Excuse me for being a bit late to the party on this one, but I saw this thread and felt the need to reminisce about what would have very easily been "concert of the year" for me if it weren't for Tool...and Agalloch, if they live up to my expectations, but that's later in the year. Anyway, as the set's already been posted, I won't bother, but long review time:
Got to the venue about a half an hour to 45 minutes before Ghost went on. We had "Early Entry" passes, which were really a way for LiveNation or whoever the ticketing outlet was (can't remember) to make an extra $5. Basically, the wrong time for doors was printed on the tickets, so we get there "early" and people are already starting to pour into the venue. However, we were still early enough to buy merch and get up close in what was a very intimate, small, and rather nice venue anyway. On to the bands.
Ghost shocked the s*** out of me. The only thing I'd heard of them before the gig was a live video of "Elizabeth", where I'd thought the robes/costumes were cheesy and the music sounded straight out of the 80's, which I didn't like, as admittedly, I'm a 70's guy, and then a 90's-present guy, but more selectively and mostly with extreme metal in the latter period. Fact is, not only can they PLAY, but their music, if anything, has a 70's/Sabbath/Blue Oyster Cult vibe, which I began to appreciate after seeing them live. Plus, the costumes, which are in actuality disguises, did wonders for them from an appearance perspective in person. Made me appreciate their quest for retained anonymity that much more when I saw it "work". Weird how something can appear cheesy one place and have a totally different feel when looked at a bit closer. Also, I was indeed happy they played "Elizabeth" as they were cutting their set even shorter for some shows.
Opeth, to me, stole the night. I'm a huge prog nerd, so I guess I may be in the minority when I say I adore "Heritage". It was my favorite album for a long time and 2nd best of the year for me aside from Steven Wilson's "Grace for Drowning". So, personally, I didn't mind a proggier approach to the start of the set one bit. That said, "The Grand Conjuration" was probably the best live song I'd heard by any band...until I heard "Deliverance". Unreal stuff, and glad I got to hear a touch of the growls, seeing as this is only my 2nd time seeing these guys, with the last one being on the 2011 tour, which I also happened to enjoy.
Mastodon didn't do much for me. My family and friends who attended with me tried to stick it out through their set, but we all left during "Curl of the Burl". I do regret missing "Blood and Thunder", but their sound (musically) has just always been too "busy" for my tastes, and while Opeth and Ghost sounded phenomenal (sonically) Mastodon was muddy and loud. I go to metal shows all the time and they were not, under any circumstances, even close to too loud, or the loudest I've heard, but if a band wants to be mixed that loud and get my support these days, they also have to be mixed clearly. I think it has to do with how pristine the mix was when I saw Porcupine Tree at Radio City in 2010. Now I place every show next to that one and compare and analyze the hell out of the mix, even though I don't intend to. However (and I don't mean to upset any fans by saying this), I don't think Brann Dailor helps their case in the slightest. The other guys are amazing players, and his playing is just so busy. Way too busy. He overplays, and it showed live, too. I'm not bashing them or him, as he's their drummer and that's that, but with a different, slightly more groove-oriented drummer, I'd enjoy their studio recordings a bit more as well.
Overall, I'd give the night as a whole an 8.5/10, as Ghost needed to play a lot more (maybe even their full album, plus their Beatles cover), Opeth a bit more (though I was happy with the length for being co-headliners), and Mastodon less (just my opinion). But the first two bands were just f***ing perfect by my standards, so none of my nitpicks can affect my rating that badly.
1/28 - Tool
3/1 - Eluveitie, CoB
4/10 - Ghost, Opeth, Mastodon
7/16 - Crimson Projeckt, Dream Theater
7/26 - Musk Ox, Taurus, Agalloch