King Diamond @ B.B. King Blues Club (4/20/2005)

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Artist: King Diamond
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: Nile, Behemoth, Black Dahlia Murder
Date: 4-20-2005
Label: Metal Blade Records

The King Returns!!! Long Live The King!!!! It has been over a year since King Diamond last made the rounds to the City that never sleeps and for two sold-out nights B.B. King Blues Club was the place to be. Joining him would be a truly killer lineup for not only did he arrive with Metal Blade label mates Black Dahlia Murder but also Nile and the mighty Behemoth as well. All bands would be delivering the metal goods this evening. Initially I was surprised that King Diamond, a more “traditional” metal performer would travel with three Death Metal bands, but it all worked out very well in the end.

The evening was started by Behemoth who would be as brutal as the last time that I saw them perform. Their arrival onstage a good 10 minutes before their listed show time made some people miss a song or three but the room was steadily filling and the band performed a good 45 minutes. Given their stage presence and Corpse paint these kings of Death Metal made first band up an odd choice. I think that they have the necessary things to make them the perfect lead in to King Diamonds set. They pummeled the audience with tracks from Demigod and among them “From The Pagan” and “Conquer All” were featured. I was able to get some good shots, but missed when Nergal changed into the garb of the Demigod and I was not able to shoot anything of him. It was an excellent visual, and I think their fans totally ate that up.

Grindcore Pros Black Dahlia Murder came up next and was intense. I don’t know much of their material, but they gave the audience their all, and a whole mess of people seemed to be singing the songs and moshing about the area. Their singer was among the most animate band personnel I have seen in along time. Nile seemed to also be a fan favorite as people were not budging from position when time came for them to play. These Relapse Records artists were also artisans in their craft, and definitely a band I would see again. Their new drummer was featured and he was a powerhouse.

While King Diamond was set to hit the stage at 11:00pm, that came and went with no King. The crowd was definitely getting antsy and it was not until almost 11:30pm when he came out with the promoters and started to talk to the crowd. You could tell he was having serious voice trouble (he has cancelled the Philadelphia show on Monday but was able to perform on Tuesday in NYC). He offered the crowd the chance to get their money back since he was not able to do the show you expect with the falsettos and all, but he would play anyway and not cancel. I felt it was good of him to do this for the audience, but I feel the couple of dozen who took advantage of this offer were messed up. After all, you were able to still see a killer set from Behemoth, BDM and Nile all for $25 bucks and to me whether King played or not you had gotten your money’s worth.

Despite his vocal limitations this evening, King Diamond still puts on one of the most impressive and dramatic shows in the business. It is downright scary when you examine it, but his material falls into a horror aspect anyway so it is perfect. Musically this was as tight as could be with dual guitar wizards Andy LaRoque and Mike Wead doing their mastery. Hal Patino and Matt Johnson holding down the rhythm section as solidly as the last time I saw them. The set would be assisted by the female singer Livia Zita. She handled most of the higher notes for the night and King did his best to still entertain his crazed fans. While King Diamond did not have a new CD to showcase, he did change the set list a little more this time around by adding two Mercyful Fate songs. It is not often that he does this and I was glad to be part of it for the Fate material still holds strong after all these years.

It is my hope that a new King Diamond release comes soon and also a DVD, for this has been discussed by him over the past year. He is a legend in the genre and this needs to be immortalized on video for an even larger audience to experience.

King Diamond Set List:
1. Funeral – Intro
2. Arrival
3. Mansion In Darkness
4. Family Ghost
5. Black Horseman
6. Mansion In Sorrow
7. Come To The Sabbath
8. Eye Of The Witch
9. Blood To Walk
10. So Sad
11. Welcome Home
12. Evil

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