On Wednesday night the lunatics took over the asylum in the best possible way as Danish metal legend King Diamond descended on Vancouver for a spectacular show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. 

To be honest heading into the show I was a little confused as to why the Queen Elizabeth would be the venue for this show, it is not traditionally the home for a great many metal shows.  However, there are very few metal shows that lay on the kind of performance that Kind Diamond deliver. 

As is the lot of many support bands Idle Hands and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats unfortunately were playing to a half empty venue, which was all the more apparent due to the size of the hall. However, both bands delivered. Idle Hands having made the trip up from Portland seemed to tempt a number of fans to make the trip too, adding a personal touch to their set. Whilst the Idle Hands set was full of colour ( or at least colourful smoke effects surrounding guitarist Sebastian Silva, which resulted in one of my favourite images this year – thanks guys 😊 ), the set from Uncle Acid was visually darker and more brooding.  Both bands however provided some solid guitar driven rock, which was a great precursor to the main event. 

Although this was my first time seeing Kind Diamond, I knew enough going into the show to have expectations of something larger than life. The band have a reputation for delivering a theatrical performance, and lead singer Kim Petersen ( aka King Diamond ) himself has an incredible vocal range. I would not have long to wait before seeing for myself. 

With the sound of Uriah Heep’s “The Wizard”, followed by St Lucifer’s Hospital setting the stage the curtain lifted on a dystopian image of a derelict mental asylum, and Kind Diamond being wheeled out of what looked like dungeon on a wheelchair, supported by some rather dodgy looking nurses. This really set the tone for the entire show.  The three-level background was used extensively throughout the show, which was as much a theatrical event as a concert. 

Throughout the night we were treated to evil looking nuns, witches burning at the stake, strange monk like figures, and through it all King Diamond strung the various pieces and scenes together to a backdrop of incredible music. 

Songs from the Fatal Portrait book-ended the main set, which opened with the haunting sounds of The Candle, and closed with the madness of The Lake.  In between the band played songs from across their back catalog.  Notable standouts for me as a first timer were Arrival, which saw poor Abigail being brought out onto the stage for some ritual abuse, as well as the first three songs from 1988’s Them, which has fast become a favourite of mine. Out of the Asylum, Welcome Home and The invisible Guests work well when performed back to back. 

The show ended out with blowout versions of Burn and Black Horsemen, which perfectly closed out a stunning show. 

I am hoping that it will not be such a long wait until the King is back on his Vancouver throne, I am sure his many subjects will be eagerly waiting. 

Photos: Stewart Johnstone 

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