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King Diamond Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 8, 2014

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It’s tough writing reviews sometimes because I have trouble being objective when trying to talk about seeing some of my favorite bands.

There was something incredibly special about last night’s King Diamond show that I just don’t know if I can put my finger on it or properly describe in words better than just saying, “That was fucking awesome!”

And it was. It was fucking awesome. Really fucking awesome.

I’ve loved King Diamond (KD) since Abigail came out. That album had me delve back in time to quickly get into Fatal Portrait and Mercyful Fate. But Abigail is #1 for me in KD’s catalog.

I’ve see King twice before tonight (’88/2000) and Fate twice (’93/’99).  All of those shows were special in their own ways, especially that ’88 show on the Them tour.  King sounded great in all 4 of those shows.  With it being 14 years since the last time I had seen him, I had concerns that his voice wouldn’t be what it once was.  That thought was quickly removed from my head once they broke into the opener, The Candle.  They quickly kept it running hard and heavy with Sleepless Nights and Welcome Home which went over very well with the crowd.  Everyone knows the “grandma song”.

They mixed it up with songs from Them, Puppet Master and Give Me Your Soul…Please, not to mention 2 Mercyful Fate songs, Evil and Come To The Sabbath.  It was a very metal crowd that was very into the show.  King’s stage set up was over the top filled with a giant goat’s head pentagram and upside crosses.

Andy LaRouque and Mike Wead were shredding it as expected.  Matt Thompson did a fine job handling Mikkey Dee’s drum lines, but he’s no Mikkey Dee.  Few are.  That’s no slight to Matt, he was killer.  Pontus Edberg held down the bass perfectly.  The mix was great, especially for an outside venue.

Highlights for me were Sleepless Nights (love that drum line), Family Ghost and especially Black Horsemen.  That song is the best ending to any album I have ever heard and it was the perfect closer to last night’s set.  It gave me goosebumps last night and I have them again writing this.  It was such a powerful show all the way around.  I did notice, however, that King had a female backup singer that sang some of the high notes along with him.  I tried to listen to the difference in the voices (his and hers) and really couldn’t tell.  There were times that he was hitting the notes perfectly and she wasn’t singing at all, so maybe she was just there for harmony and melody purposes.

What a great fucking show!

Judas Priest Concert Review, Austin, TX, November 7, 2014

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title The shows just keep coming. I’m tired but musically satisfied and it’s always completely worth it. Priest is an odd beast for me. Been a fan since the 70s and prefer that era much more than the 80s to now stuff. When Rob’s voice started leaning towards screeching for vengeance instead of the clean falsettos of the 80s, I was turned off. I first saw Priest in 1998 with Tim Owens on vocals.  Blech.  Didn’t like his albums or his Anselmo like stage presence, but the band sounded great.

Flash forward to 2008 and I went to the Priest/Heaven & Hell/Motorhead/Testament show but left before JP came on.  I had seen footage of Rob from that tour and it was awful.  Immobile, hunched over, a slave to his teleprompter, much like when I saw Halford (solo) in NYC.  I didn’t want to see how much the mighty had fallen so I left.  I sort of regret it but oh well.

Flash forward again to 2014 and Fun Fun Fun Fest announced that Priest and King Diamond would be headliners on their black stage.  I wasn’t going to miss Rob this time. I got to the venue around 7PM and the line to get in was about 3hrs.  I did a little hocus pocus and only waited about 15 minutes to get my will call wristband.  Hung with some friends until Priest went on and then we rocked out. They opened with Dragonaut from the new album.  I’m not a fan of the newer stuff as stated previously but it sounded fine.  Then right into Metal Gods, Devil’s Child and Victim of Changes.  Overall Rob sounded pretty good.  He avoided the notes he knew he couldn’t hit.  Some of them he got pretty good when he tried like in Victim.  There were some instances where he did try and failed, but whatever.  It was what it was…a great metal show.

They played 4 tracks from the new album.  A decent mix of the older stuff.  Of course my setlist would have been totally different.  Richie Faulkner is sort of the star of the show now.  He’s out front most of the time and handles all of KK’s old leads just fine.  He’s good.  The band was very solid as expected.  Hard not to be when you have the human drum machine Scott Travis keeping time for you. Beyond The Realms of Death was the highlight for me.

So many childhood memories listening to that one as a kid.  It was a fun show but when it ended all I really cared about was going home and going to bed.  I went downtown for one beer and could barely drink it.  Pure exhaustion.  Today I rest up for King Diamond tonight!