King Diamond / Exodus:
The Fillmore Philadelphia
November 25, 2015
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by She Wolf
King Diamond is a fucking legend. As part of Mercyful Fate, or as a solo artist, his high pitched falsetto vocals, evil imagery, and excellent musicians have been his trademark for 35 years. No matter what your metal preference, all metalheads love the King! A few years back, after a heart attack, the King had triple bypass surgery and we thought we might have heard the last of him. Then in 2013 his health returned and he started touring again. A short US tour last year was followed by an appearance at the Mayhem Festival. The glowing reviews of these tours set up the US Abigail Tour, 23 dates covering the US where the band would play their 1987 classic ABIGAIL in its entirety! Want more? How about Bay Area thrash masters Exodus opening the shows?!? I love this kind of shit, two metal legends, and a full album performance! Onward to Fishtown! BRING IT!
The venue tonight is the brand new Philadelphia Fillmore in the Fishtown section of the city. Mark this down, the Philadelphia Fillmore is going to become the new sought after venue for metal acts! Outside, it looks like an abandoned factory. Inside, it’s a beautiful concert hall. Plenty of standing room pit area, killer sound, great lighting, and a large low stage make this a perfect place for virtually any kind of show. There was a barrier so no stage diving, but out of respect no one dives when the King is onstage anyway. The balcony upstairs had some seats and there were several bars on the sides and back of the arena. Tonight is close to a sell-out, capacity is 2,500 for the Fillmore and I heard there were about 2,000 loyal metalheads in attendance for the King. Basically, every metalhead I know from the Philly area was there and then some! Despite the crowd it wasn’t hot as balls inside, which was nice for a change. Parking kinda sucked, but hey, you can’t have everything!
Promptly at 8PM, Exodus stormed the stage and dove into the old classic “Deranged”. Ah, this is a good 80’s thrash punch in the face! Everything sounded perfect, even with the curious absence of Gary Holt. Steve Souza (Zetro) commanded the stage, delivering powerful vocals and screams. He has been back for over a year now and it shows, the band seems to have jelled with him more and he looked very natural and confident. The twin axe attack of Lee Altus and Rick Hunolt was killer, these boys can fucking shred! Tom Hunting’s drumming was thunderous and solid as always and Jack Gibson held down the low end. Set was a brief but sensational 45 minutes of chaos. Highlights of the set included “Body Harvest” (cool song from last year’s BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT), “Bonded By Blood” (signature tune), “The Toxic Waltz” (good pit action of course!), and the closer “Strike of the Beast”. 30 years since their beginning, Exodus can still administer a good thrash metal ass whupping, and I love seeing this band live now that Zetro is back.
- Blood In, Blood Out
- Body Harvest
- Bonded by Blood
- The Toxic Waltz
- Strike of the Beast
(Sorry, no pictures because unfortunately we only had a photo pass for Exodus.)
About 9:15 (yeah it was an early night due to a scheduled after party!) the lights dimmed and King’s band took the stage, launching into “Welcome Home”. HOLY SHIT! King’s band is incredible! Andy LaRoque is a guitarist without equal. The man can play many different styles effortlessly, fluidly, melodically, and ominously when required. Mike Wead is also a good guitarist that complements Andy well. Drummer Matt Thompson has filled the void created by Mikkey Dee (Motorhead)’s departure long ago and he emulates Mikkey’s powerful drumming style. Bassist Pontus Egberg is solid if not flashy and let’s not forget King’s wife Livia, who helps out with some of the extremely high notes, particularly ones that are overdubbed on the albums. Classic material from multiple albums was hitting us from all directions! If the first blow was from THEM, the second one came from CONSPIRACY in the form of “Sleepless Nights” and then the third from THE EYE (“Eye of the Witch”). What a killer start!
Then we got the best song of the night, an amazing version of “Halloween”. Both times I have seen King, it takes him about 3 songs to warm up his voice, then its blastoff time! His voice was as good or better than the albums for the rest of the night, never skimping on difficult high pitched parts, while his wife provided assistance occasionally. We got a little Mercyful Fate material next (“Melissa” and “Come to the Sabbath”, the latter was superb).
Ok, it’s ABIGAIL time! The stage was set up with a dual staircase with inverted crosses on each side and a pentagram in the middle. A coffin was brought out to start off “Funeral”, which was a pre-recorded intro. Then “Arrival” kicked in and we were underway, a sea of riffs, solos, and glass breaking falsetto vocals! It was brilliant. The entire performance was great, but if I have to choose favorites I’m going with “The Family Ghost” (complete with King pushing an actor down the stairs!) “The 7th Day of July 1777”, “Omens”, and the title track “Abigail”. The closer “Black Horsemen” started with an awesome twin acoustic guitar solo before kicking in. This was the final song of the night and there was no encore after a 90 min performance. I was a little disappointed about that, but the show was so good this is a minor complaint.
Afterwards everyone gushed about how amazing the show was and all metalheads were in awe. Tonight’s performance was recorded for an upcoming DVD, which I will be all over once it comes out! King Diamond is a must see for all metalheads. It is truly a special event when he and his bandmates come to town, all hail the King!
Some fan-filmed video from the show: