King Diamond / Nocturne / Single Bullet Theory The Opera House, Toronto ON - November 4

King Diamond / Nocturne / Single Bullet Theory The Opera House, Toronto ON - November 4
Undermining the excitement of having a metal monolith back in town, bad news threatened the night's potential success before it even started — Entombed drummer Peter Stjärnvind had been taken to the hospital and the band was off the bill. Genre-mixing metallers Single Bullet Theory and smoke-drenched fishnet-rockers Nocturne were no consolation. With the Swedish death'n'rollers out of commission, the onus was on the King to make it all worthwhile. Thick fog cloaking the city outside set an eerie pre-show scene, a convenient prelude to the horror-infused metal to come. As the stage underwent a post-opener transformation, the spiked iron fence that arose at its edge did nothing to dispel the expectations of creepiness. King Diamond appeared in full regalia — long velvet coat, top hat, leather-clad legs and inverted cross. Beginning with an elaborately murderous ritual, dagger and infant doll in hand, he introduced a set that began in classic form, calling on the well-loved evil strains of the Abigail album. Theatrics continued throughout the show, with a multi-costumed actress and dramatisations of several King Diamond plots. But carrying his ever-present bone cross mic stand/air guitar, the corpse-painted front-man was always the focus of attention. The Opera House was only sparsely filled, though an enthusiastic crowd invaded the floor near the stage. Their loud appreciation seemed to satisfy King Diamond, but their sing-along skills were a little weak. Beginning with many classic tracks, the band established a high momentum and energy that wasn't easy to maintain. But they were in excellent shape — both newer members and old-timers — delivering razor-sharp performances and presenting a compelling visual attraction. When the stage lights first dimmed, things seemed to be ending too early, but King Diamond and his entourage returned for three encores, including a final appearance in Santa Claus garb with a break into Christmas carols. We may have lost Entombed for the night but King Diamond delivered — we were not let down.