On the night before All Hallows’ Eve, I saw King Diamond perform in San Francisco. This was something more than your typical heavy metal gig. It was by far my best theatrical experience, with decorative inverted crosses, pentagrams, high-pitched shrieks, pantomime and heavy tunes.
My sister and I readied for the gig either too early or too late. I don’t know. She wore an Eluveitie shirt, a black skirt and leather boots. For makeup, she wore this fancy dark Dior eyeshadow, foundation and even black lipstick. I, for a change, dressed inappropriately for the gig. It could be said that I resembled Liza Minnelli in Cabaret a bit, when she sang “Money” with Joel Grey, but without the bobbed haircut.
I was clad in a red flapper dress, black long gloves, fishnets, small boots with pointy heels, a red feather headband and a red/black feather boa. Yes, I made an impressing spectacle of myself. Well, it was to be All Hallows’ Eve in a few hours. Oh, yes! There was also my cigarette holder! I only had it because I thought it so fashionable. Pola Negri used them. Smoking is one of those hazards I am strongly against though. I only had one boot on when I left. Putting the other on my wounded foot was much too painful. The makeup I had on was much lighter than what I saw in the photographs of ladies from the 1920s. My sister lengthened the lines of my eyebrows with a brow pencil. Now I had the eyebrows of Pola Negri.
In San Francisco, my sister complained and grumbled once we were lost. Her pretty GPS malfunctioned and we had no apparent clue where we were. We went up the hills and her complaints bedeviled my mood with tremors. When we found The Warfield, there were no sufficient spaces for parking. It took us about twenty minutes to find a spot nearby in a place for public parking. The spot was maybe four blocks away from the venue so I limped with my gigantic foot sandal all the way there.
This is when life started to feel inconsistent and rather satirical. All the other humans sported heavy metal band shirts, leather jackets and black clothing while I remained a mere flapper possibly disoriented in the present. On the line, I remained quiet and avoided facing people whenever they glanced at me for a few seconds. When I failed to do so, I giggled. This band seemed to have had loads of fans because of the infinite length of the line. It almost killed me to wait when I had to hear the heavy metallers loudly blabber about their criticism of some genres and bands. To remark most profanely, I did not give a flying fuck. I should’ve worn earplugs. This moment took me back to that scene in Annie Hall when Woody Allen had to wait in line and hear this pompous man criticize the works of the director of the film they were about to see. Oh, maybe I am just too hostile.
Walking into the venue was the fight of my night. So many humans! They could all have stupidly stepped on my foot! I kept on gliding with my chin up, like a notorious socialite, not giving a care for looks and judgement. My sister and I greeted her friends as the ocean of human beings looked like one of those Finding Waldo games. They were all drawing near, crawling on my face! I needed to get away from them immediately.
Shortly after being seated on some balcony, King Diamond got on stage. Ah, at first I was assured of the thought that they were not my style and that I was to yawn my way through this like the past concerts. My, was I wrong!
This was a bit exaggerated, I thought. Why the need of decorations? The metal gates, the staircase, the corny homage to the devil…..The band started to please my ears with undeniably sick riffs and the acceleration of the drum playing! I thought I needed an Advil just in case King Diamond’s vocals would give me a headache. They didn’t….I clasped my chest the whole time. I could not believe I was liking this after having had such a close-minded attitude for it. Humans around me started to irk me a bit with their enthusiastic headbanging. I decided to firmly place my vision on the band only. Nuisances like this weren’t going to spoil my evenings anymore.
Things started to get rapidly fantastic when King Diamond’s grandma entered the stage. Wow…..this was no concert at all…..This was theater. A play, to be exact. He was still the naughty little deviant, stuck in his lair, playing with his band in front of all his devoted followers. Now he reminded me of Robin Williams. Seeing him act was like watching a silent movie with music that enlivened the senses! He sang the words:
Let me help you out of the chair
Let me touch you, let me feel
He not only vocalized this, he acted it! He enticed her to get up from the chair by using his hands! He was doing pantomime! Right before my eyes! Oh lord! I touched my heart with both of my hands. It was lovely to see his grandma reproach the other performers with her cane. Beautiful…erm….decomposed woman! I admired her display of decrepitude.
What I obviously appreciated the most was all the melodrama involved in this. When King had a melancholy vocal solo, he would sit on the stairs and wave his arms. When he felt mighty powerful, he’d raise his bony cross microphone and dash to the top of the staircase.
More songs with sick riffs played when they got a well-remembered tune from Mercyful Fate, the former band some of the members are in. “Come To The Sabbath” left my ears overjoyed! This was one of my jams! My sister and I sang along to King Diamond’s outcries and notes as we put our hands on each other’s shoulders. We looked like drunken comrades. By God, this man still had that voice.
They played this other song when the grandma walked in again, holding her grandson’s dinner tray. Aww.
“The bitch is back again!” he would say.
This band didn’t have water bottles or beers on the side. King Diamond would drink from his china cup delicately and thank his grandmother. He still had that boyish “get out of my room!” attitude.
He apparently made some arrangements with a priest and a man wearing a surgeon’s mask because they brought a red coffin….with wheels. Oh, what was to happen? You could see that I was going along with this story.
They made the grandma lie down on the coffin as King spilled some glowing substances all over body (we couldn’t see what was happening) and apparently there was smoke because it was very hot. Minutes later they showed the result and TA-DA! She had been incinerated! I clapped right then. I was excited as I used to be at the age of seven. Oh, it was just like being at the circus, too! Great way to treat your grandma, darling. Seems you also have issues with yours. When they were over with this song, I applauded with all my force. What a performer!
They also had another piece with a lady who pretended to be a puppet but the one that left me amazed was about the pregnant lady in a white robe. She was writhing with pain as she walked down the stairs and pleaded to King Diamond something. What was happening now? I concentrated on this dilemma as the lady stood on this platform and “gave birth” by letting a baby doll pop out of her system. Ooh, childbirth! His guards later hauled her away as she tried to free herself from their grip. Was she to be sacrificed?
The concert ended soon after, leaving me empty inside and attacked by reality. I had been so captivated by their performance that I took no notice of it around me. I was deaf with my ears ringing.
My sister and I socialized with some of her friends outside as my timidity robbed me of words and made me cower from humans. I stood behind my sister while she joked with her friends as I droned Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey”.
I felt a bit depressed for not properly conversing with the humans. It felt just odd talking to anyone. Oh, how am I to perform in the world like this? My sister drove me home as I sat sullenly quiet. Who cared? I had seen King Diamond’s plausible theatrics, heard good old heavy tunes and exalted from my felicity. It all just went too fast. Things just pass and forbid you from resting for a quick second. At least I sort of felt something and had fun.
(None of these are my pictures)