King Diamond Lays to Rest Abigail LaFey in New York City
"King Diamond — SOLD OUT." For the third consecutive night, King Diamond packed the Playstation Theater in New York City to deliver the 1987 masterpiece Abigail in its entirety along with a few other prized cuts. Bringing Bay Area thrash masters Exodus in tow, the two acts played to a sold out crowd who could not have been more emphatic.
Outside of the venue, King's face was lit up on a digital display with the words "sold out" next to him. Religious protestors lined the streets, attempting to save the souls of those who entered, but the crowd knew the only soul that truly needed saving that night was that of the possessed demon baby Abigail.
Inside the theater, Uriah Heep's "The Wizard" played over the PA before the lights dimmed and the Them opening track "Out From the Asylum" was piped in with the eerily barren piano melody and King's raspy voice. From the first strike of the drumstick, fans erupted as "Welcome Home" and shrieks of "Grandmaaaaaaa!" filled the air as a decrepit, old woman was wheeled on stage. The sound walloped the capacity crowd, immediately transfixing them with a perfectly rehearsed aural assault.
King Diamond ripped into more classics, including "Sleepless Nights," fall-favorite "Halloween" and the chugging fury of "Eye of the Witch" before the painted singer — who was donning the makeup design similar to his original look — exclaimed it was "time for some Mercyful Fate!" The crowd roared and the band played "Melissa" and "Come to the Sabbath," of which the latter has been in rotation with "Evil" during this tour.
Following the two Fate classics, it was time for Abigail. The intro tape "Funeral" poured in from the speakers and a coffin marked "Abigail" was brought onstage. The demon child was nailed to her casket with "one through each arm, hand and knee and let the last of the seven be drawn through her mouth so that she may never rise and cause evil again."
The final 40 minutes of the show saw King Diamond play the album in full, flawless each step of the way sounding no different than they did in the studio 28 years ago. Other than the songs themselves, one of the biggest highlights was watching axemen Andy LaRocque and Mike Wead trade off screaming, surgical solos, demonstrating their elite class of musicianship.
King was in fine form, showing absolutely no signs of being a singer bordering on 60. He was delightfully resigned to one of the most vocally challenging regimens in heavy metal with his glass-shattering voice capable of performing any song in his catalog. Drummer Matt Thompson and bassist Pontus Egberg helped round out the precision performance, holding down the rhythm in devastating fashion. Thompson gave his kit all it could handle with ferocious hits while Egberg brought the low end, accenting Thompson's stick work and rumbling the theater.
The King Diamond experience embraces the visual aspect every bit as much as the aural one, bringing one of the most elaborate stage designs found in the modern era of metal. Two massive inverted crosses hung off to the left and right with an illuminated pentacle with a goat lying inside the southern-pointed star. Staircases bookended the stage, connecting a platform above the drum riser, which was decorated with iron gates. Backdrops were swapped in and out to reflect certain parts of the set list, varying from King's face to a demon to a church, helping provide even more of a visual to the band's already haunting aesthetics.
Opening the show were Exodus, who brought the crowd to a frenzy before King Diamond hit the stage. Mixing in new songs like "Blood In, Blood Out" and "Body Harvest," Exodus got the floor moving, despite playing without famed guitarist Gary Holt, who is touring Europe with Slayer. Not a moment went by without fans circling the pit to the thrash veterans' riff mania. Satisfied with the circle pit, singer Steve 'Zetro' Souza upped the ante, orchestrating the pit-favorite, wall of death.
Closing out strong, the second half of Exodus' set comprised of the stomping "Black List," "Bonded by Blood," the pit anthem "Toxic Waltz" and, to end their night, "Strike of the Beast." Zetro thanked the crowd for their support the last three nights in New York and pumped the crowd up for King Diamond, whom the band were just as excited to see as the fans.
Check out photos from the show in the gallery above!
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