Our review of King Diamond at Fun Fun Fun Fest is a guest post by writer, Miriam Ramirez. Miriam is a former The Monitor staff writer who covered live music for the McAllen-based newspaper prior to relocating to Austin several years ago. Follow Miriam on Twitter: @MiriYum
AUSTIN – In what was tapped as one of the most highly anticipated performances of Fun Fun Fun Fest Saturday night, King Diamond certainly delivered.The corpse-painted heavy metal legend played to a legion of followers and an even greater handful of festival goers experiencing their first King Diamond show.
The band’s final stop of their 19-date United States tour featured a full stage set up, including a giant illuminated pentagram, flanked by two inverted crosses; along with the horror-themed theatrics that makes King Diamond – King Diamond.
When the lights dimmed, the eerie intro notes to “The Candle” were met with a huge roar as King, holding his microphone made of crossbones, emerged at the top of the stairs.
The song, off of his 1986 breakout album, Fatal Portrait, gave the crowd their first taste of the trademark falsetto fans were eager to hear. After undergoing an unexpected triple-bypass in late 2010, which sidelined the front man for the last several years, people wondered if King would even return to the stage much less return with the same intensity in his singing.
“Good evening Austin, Texas,” he said. “How you doing? “Ready to meet my old grandma now,” which they followed with “Welcome Home” (Them, 1987) where King gained even more traction.
The show wasn’t without the ubiquitous Grandma storyline which has long since been a part of the King Diamond catalogue and live show. Whether this was your first or fifth time watching it live, watching actress Jodi Cachia transform into the creepy old lady is still a sight to see.
“I think it’s time we do one from our latest album which is like seven years old,” King said, of their most recent album Give Me Your Soul…Please released in 2007.
Longtime guitarist and collaborator Andy LaRocque glided through each riff with ease, while drummer Matt Thompson gave the crowd reason to pump their fists in the air.(Missing from the lineup was Hal Patino, recently replaced by Swedish musician Pontus Egberg of The Poodles/Zan Clan/Lion’s Share).
Based on the number of Mercyful Fate shirts in the crowd, once the band launched into the opening bar of “Evil” (Melissa, 1983) that nostalgic buzz spread.Fans were pleased to see that King’s second lead-guitarist Mike Wead also continues to pull double duty as part of the Mercyful Fate lineup. (Whether MF will come out of hiatus still remains a mystery).
“So you haven’t forgotten Mercyful Fate, eh?” “You want a little more?” King said, as the band unleashed the obvious crowd favorite “Come to the Sabbath.” (Don’t Break the Oath, 1984)
Following the band’s first encore which included the incinerating of Grandma, and chants of “Burn her! Burn her! Burn her!” came “Halloween” (Fatal Portrait, 1986).The show ended on a high note (forgive the pun) with two back-to-back favorites, “The Family Ghost” and “Black Horsemen” off of Abigail (1987).
“Thank you Austin!” King Diamond said in closing. “Thank you very much.”
In the ever-changing heavy metal music scene, King’s energy and showmanship proved his longevity is real and not one to take lightly.
Never Ending Hill
Let it Be Done (Interlude)
The Puppet Master
Tea/Digging Graves/A Visit From the Dead
Evil (Mercyful Fate)
Come to the Sabbath (Mercyful Fate)
Shapes of Black
At the Graves
Eye of the Witch
The Family Ghost