the TGI is well documented, though it gets no less shocking. “We had to learn how to play again,” Jonathan Vigil says from the stage. “Some of us had to learn to walk again.” Earlier in the day, the frontman had revealed to Kerrang! a worry that his recently fused ankle – offering not a millimetre of movement or give – and his subsequent inability to run or jump would restrict his performance. Does it hell. That guitarist Zach Johnson – who lost multiple toes and whose pelvis and leg was reconstructed across several intensive surgeries – is even standing is a medical miracle, let alone patrolling the stage with the confidence and relish that he does.
Andrew Tkaczyk Is The Toughest Man On The Planet
Which brings us to TGI’s miraculous drummer, who – it’s often easy to forget at times tonight, such is his power and control behind the kit – is playing behind the kit having suffered the loss of a leg. Finding the resolve and courage to tackle a 90-minute, 19-song set is impressive; knocking seven shades of shit out of it is nothing short of staggering. Remember him the next time you think something is out of reach.
We Wouldn’t Be Here If It Wasn’t For A Stroke Of Fatherly Genius
Credit, too, needs to go to another member of the Tkaczyk family present here today. Andrew is only able to play thanks to his father Larry’s ingenuity in thinking up and then building ‘The Hammer’ – the device by which Andrew can control his kick drum with what remains of his right leg, minus a prosthesis. When Jonathan Vigil points him out in tribute on the family viewing platform to the left of the stage, a venue-wide chant of ‘Larry! Larry! Larry!’ rings out while fans rush over to offer high-fives.
TGI Look At Home On A Stage This Big
Backed by a production dreamed up by bassist Jim Riley that pulls together a Kabuki drop, bursts of fire, LED beach balls, streamer cannons and a spark waterfall, the TGI live experience goes super-size to fill a stage that the Shrine staff were required to begin building a day in advance. It’s obvious that - should they choose to continue - shows of this size surely won’t be a one-off. And for very good reason.
Damn Right It’s Emotional
There are times when every one of the TGI quintet appear visually overcome by their return to the stage. There are others, such as when the band members and crew who survived the 2015 bus crash unite onstage for a drum-riser photograph, that leave everyone here choked up. For those closest to the band, the tears had begun as early as soundcheck; by the close of play, even those in the venue’s furthest corners would be excused for needing a tissue.
What The Future Holds Can Wait
Tonight was billed as ‘one night only’, and it’s a line the band firmly stick to, wishing to digest proceedings, regroup, and make their decisions on their future in their own time. Whatever they decide, no-one can begrudge them anything. And while there are moments tonight, notably when Jonathan Vigil speaks of the band’s journey and career, that leave the impression that they could well walk away following tonight’s triumph, no-one on the other side of the stage leaves in any doubt that TGI’s future can be whatever they want it to be.
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