Photo Credit: Steve Trager
It’s hard to pinpoint the brilliant musical success of King Diamond after establishing himself as a solo artist for over twenty years and his career thus far being nothing short of stellar. Many diehard fans know his distinct voice from the days of Mercyful Fate, which propelled King Diamond into a solo phenomenon behind the painted mask that has been a mystery for decades. Many fans had a chance to catch this band performing across Europe alongside some legendary iconic names over the summer of 2019. Captivating many of the well-known rock festivals across the globe was a great indication that King Diamond would give North American fans a treat when he announced a short run of dates called ‘The Institution Tour.’
To kick off the concert was the band Idle Hands from Portland Oregon, a five-piece powerhouse that certainly provided a fantastic six-song set from their debut effort Mana, which is absolutely worthy listening to if you’re a fan of heavy metal music. After a quick stage change, the direct support of the ‘The Institution Tour’ followed, U.K. punk rockers Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. The punk rock group entertained the legendary Tower Theater for around eight or so songs. Once the curtain dropped the final preparations were being made during a 25-minute intermission, and then finally the lights went out and sound started to fill the speakers of the Tower Theater.
The curtain lifted and the entertainment took over! The stage was visually phenomenal. The creative display was set up like a vintage hospital. The visual special effects really added to the full concert experience and took what could have been a “typical show” and made it so much more. In addition to the stage visuals, they added special effects including a spectacular light show and smoke machines. While it’s been more than ten years since the mastermind King Diamond has released new material, he makes up for the lack of music with a great live experience despite no new songs.
Out comes King Diamond strapped to a gurney with an IV. The “dead” rock star suddenly comes alive and a bit confused as he throws himself off the gurney and the show begins to unfold with the opening song from 1986’s album Fatal Portrait titled “The Candle”. Other fan favorites were pulled from 1990’s The Eye with tracks like “Behind These Walls” among the cult classics like “Halloween” and songs from the album Voodoo. Diamond continued spanning his entire catalog throughout his set list like a history lesson in music. It’s always refreshing when an artist references where it all began for them going forward. Kind Diamond yelled out to a packed house, “It’s nice to back where it all started for me with Mercyful Fate.”
The energy and the performance of the well-rounded musicians on this tour made for a fantastic show, complete with one new song called “Masquerade of Madness” that was performed as a teaser from an upcoming 2020 new album release titled The Institution. Rounding out the night, King Diamond unleashed two amazing encores from relics in his catalog. The first track up was the song “Burn” followed by “Black Horsemen” from the 1987 release of Abigail. This was a heartfelt dedication of the recent passing this year of his former bassist from Mercyful Fate, Timi Hensen. All in all, it was certainly a high energy show with many stellar songs that have made this individual more than just a performer, he is deserving of the title as king and it is safe to say that King Diamond won’t be getting dethroned anytime soon.
Written by: Steve Trager
CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO CHECK OUT OUR GALLERY OF KING DIAMOND: