With King Diamond, every night is Halloween. Couple this with the opening night of King Diamond’s the Institute North American 2019 Tour at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, the city he calls home and it’s a Halloween Weekend Night one will ever forget.
Long lines of King Diamond faithful followers were already growing on the western and eastern sides of the venue long before the sun started to set on the night that clocks would fall back an hour.
Portland’s Idle Hands clad in all black including black Aviator sunglasses delivered their brand of goth-inspired heavy metal. At times, the five-piece displayed a Ramones vibe but with plenty of mobility freedom left to right with a generous amount stage room and small risers.
Strange thou as the band’s set proceeded through their allotted time, the black aviators would be shed song by song until only the vocalist was sporting the lone remaining pair.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats
England’s Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats brought a differing breed of music to the stage. Being highly influenced by the late 1960’s post – flower power heavy metal, the four-piece elected to have nonstop video footage on a large, bright white hanging projection screen behind the band.
With the band’s logo ever-present on the screen, footage of the Summer of Love, motorcycles, robots, nuns, occult rituals, as well as mirrored images of the vocalist/guitarist Uncle Acid (Kevin R. Starrs) enhanced by psychedelic special effects was constant.
During the band’s entire set, front stage lights were not used, just small white spots and several varying colors were utilized backlighting the band through their entire set. The use of front white lighting would white and overpower the images on the projection screen. The constant backlighting help in adding the uniqueness to the band’s set.
Unfortunately, the band’s sound was louder than normal with an unbalanced sound that made their set unpleasant at times.
As the stage set came to life, the line for King Diamond merch stretched from the entrance to roughly three quarters back parallel with the general admission near the stage. It was an amazing visual to witness from the second level.
The set change leading up to King Diamond’s arrival was quick and efficient revealing their tri-level stage of an aging mental asylum revealing what would be the Halloween setting for the night. A small white antique hospital bed was tucked to the right on the second level, full-length mirrors and a medical observation surgical light positioned slightly to the right of the set door positioned in the center.
Those with an eye for detail would notice King Diamond’s signature microphone inverted and firmly attached to the left of the door.
King Diamond Returns
Blackness fell over the crowd as Uriah Heep’s “The Wizard” began to play in its entirety leading the crowd to wondering how King Diamond would make his entrance. Anticipation was running high for King Diamond’s arrival to the stage. His entrance was nothing short of spectacular.
A lone yellow light illuminated the door as it slowly opened to a room of yellow fog and King Diamond positioned upward on surgical table. An individual clad in a black hooded cloak slowly wheeled him out to the massive approval of fans as Dr. Wilson was notified of his arrival to the asylum cellar which was stage level. Crashes of thunder disrupted King Diamond from his slumber where he slowly stepped foot on the stage amid backpain.
Pulling down the large lever switch, King Diamond signaled the asylum alarm as he slowly made his way to his microphone. Band members appeared evenly spaced on the second level with the Matt Thompson’s kit center between them.
As King Diamond utter “Welcome to the Institution, he slowly turned back looking upwards toward the second level. Thompson counted off with the hi-hat and King Diamond and his band launched into “The Candle” from the 1986 Fatal Portrait release followed by a “Hello Home” greeting.
An anticipated, the set for the night would be totally different from the Songs for the Dead live album that was release earlier in the year. King Diamond utilized his extensive studio catalogue to compile the set list with treats like “Voodoo,” “Burn,” “Invisible Guest,” “Halloween,” “Sleepless Nights” and a new studio track titled “Massacre of Madness” that will be available to the public by the of the first week of the tour.
The 1987 Abigail release plays a special role in the history of King Diamond as “Arrival,” Mansion in the Darkness,” “Abigail” and her white coffin and the “Black Horsemen” were part of the night’s incredible set list.
For the first time according to King Diamond, “The Lake” was part of the tour list. He mentioned the song has been played sporadically but the Institution tour would be the first time the song would be played as part of a tour.
Throughout the night, King Diamond’s stage actress Jodi Cachia made various appearances throughout as Grandma in her wheelchair and with the walking cane, Voodoo, a nun and a mental patient struggling on the bed.
Fans were left in awe as the band concluded the night with “Black Horsemen.” King Diamond’s sincerity to the home crowd couldn’t have been genuine. His words, “Thank you so, so very, very, very much” was as sincere as one can get.
The band as whole was tight and crisp. The sound, light and stage productions were spot on providing plenty of color for the various settings. The show was a visual spectacle. There couldn’t have been a better opening night performance and location for the tour. The show as a whole far exceeded expectations and raised the bar for theatrical rock shows. Other theatrical rock artist now been put on notice to up there game.
There was no encore but all of the King Diamond stage members took time showing their appreciation by tossing drum sticks, guitar picks and applause for the audience and their incredible response to King Diamond’s return to a Dallas stage.
As the closing lyrics of Uriah Heep’s “The Wizard” states, “And I will dream of my magic night” will ring true. King Diamond’s opening night for the Institution tour was undeniably a magical night and one for the memory books.