For someone who has led an incredibly sheltered life, I've had the unusual distinction of seeing King Diamond live in concert six times. That's right. Six! As in 666 mutha fucka.
Back in 1989-90, on the cusp of high school/college days, I saw him three times. Once at the South Hills Theater in Pittsburgh and then twice at Bogart's in Cincinnati. During the final show, I witnessed this guy die right in front of me. He got "karate kicked" in the chest. And it wasn't by this arrogant prick ---
Seriously, who the hell does this guy think he is? Was his honor so thoroughly decimated that it was necessary to slice the throat of innocent geisha-girl Kumiko (as if he was a barbaric ISIS terrorist from Ramadi)? Please don't ask me how I knew the correct spelling of her name.
Fortunately, Danielson was able to get the best of him with a well-timed, dexterously administered honkkkk!
Hey, he learned it from the master.
I could've given you the 4 second Mayagi honk-clip. I mean, I found the abbreviated version. And to be honest, it's usually preferable from a blogging perspective. But there's so much to be learned from observing his "passive defense, avoidance technique." And then just when you think Mr. Mayagi is going to kill this heartless bastard, he pulls off that enduring/endearing honky schnozer. Shazam!
If you wish to read about the harrowing death at Bogart's, it's in my odd-oh biography.
Now if Mr. Mayagi is the king of karate, then I shalt proclaim King Diamond as the king of satanic heavy metal. I believe that's a fair analogy. Ozzy, Ronnie James, that Ghoul with no name... they all pale in comparison. None of them are fit to hold King Diamond's jock (strap).
Hey, King is getting up there. I checked. He's 59. But if you ask me, he doesn't look a day over 45 (my age).
So here's what you may or may not find interesting. I basically took a 25-year break from indulging in K.D. Really didn't have much of a say in the matter. He pretty much stopped touring in the United States. Then, out of nowhere, he comes to Pittsburgh 3 times in the span of a year. Two shows at Stage AE and he also played runner-up to Slayer at one of those all-day metal mayhem festivals. Now that's a helluva lotta King Diamond. It's the televised entertainment equivalent of being repeatedly drugged and raped by Bill Cosby.
So I skipped the opener and went to Bettis Grille (mainly to piss but then thought I'd kill some time). Had a 10 buck Dewars and a 10 buck chicken quesadilla appetizer. Both were stellar.
I won't delve into an exhaustive review of the concert or the pregame. For those who care... yes, I did sneak a plastic water bottle of red wine into the venue. It's just too easy. I gotta be honest --- when I don't sneak it in, I kinda feel like a failure. Even if I was teetotaler (always hated that word), I'd still do it. I will now share my top-secret methodology. Before heading in, surreptitiously place the bottle beside the metal fence on the perimeter of the outdoor smoking area. Enter the venue. Go immediately to the outdoor patio and embrace the legions of tobacco exhaling filth. Retrieve bottle. If confronted by the dutiful Stage AE staff, just pretend you have a physical disability.
As I was saying, there will be no laborious concert review. It's King Diamond. You either get his operatic, growling brand of "Scandinavian satanism" or you don't. There ain't much of a middle ground.
However, some brief observations:
1. Much smaller crowd than last year. I'd say about 1,200 instead of the somewhere in the range of 2,200.
2. I enjoyed this show significantly more than last time. Of course, he performed the Abigail LP in its entirety, so we got to hear some hidden gems (particularly The 7th Day of July 1777 and Abigail).
3. Gained a new appreciation for lead guitarist Andy LaRocque.
Is it just me or does this guy bear a striking resemblance to Dwight Schrute?
4. Ran into the venerable Ted Cromwell and his buddy. Demonstrated my famed "garbage can, VIP-cordoning-off technique." But it wasn't really necessary due to the sparse crowd. Now this is one I refuse to share with the general public. Regardless, it's pretty much self-explanatory.
So if you can get past the bizarre concert narratives (harassment of an elderly grandma, disposal of an aborted fetus, various accessories being skull-fucked and so on), King Diamond is easily one of the more musically viable acts on the metal continuum. Back in the late 80's, you really couldn't compare him to anything. But in a strange way, the quality of the music reminds me of Ratt, Dokken, etc. Some of the superior bands that played second fiddle to Aunt Jovi, Motley Crud, etc. Different and distinct genres... but the songs remain the same.
Anyway, the highlight of the night came for me at the conclusion of the show. I asked the sound guy if I could have a copy of the set list. And lo and behold... he bestowed upon me this sacred text.
Now here's a thought. Put all future set lists into some kind of Dead Sea Scroll format... on parchment paper or lamb scrotum or whatever. Now THAT would make for a concert memento. Bonus point if it has a stain of blood, maybe part of a pre-concert ritualistic slaughter.
Out of all the setlists I've snagged, this one ranks pretty close to the top. Seriously, you can't do much better than... wheelchair in / wheelchair out, goat up / goat down, coffin in / coffin out.
Fuckin' "GOAT UP, GOAT DOWN." Now that's what I'm talkin' about!