As soon as King Diamond announced his North American tour, I really did not get that excited. Actually I had given up on seeing this tour; he’s playing Baltimore but not Pittsburgh this time through. I was bummed…so close to my birthday too. I had no idea the devious machinations going on within my whole family….a Conspiracy one would say right under my nose! That’s what makes me the luckiest metal head on the planet. On November 11, 2019, not only was I back in the city of my birth, but I was going to see King Diamond with his entire stage set up in an opera house theater, the way King Diamond was meant to be seen. This was to be epic as fuck!
Before I get into reviewing King’s show, I have to give some time to the openers. This was an enjoyable show from beginning to end. Idle Hands is quite different but incredibly good. Imagine a sick evil love child…the product of 80s post-punk/goth like The Cure or The Smiths mixed with riff laden metal. They were really cool. Lots of atmosphere, killer riffage and solos, and the bass shook the building. Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats are just fun psychedelic stoner doom. Great old school fuzzy vibe. There are two vocalists who sound just like each other and harmonize brilliantly. The songs were rockin’ and fun and got the crowd warmed up for The King!
We had great seats, 13th row back from stage in the orchestra section and smack in the middle. My wife came to the show. I let her know she would be in the presence of metal royalty. We had the full stereo effect. The lights went out then “The Wizard” by Uriah Heep started playing…one of my all time favorite songs. “St. Lucifer’s Hospital” was the true intro as King is rolled out onto the stage on a gurney by one of his hooded, faceless stage assistants. The crowd was already on their feet by this time. The band appears and they break straight into “The Candle,” one of King’s greatest songs and the perfect opener for a King Diamond show. The sound was incredible. It was loud as fuck but you could hear each instrument, and the vocals so perfectly clear. I have seen King many times, starting in the 80s with the Abigail and Them tours up to the Puppet Master…he has never sounded better. Look at his contemporaries; none of them, with the exception of Michael Kiske, are belting out the notes like they did back in the day.
From the first notes of the show King was in top form and did not miss a beat. The set list was perfect for what I think the direction of the new album is going. The release of the first single, “Masquerade of Madness” from the upcoming album The Institute, sounded quite reminiscent of The Eye. The set list included two from that 1990 underrated gem, “Behind These Walls,” and “Burn.” Hearing “Voodoo” was a surprise as was “The Lake,” the latter being released as the B-side of the “Halloween” picture disc. The other obvious fan favorites were included; “Out from the Asylum/Welcome Home/The Invisible Guests/Sleepless Nights” and “Funeral/Arrival/Mansion in Darkness.” Once again, King performed these songs as if he had just recorded them. His soaring vocals were pitch perfect every time. I have never heard King this spot on!
The stage show was incredible. The bigger stages King has been performing on have taken the King Diamond live experience to another level. The non vocal interaction between King and actress Jodi Cachia onstage can be hilarious. Livia, no longer on the side of the stage but visible high up next to Matt’s drum riser. The stage had a door in the middle that looked like the cell door of an asylum. That was the door where King was initially rolled out onstage. All of this stage set up has every King fan on edge as to where the story of the new album will take us. Until then, we enjoy the encore songs…”Burn” which leads into what is quite possibly the best metal song on the planet, “Black Horsemen!” I don’t care how many times I hear that song, I still get goosebumps….especially this performance that was dedicated to Timi Holm Hansen (R.I.P.) who just recently passed away from cancer. It was absolutely outstanding to behold.
When the last vocals of the song (and of the night) are sung,
“That’s the end of another lullaby.
“Time has come for me to say Goodnight.”
it truly was the end of the lullaby…and what a lullaby it was. As I said before, I have seen King many times and this show absolutely blew me away. If you get the chance to see King on this current tour, you will not be disappointed. I’ve been a King Diamond fan for over 35 years and I’ve never been more excited to see what comes next for King…to include a Mercyful Fate reunion for some European shows, for now. It would be nice to get some Stateside Fate shows. Whatever happens, the future is still looking quite bright for the King…..Long Live the King!