For 32 years, the legendary King Diamond have put on some of the most original and off the wall theatrical stage shows in metal, as well as produce some of the very material that would come to influence metal giants like Metallica, Megadeath and Slayer just to name a few. But there were a few of the metal community that made it out to show their allegiance including Frank Novinec of Hatebreed, Corey Beaulieu of Trivium and Mark Tremonti of Alter-Bridge and Creed.
Even at the age of 63, Kind Diamond’s vocal command and range would give singers half his age a run for their money. The Danish born singer shows no sign of slowing down with his newest album The Institute, to be released next year and a brutal 23 city tour stretching just over a month. But tonight, Orlando will get it’s chance to take a trip to St. Lucifer’s Hospital and pray… to make it out alive!
While the Uriah Heep classic “The Wizard” plays to the dark theater, it is barely heard over the thunderous cheers and applause from the fans in their seats. As the song ends, the upside down cross illuminates and the lights start to turn on around the basement of the hospital just in time to see door number 9 open by a ominous figure in a black cloak. As he turns around, there lie King Diamond himself being delivered to the stage. Upon waking up dazed and confused, he flips a switch on the wall which not only sets off the alarm, but brings the rest of the band out of the shadows.
Andy LaRocque (Guitar), Mike Wead (Guitar), Pontus Egberg (Bass), Matt Thompson (Drums) and the Queen Diamond herself, Livita Zita on backup vocals stand around the massive structure and explode into “The Candle” off the bands epic 1987 album Abigail. It would also not take long for “grandma” actress and Kind Diamond staple Jodi Cachia to show up in full nun costume to prepare the sacrament, just as King Diamond tears pages out a the holy book and scares her back into the depths of the institute.
With “The Candle” and then “Behind These Walls” off 1990’s The Eye kicking off the show, it was a tornado of shredding guitars and a furious rhythm sections. King Diamond himself as everyone already knows has the ability to take his voice from the stage straight through the roof and back in a single bar and not even break a sweat. Longtime original guitar player Andy LaRocque can smoke up a guitar neck as fast as any player I’ve seen and sounds as solid as he did thirty-five years ago.
One of the highlights of the show was King Diamond playing their first new song in twelve years with “Masquerade of Madness” which was released shortly after this show. The bands newest LP The Institute is the first part of two and as of now, there is no info on the follow up. The track has those token chunky triplet riffs that I dare you not to head bang to while the King belts out those octaves that have you just saying “How in the hell does he do that?”. If this one song is even an inkling to what we can look forward to, we will all be agreeing that it’s well worth the wait. Now, back to the show!
As the “Out of the Asylum” audio track plays, the moment had arrived for Grandma to make her appearance. As the elder woman is pushed out in her wheel chair you could hear fans scream out “OH SHIT, THERE SHE IS!” making her I dare say, almost as notorious as the King himself. Even though she first made her cameo back in 1988 in the classic “Welcome Home” video, Jodi Cachia has been the woman behind the iconic mask for twenty-one years. Watching her creep around the stage, humped over with that cane mocking LaRocque as he solo was nothing short of gold. But it’s her interaction with King throughout the whole song that steals the show.
After “The Lake” wraps up the set, the band heads off stage but the lights around the institution stay dimly lit. After a minute the chants of “KING” start soft but picked up momentum quickly with the claps getting faster and heavier with every pass. And then that dark raspy voice rings through the P.A. with “Are you sure you want some more? Cuz we’re not done yet ya know”. As the band reconvene on stage, they waste no time and dive right into “Burn” giving Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead another opportunity to riff out while Jodi Cachia played the violin and tossed her skirt around atop St. Lucifer’s Hospital.
As Andy LaRocque starts the acoustic intro to the famous Kind Diamond track “Black Horseman”, King dedicates the song to former bass player Timi Hansen who most didn’t know, had just passed away the night before this show. To close out the set with this song just put the exclamation point on just an amazing show. The crowd were on their feet cheering their favorite band since many of them were kids. This was my first King Diamond show and I’ll be brutally honest, I am kicking myself in the ass as I write this review for never getting out to a show before. For all those reading this that either know the band but have never seen them live or have just never heard of them. Be better then me and get your ass in a seat, strap in and enjoy one of the best shows you’ll ever bare witness to!