King Diamond @ City National Grove – 12/03/2019
Heavy Metal legend King Diamond made his triumphant return to the stage for a 23 date trek across North America in November/December 2019. Supporting his new single “Masquerade of Madness” (to be included in his 2020 release The Institute), this marks his first shows in this part of the world since Mayhem Fest and his Abigail Tour in 2015. In the support slot, Idle Hands and Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats have been making new fans as they take the stage prior to King Diamond each night.
The King Diamond performance began with The King being wheeled out onstage in a hospital bed before “awaking” and grabbing his microphone (yes he still uses the femur bone and a tibia bone in the shape of a cross) and blasting into a haunting rendition of “The Candle” which immediately had the capacity crowd head-banging. The stage was similar to his 2015 tour with large staircases on each side going up to a platform high above spanning the width of the stage giving you the feeling you were indeed in an institute.
While King Diamond is the focal point while on stage, his backing band consists of a group of first class musicians, each a master at their respective instruments. One of the most underrated guitarists in heavy metal, Andy LaRocque has been with King since the beginning and truly rips each solo with fire. LaRocque’s six-string partner Mike Wead now 17 years into his tenure with King Diamond alternates leads and solos with LaRocque making for a guitar duo worthy of anyone’s top 10 list. Bassist Pontus Egberg has been a welcome addition to the band since his arrival in 2014 as he plays with extreme passion and energy. And drummer Matt Thompson pounds as hard as any heavy metal drummer out there as he anchors the band high upon his drum riser. King Diamond’s wife and business partner Livia Zita also provides backup vocals on stage while actress Jodi Cachia plays various characters throughout the show including the part of Grandma during “Welcome Home”. While The King brings the shrieking vocals, there is some serious talent backing him onstage.
Abigail made an appearance as King Diamond held her up during “The Funeral” before putting her in a coffin and going into “The Arrival” off the critically acclaimed concept album Abigail. The setlist was cleverly put together varying from his last two tours across the states – there were no Mercyful Fate songs, all were King Diamond heavy hitters. Noticeably King Diamond’s makeup also differed from the last couple of tours, this time resembling more of a modern day black-metal corpse paint. The King’s voice remains in top form as he belted out the falsetto high’s with ease. His vocal range as he works through all his songs is truly astonishing and not only makes him one of the elite vocalists in metal but of any genre.
The theatrics that accompany many songs just add to the overall experience of a King Diamond show. Grandma made her appearance; a patient wearing a mask was present for “Masquerade of Madness” – a nice touch to help tell the story of various songs throughout the night. A two song encore consisted of “Burn” and then King Diamond dedicated “Black Horsemen” to the late Timi Hansen who played bass in both Mercyful Fate and King Diamond who sadly passed away on November 4, 2019 of cancer (RIP).
King Diamond successfully treated Anaheim to a 90 minute heavy metal horror show that was as spectacular as ever – King Diamond and his band show NO signs of slowing down as we all await the 2020 release of The Institute and then possibly a Merfcyful Fate North American Tour sometime after.
While this tour has officially ended, King Diamond should be on eveyone’s list to see live. If you are only a casual King Diamond fan and on the fence about seeing him live – DO IT – you will walk way a die-hard fan and never look back. All Hail The King !
The Candle | Behind These Walls | Funeral | Arrival | A Mansion in Darkness | Let It Be Done | Voodoo | Halloween | Masquerade of Madness | Out From the Asylum | Welcome Home | The Invisible Guests | Sleepless Nights | The Lake
Encore: Burn | Black Horsemen
King Diamond Photo Gallery: