King Diamond The Wiltern 11/5/15
Less than a week after Halloween, heavy metal's iconic, singer Diamond brought his Abigail 2015 tour to LA, with two exclusive shows at the Wiltern Theater, November 5th and 6th.
The tour, featured a warm up by Bay area thrash veterans Exodus, followed by a set of classic King Diamond songs, and an amazing performance of the classic concept album, Abigail (1987).
The air outside the Wiltern was brisk for once at night as the lines of metalheads marched toward the venues avoiding bootleg t-shirt hustlers, scalpers and the bacon wrapped hot dog carts. Exodus took the stage around 7:45 p.m. From the onset, the band's classic plan of attack was a fast, lightning speed assault of speed metal. As a pioneering force of early thrash speed metal, the band's legacy has not been forgotten, despite the numerous lineup changes, and exits of certain band members. The spirit of the band may be still be focused on the '80s, but the music was definitely kept alive, as singer Steve Zetro Sousa encouraged people to pit and keep the high energy level at a constant.
After asking who in the crowd had never seen Exodus live, he pointed out several of the older people in the audience , and thanked them for also bringing their kids. "It's the only way we can keep this shit alive man, I love it!!!" he yelled, just before the band launched into the song, "Vlad the Impaler." Other tunes that had the slam pit rotating included the mandatory hits like "Toxic Waltz," "Bonded by Blood," and the final song, "Strike of the Beast." Notably missing was guitarist Gary Holt, who apparently is overseas touring with Slayer.
Despite this, by the time Exodus was done people were wanting more, and some were yelling 'EXODUS!' But the band exited and it was time to set up for the headliner, King Diamond. As the lights and stage was constructed, people waited in long ass lines for the restrooms, and paid for their $16 large beers during this time. We witnessed one group buying $83 worth in drinks for 5 people, not including tip.
By 9:15 p.m., the lights went out and people were screaming loud as Hell. The elaborate enormous stage show is amazing. King Diamond's entire set was encompassed by live dancers, characters, hooded figures, and a grand staircase, with lights and flashes all spaced throughout the two giant lit up inverted crosses.
Despite the fact that King Diamond went through some very serious health issues in the past several years that were almost life threatening, his stage presence, crowd banter, and vocal range have not suffered. The evil demeanor, and wicked facial expressions as well as his literal cross bone microphone make him one of the most exciting performers in heavy metal, and live music in general. He is considered to be one of metal's greatest high-pitched singers and performers. From the beginning of his career with Mercyful Fate, the King has been producing music based on Satanic and occult themes, which have shaped and influenced so many heavy metal bands and genres. From thrash metal, death metal, power metal, and black metal, almost all subgenres owe respect to King Diamond. Guitarist Andy LaRocque, who has been with King Diamond since the beginning of his solo career, threw down his spell casting guitar magical skills and rhythms, for songs like 'Sleepless Nights,' 'Halloween,' 'Eye of the Witch,' and the Mercyful Fate songs 'Evil' and 'Melissa.'
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King Diamond and his band exited the stage, after this song, but less than a couple of minutes later appeared for the performance of the concept record Abigail, a chronicle about the ghost of a little girl who haunts a couple in the 1880s. A pale woman with long dark hair and big eyes played the part of Abigail and the album was acted out song by song, from the opening track of 'Funeral' to the last track 'Black Horsemen,' King Diamond's vocals were on point, to the note(with the assistance of a female background singer in the corner for the extra high pitch parts).
Fans were loving the album's darker paranormal nuances which were filled with traditional metal and slightly thrash influenced bits of death and black metal slowed down and played with soul and passion. Head banging was never so romantic and eerie. No one is better at matching up menacing sound with beautiful melodies like King Diamond. The middle of the album, and songs like 'Omens,' 'The Family Ghost' and 'The Possession,' saw the night's most ferocious slam pits, with rabid metal heads, thrashers and black metal dudes simultaneously head banging and shoving into each other, in response to the loud evil music coming from King Diamond's sinister, interstellar performance.