Thursday night was one of classics in Dallas. The stage was set across town as JUDAS PRIEST would start a little earlier than KING DIAMOND on the same evening (bad scheduling by the Powers That Be, there). Given the choice on which one I would cover I wholeheartedly accepted KING. I’ve been an admirer of his for quite some time but have never had the opportunity to see his live show. I had no idea what I was in for.
The venue was at near capacity this evening as the intro for “The Candle” a song off of DIAMOND’S debut album started off the setlist. Drummer Matt Thompson made his way onto the stage followed by Mike Wead, Pontus Egberg, and Andy LaRocque. The setup was huge and had a large fence as if to represent the courtyard of a demonic church with upside-down crosses lighting up on opposite corners, dual staircases lead to the centerpiece that adorned a huge pentagram which loomed directly above Thompson’s drum set.
The crowd recited every word “Seven years have gone, it can no longer be left undone…” while DIAMOND made his way onto the stage adorned in his black and white face paint as well as his long black coat top hat and upside-down cross necklace. Bone-festooned microphone in one hand he used his free had to gesture, inciting the crowd to sing along and they did. This was as much crowd participation as I’d seen in quite some time.
“Welcome Home” introduced “Granny” wheelchair and all, to the crowd. The fence was removed and two of DIAMOND’S more recent offerings “Never Ending Hill” and “The Puppet Master” followed as a harlequin dressed harlot sat as if waiting for the master himself to guide her every move. He shouted out to the crowd, “One of my favorites is tea!” as he waited for Granny to bring him a small tea kettle as he took a healthy sip from a small cup. There was a short potpourri of songs mixed in “Tea”, “Digging Graves”, and “A Visit from the Dead” prior to revisiting his days in MERCYFUL FATE which feature covers of both “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath”.
“Shape of Black”, “At the Graves”, and “Eye of the Witch” closed out the main setlist, which all in all would have been considered a successful evening but the crowd demanded more. After a short pause DIAMOND came out to join them. Throughout the evening several small changes were made to the stage setting without a pause in the action. KING looked at the crowd and said “it’s a little too bright in here, let’s make it dark” and with that a large part of the stage became just that: dark, a noticeable change to a setting that had been noticeably bright.
A large red coffin now adorned the stage as the intro for “Cremation” rung out and Granny would soon meet her fate. “Halloween” closed out the first encore of the evening. KING and his falsetto croon however weren’t done, as the nearly 60-year old DIAMOND came back out with band in tow and proceeded to introduce “his family” on which included Denton resident Matt Thompson. The evening’s second encore came to a close with “The Family Ghost”, “Black Horseman”, and “Insanity”.
Thursday evening at the House of Blues Dallas was a testament that no matter how old you are or think you are, you can still be considered a hot ticket: KING DIAMOND is living proof. He could probably give any up and coming band a run for their money with a stage show that rivals larger acts and a voice that doesn’t seem to dampen or wane in the slightest.
Never Ending Hill
Let It Be Done
The Puppet Master
Tea / Digging Graves / A Visit from the Dead
Evil (Mercyful Fate cover)
Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate cover)
Shapes of Black
At the Graves
Eye of the Witch
The Family Ghost