King Diamond live in Orlando, FL, 2019

While there are some artists that tour frequently, there are others that a tour is a rare treat, and their legions of fans froth at the mouth to get a glimpse of them live and on the stage. King Diamond definitely fits this to a tee. With his last tour more than five years ago, the announcement of a new tour brought out his fans in droves to snatch up tickets at every venue announced; then add in a new album coming out soon and Christmas has come early to fans of the King. When it was announced that King Diamond would be playing at the Dr. Phillips Center For The Performing Arts in Orlando FL, this instantly became the must have ticket to get.
King Diamond Orlando, FL, 2019 show poster
With fans of King Diamond flooding the entrances to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, a venue usually reserved for more staid events, you just had the feeling that this was going to be a special night. Everyone that passed through the doors had an almost awestruck look on their faces; that tonight they were actually going to get to see King Diamond take the stage.
Throughout the packed house all you could see was the look of excitement. There were even members of Hatebreed, Trivium, and Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge who were all there to pay homage to the King. As the curtain rose on the stage to reveal a three level set that was made up to resemble an eerie decrepit asylum, a nod to his forthcoming album The Institute, instantly you knew this one going to a performance for the ages. At center stage, there were two large wooden doors with bars over the windows that swung open. Two hooded figures rolled out a gurney with a body on it, and then a spotlight came alive to reveal it was King Diamond to the wildly cheering crowd.
Getting off the stretcher, he was dressed in all black with his top hat and trademark face paint. As he walked towards the front of the stage, his band joined him on stage. Guitarist Mike Wead and bassist Pontus Egberg took to one side of the stage while guitarist Andy LaRocque took to the other and drummer Matt Thompson went to his kit perched on the second level of the stage set. They all launched into “The Candle”. From the first note it was obvious… the King was at the top of his game. His voice was in a word, stellar. King Diamond is very much at the top of his game. Holding two bones in the shape of a cross that make up his mic holder he prowled the stage, at times delivering an evil sneer that just added to incredible theatrics that are part of his show. During “Behind These Walls” he made his way up the stairs of the set to the top level while performing the song. What a sight it was, watching him belt out the song to perfection while standing all the way up top of the set under a dimly lit cross. After he made his way down while finishing the song, a taped version of “Funeral” began to play. Then two hooded crew members brought out a coffin with the name Abigail written on the side. In one of the most intense, theatrical moments of the night, King Diamond reached into the coffin to pull out a doll while holding a dagger and reenacted part of his concept album Abigail. After this he launched into a blistering version of “Arrival”.
It is widely known that King Diamond is a generational talent, but he also has wisely assembled incredible musicians to accompany him on his musical journey. His long time guitarist Andy LoRocque and fellow guitarist Mike Wead traded fiery licks all night long. While bassist Pontus Egberg and drummer Matt Thompson delivered the goods to perfection. There is no doubt that King Diamond has assembled one top notch band. While the majority of the night he played his classic songs, he did debut a new song “Masquerade of Madness” from his new record. If this song is any indicator of the new album, “The Institute” will certainly live up to King Diamond’s reputation for putting out only the best. With the passing of Timi Hansen, King Diamond’s bassist from his days in Mercyful Fate and his solo work, he closed out the night by dedicating “Black Horseman” to his recently departed friend. While the crowd roared for more, King Diamond and his band took their bows and waved to the adoring fans.
As the crowd was leaving, there was a huge buzz going on. Everyone was in utter amazement by the show that they had just witnessed. King Diamond has always set a high bar for himself, and tonight he exceeded it. From his spot on vocals to the incredible musicianship of his band, and of course the highly entertaining theatricality that he is also known for, this was a concert that would blow away even the most jaded fan. If you have to travel to catch this event, do it! Otherwise you might have to wait a long while to catch King Diamond.