KING DIAMOND – LIVE AT THE KENTISH TOWN FORUM – TUESDAY 21ST JUNE 2016
10 out of 10
One of the things I love about metal shows is all the different band t-shirts the gig-goers are wearing, fans of all genres brought together for their love of one band in particular, but I don’t think I have seen such an array of t-shirts as I did on Tuesday night in London for the King Diamond show. There was everything from Cannibal Corpse to Emperor, from Judas Priest to Mayhem, with even Kiss, The Scorpions and Led Zeppelin popping up here and there, proving just how popular this guy really is.
Born in 1956 in Copenhagen, Denmark, King Diamond has had a career spanning more than thirty years and his onstage antics reflect his real-life practising of Satanism, not so much a religion to him but a philosophy he has lived by since reaching a point in his life where he had “completely given up believing in anything religious.”
A triple heart by-pass in late 2010 meant all his musical projects at the time were put on hold but he was back onstage in December 2011 supporting Metallica’s 30th anniversary. He has not looked back since and having seen King Diamond just once previously, as the Friday headliner at Bloodstock Open Air festival in 2013, buying a ticket for this gig was a no-brainer. I am not the world’s biggest King Diamond fan but he put on such a damn good show then, I was sure he would again, and he did.
I arrived at the venue, the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, with a couple of songs remaining from the support band, Angel Witch, and I was amazed at the amount of people there. I know Angel Witch are not just any support band but with the venue almost full for the support, how on earth would any more people fit in for the main event?
With Angel Witch vacated from the stage, their backdrop remained up, hiding the multitude of work going on behind it. One thing this gig promised, if Bloodstock was anything to go by, was a fantastic stage set.
And it didn’t disappoint. Depicting the hallway area of the large mansion house in which the album “Abigail” is set, the drumkit was surrounded by a huge double ended staircase and balcony, huge gargoyles perched on top of stone look pillars, the wrought ironwork good enough for any stately home. Large inverted crucifixes lit up the back drop and the whole stage was given an eerie feeling with spectacular lighting and special effects.
Then, to the sound of Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, we waited, and waited, the crowd finally erupting with cheers and whistles as “Out From The Asylum” from the album “Them” kicked off the show.
With two more songs from that album, “Welcome Home” and “Them”, “Sleepless Nights” from “Conspiracy”, “Halloween” from “Fatal Portrait” and “Eye of the Witch” from “The Eye”, that was four of his most popular albums covered, and with a couple of Mercyful Fate tracks “Melissa” and “Come to the Sabbath” thrown in for good measure, any King Diamond fan could have left then and still be happy.
But the fans had come for something more. They wanted to hear “Abigail”, the band’s first concept album and a story about ghosts, possession and demons, in its entirety and in all its glory, and that is what they got. With actors playing the parts of Miriam Natias and Jonathan La’fey, the two main characters, and King Diamond, himself, acting out various scenes, the fans were treated to an aural and visual spectacular.
Musically, the band were note perfect, each member performing their part immaculately and King, known for his extensive vocal range especially falsetto, was on top form, sounding almost like his vocals had been lifted straight from the cd.
There is nothing I can say that could fault this performance. I, alas, didn’t know every single track but this cannot take away from what a fabulous gig this was. The venue must have been almost at its capacity of 2,300 and I am sure that the 2,299 true King Diamond fans there went home very happy indeed.
I, personally, would have liked to see it at a different venue, the layout not allowing for everyone to witness fully the visual displays on offer, but all in all it was a great night and well worthy of a 10 out of 10.