When the houselights switched off the pent up anticipation, worship, and excitement that everyone in the room had been feeling exploded. When King appeared onstage a lot of people.. for lack of a better term.. lost their shit.
I'll come clean and say I've never been a big fan of King's solo material. Mercyful Fate were and are one of the most important bands in my life... but I never gravitated towards King's other material as profoundly. Honesty is my only excuse. However, the stage show was one of most theatrical Metal performances (in a good way) that you could hope to witness. Since King is such a larger than life figure, the fact that he was able to bring his full European stage production here in 2014 was nothing short of a blessing. From the cemetery gates that divided the band from the audience for the first songs, to the simple iconic backdrops, to the excellent multi-level backline it was a show I can only imagine was life changing for the youngest fans in attendance.
Combine that with some entertaining theatrical moments with characters such as Grandma (!) during 'Welcome Home' and later her burning during 'Cremation' and it was one of the best value for money shows you could hope for in this day and age. More Metal shows should have magic tricks onstage IMO! Of course, on top of all this magic was King and his top notch band of veteran musicians. They were all solid and King sounded GREAT! Given his recent health issues, it would be easy to expect King not to be able to perform to the same level of his past and cut him some slack... but there was obviously a reason why he's waited so long to return to the stage. Recovery. Rebirth. His voice was top notch and his charisma was still undeniable... and when he and the band launched into a Mercyful Fate double shot of 'Evil' into 'Come To The Sabbath' the 3,000 or so in attendance.. for lack of a better term.. lost their shit. As a bonus since it was that time of year, the set also included an especially nice version of 'Halloween' during the encores.
If you bought one of every King Diamond merch item you would have paid around $300 I think. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. I don't know what else to say... and I also don't think I said enough. King has been one of my heroes since before I could buy alcohol legally and it's a special thing to know that one of my heroes is still basically at the top of his game.
"Grandma, welcome home.. You have been gone for far too long.. Is this a dream? Are you really back?"
Click HERE to see more of Photo Ray's shots from the night!