the loud bassoon concert scene

King Diamond @ House of Blues, Chicago, USA
10 May 1998

Concertgoing compatriots La Fée and Dr. Martin Absinthe have a conversation about King Diamond's show at the House of Blues.

La Fée: Absinthe and I heard that King Diamond was coming to town, and wanted to revisit our metal roots … well, your metal roots anyway, I was always just "along for the ride" with you longhairs. I always did like King Diamond, though – the guy is plain bizarre.

Absinthe: Well, I'm sure you're baiting me, eh? Well, I'll bite. King Diamond is not that bizarre. I mean, let's look at Kiss. They wear considerably more elaborate make-up and look far more bizarre and scary on stage than King Diamond. While King Diamond's songs are kitschy horror stories, Kiss's songs are misogynist, teen sex anthems. Scary makeup-kitschy horror songs makes sense. Scary makeup-teen sex anthems does not.

So if anything, King Diamond is just an average ordinary guy who writes scary heavy metal songs. Not that bizarre … I mean, look at what's on Broadway: A musical adaptation of the Titanic disaster. Now THAT is bizarre.

La Fée: OK. Either way, I do enjoy King Diamond's brand of shlocky horror thrash metal – it's full of integrity, quite fascinating, surprisingly tuneful, and not always utterly stupid. I was glad to have seen the show.

When was the last time we saw the King, about 10 years ago?

Absinthe: Yep. I think that it was the spring of 1988, almost exactly ten years ago! Ah, I remember a youthful Flotsam and Jetsam opening and sounding like crap. If I recall, you dubbed them "Fry Guys on Acid" in reference to the McDonalds mascots.

That King Diamond show was plagued by the hideous sound of the Aragon. You could not hear a damn thing. Quite a different story at the House of Blues, eh?

La Fée: Indeed, we were able to hear the King with almost crystal clarity, as far as that can apply to loud German horror metal. And this time around we didn't have to suffer through the misery of bad metal opening bands … although I'm not sure waiting in line for over an hour was the best possible trade-off.

Once we were in, though, it was smooth sailing. Who'd have thought there'd be so many King Diamond freaks out on a Sunday night? There must have been more than a thousand … it was a friggin' army (though not quite a Kiss Army®).

Absinthe: Actually KD is from Denmark, not Germany … The line, however, was straight from hell. I blame this completely on the ineptitude of the House of Blues. They were practically doing a damn strip search on every single person in line. Security is fine, but they only had two people frisking 1,000 fans!!!!! Were they insane? We barely made it into the show before KD went on.

Actually we wouldn't have if they would have kept the frisking crap up. They started just taking tickets without a search just before KD went on. This little incident soured me on the House of Blues. Guess they weren't expecting so many rabid KD fans.

La Fée: I guess that you can never be too careful when you're dealing with the many (mostly suburban) incarnations of Satan. The many forms here being mainly old and bloated metalheads clinging to their freedom to rock.

Well, all crowd frustration aside, what was your favorite part of the show?

Absinthe: Well, my favorite part. Hmmm … The whole show was pretty darn good. I was never bored, or annoyed, or nauseous, or anything. I really enjoyed the whole thing. I actually admire King Diamond's (occasionally misguided) integrity. His lyrics, though scary or Satanic or whatever, frequently (with the notable exclusion of the pre-Melissa Mercyful Fate songs) have an intelligent, humanistic message. I find this refreshing in a genre that is praised for its mindlessness.

So even though I really just went because I thought it would be kinda neat to see the silly old Satanist after all of these years, I have to say that it was the most enjoyable show I've attended in quite some time. Who would have thunk it?

I guess if I have to pick a few parts that strike me as memorable: The two songs they played from The Eye were enjoyable. I never really "got into" this album, but was suitably impressed by the songs they played from it. The little "burning of the witches" scene that they acted out with a real-live woman, an inquisitor, a stake, orange lights, and lots of dry ice was entertaining, amusing, and muAbsintheally pretty good. I'm always very surprised at how adventurous the forms of these songs can get. Arnold Schoenberg eat your heart out!

The stuff from Abigail was the most anticipated part of the show for me, and these songs brought back so many sweet memories. Ahhhhh …

The new songs from Voodoo fit in with the older songs quite well. Nice to see King stick a crucifix in his crotch. I guess that it's somewhat strange to wax nostalgic about Satanic Heavy Metal, but when he ended the show with the seminal line, "Oh my sweet Satan, You are the one!" I almost shed a tear of joy. Ahhh, how beautiful.

La Fée: Even I was moved, though I can't claim to have ever been a huge Mercyful Fate fan. I've La Féeinitely been converted to Satanism now, though. For me, the show began with a lot of excitement and some trepidation: He opened with my two favorite KD songs (really, the only ones I know well), from Them. So I was worried the rest of the show would not retain my attention.

But I left damn satisfied. As I said to you after the show, King Diamond is something of a new Vaudevillian … the dancing voodoo woman, the burning-the-witch-at-the-stake routine, the gruesomely comical childbirth scene … well, I La Féey Matchbox 20 to put on a show like this. Ten years from now, he'll be doing Vegas (the new Vegas, in Dimension Eight, which we all relocate to after the Great War).

You forgot to mention, the crucifix he stuck into his crotch was made out of bones, and also held his mic. That's showbiz!

Absinthe: Actually, the crucifix he stuck in his crotch was a "special" crucifix he brought out for the Voodoo songs, not the traditional "femur" one. Fancy …

You know, if King Diamond did become a regular in Vegas it would make Sin City all the more enjoyable. Mmmm, I would even say that King could open up his own casino. "The House of Amon" they could call it. The characters from all of the albums could be guards, bartenders, dealers, and prostitutes. For the right price you could sleep with "Grandma" or buy a drink from "Missy." Mm! I guess we're on to something …

La Fée: Well, I won't be bringing that proposal to the Loud Bassoon Board of Directors anytime soon … although with our technicians working round-the-clock to build the first alternate universe theme park, perhaps there is hope.

The plan is for people to pay $100 for a day pass, but the problem we're running into is that the alternate universe we booked has days that are equivalent to 78 days in our universe, so we're not sure whether we should jack the price up to $7800 (admittedly a lot when you're bringing the whole family).

Also, there are these terrifying silent-screaming babies with lizard heads that have caused the deaths of four crew workers so far. But, as I said, once we iron all this out I'd say it's a go for "The House of Amon."

In fact, I envision a sort of heavy metal Branson, with King Diamond, Ozzy Osbourne, and Alice Cooper having large arenas, and bands like the Scorpions, Twisted Sister, and Warrant occupying the smaller theaters.

Absinthe: If possible, I'd like to head up this operation. I will have to insist, however, that only the "scary" heavy metal bands get casinos. As you well know, using the "hair" metal bands would conflict with my ongoing project. If you recall, my current Loud Bassoon post as Vice President in charge of Hair Styling and Casinos has been growing stale recently.

The implementation of the "Loud Bassoon Warrant Salon", and the "Loud Bassoon Vixen Salon" are going very well, and I must say that I'm beginning to feel a bit under challenged.

Well, I'll bring this up at the board of directors meeting next Thursday.

Review by La Fée & Dr. Martin Absinthe