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King Diamond

Date: 11/13/03
Venue: Tracadero, P.A.
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
I have seen King Diamond before at the Troc and when it comes to venues this one is perfect for him. I wish he always had this size stage to work with for all his stops on tour. This small theater with a high ceiling allows King the space he needs to present his theatrical show in its entirety.

Complete with the iron cemetery fence across the front of the stage, from the opening orchestrations to “Arrival” (opening intro to ‘Abigail”) the mood was set within seconds as King began to recite the words of the track. Many props were used like Abigail and her coffin (where King simulates her demise), two walls fabricated as if the stage was inside a puppet workshop, and Grandma with her wheel chair.

The show was presented like the chapters of a book where each album was introduced by an intro and outro track. For example, “Abigail” and Abigail II” story was taken care of back to back and when done the stage went black before moving into “Eye of the Witch (from “The Eye”). Along with the props was the inclusion of a female actor/dancer, who appears on stage at various times for each of the female characters portrayed in King’s stories. For the story of “Abigail” she is the pregnant mother who gives birth to the evil child Abigail, an unfortunate puppet for his current work “The Puppet Master”, and the twisted old grandmother from the classic tale of “Them”. There is also a simulated burning she befalls during the track “Burn” (from “The Eye”), where lighting, flames, guitar leads, and interaction with King all come together sending the witch to her demise. As the character of Grandma rose from her wheel chair, cane in hand, she roamed around the stage taunting the band members and the crowd.

The musicianship was as precise and choreographed as the theatrics, which is clearly as important as the stage show. Long time guitarist Andy LaRocque and Mike Weed work well together both with their own style while complimenting each other. The boys really sounded strong on “Halloween” where the crunching guitar riffs, pounding drums and bass all came together and even gave me the feeling that the spirit of Mercyful Fate was in the building.

For the final encore the band members all wore Santa hats as did King with Santa robe and a present for the holiday tune “No Presents for Christmas”. He teased the audience as to give the present to someone, taking back, and doing so for the female character of the show who wore a yuletide outfit hoping to receive a gift from Satan Claus, I mean Santa!

I have said it before and I will say it again, King Diamond is a master of creating a horrifying mood and atmosphere, both in music and especially on stage. NO ONE! and I mean NO ONE!, creates like he does (no disrespect to Alice Cooper but face it he creates in a more tongue and cheek fashion compared to King) and I hope some day we will see his stories come to life on the big screen.

Set List:

A Mansion in Darkness
The Family Ghost
Black Horseman
Spare this Life
A Mansion in Sorrow
Eye of the Witch
Sleepless Nights
The Puppet Master
Blood to Walk
So Sad
Welcome Home
The Invisible Guests
No Presents for Christmas

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