October 28, 2014 King Diamond sets Paramount Theatre ablaze Denver, CO 10-24-14
All hail the king, the king has returned! That would be the call to war in Denver, Colorado on October 24th at the famed Paramount Theatre. A small army of Metal’s most loyal and outspoken fans descended on the venue to witness King Diamond and company’s return to North America. Heralded as a cornerstone pillar of the Metal music foundation, King Diamond was not one’s usual Metal band. Many would say that Iron Maiden was the true champion of concept albums; obviously this theory was never put to the test with King Diamond’s discography. In fact, the only album that could be argued is not a concept album would be their initial debut in 1985 entitled Fatal Portrait. From the hair-raising tale of the cursed soul of stillborn Abigail on 1987 album Abigail to the thought-provoking history lesson in Christian persecution on so-called “witches” with 1990’s The Eye; King Diamond constantly challenged his listeners and scaring the living daylight out of them in the same breath. With a career mounted on awards, recognitions, and honorary nominations, it did not come without tribulations. In 2010, King Diamond, after a series of heart attacks, was rushed to a hospital in need of a triple bypass surgery. While many would call that the end of the road to touring, His Infernal Majesty has come back, and on that night come back he did.
As the lights faded away, King Diamond’s set slowly came to life; creeping up was the lit Baphomet hailing the band’s arrival. As the band began to make its way to the stage to the soundtrack of eerie music, the fans went mad. For any true King Diamond fan, though expected, the arrival of the King’s lifetime partner in crime Andy LaRocque sent a flurry through the crowd. Minus Hal Patino, this line up was the same as on King Diamond’s epic 2007 release Give Me Your Soul…Please with Matt Thompson crashing the drums, Mike Wead coupling Andy on guitar, and Pontus Edburg grinding on bass. How appropriate it is that the song they began the night’s journey was the track that opened the original fans’ experience with the band in general, “The Candle.” Hard to believe, but after twenty-nine years, a heart attack, and a well known smoking habit, the King’s vocals has not lost a single step, propelling you right back to the start of it all. The band’s dynamic was seamless and flawless, feeding off each other; every chord seemed to shift the very foundation of the venue. For all those who have kept up with King Diamond through the years, the epic return of “Grandma” during the song “Welcome Home” only further sent the old school fans into a pure state of nostalgia. However, the journey down memory lane did not end there as the band tore the crowd a new one with two perfectly done Mercyful Fate songs “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath.” Though they could have closed out the night upon the notes of “Eye of the Witch,” the band went for it all with two encores featuring three tracks in “Cremation,” “The Family Ghost,” and “Black Horseman,” leaving all without breath, sore necks, and hoarse voices.
Hard to believe this force has been reaping their audiences’ souls for almost thirty years, but King Diamond proved they can do it and they are far from slowing down. A masterful evening of haunting music, memories, and enriching the senses still seem to be understating the return of this juggernaut to Denver. One is left with truly only two thoughts walking away from the show. First, “Who do they need to pay off in order to get to the band’s next gig and witness it again?” Next, “When wiill unholy force of King Diamond be putting out its next masterpiece?”