KING DIAMOND/EXODUS – Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL

November 27, 2015

Review by Sgt Deth

The day after Thanksgiving is also known as Black Friday. Well this black Friday I had a lot to be thankful for… one major thing was getting to see my favorite metal vocalist, King Diamond. Almost as fitting as seeing the King on Halloween, this show lived up to all my expectations. Fighting the crazy shoppers on the road was worth it. Even though this venue is deep in Chicago, we made pretty good time in the frenzy of shopaholics. I think the metal gods were smiling on us. 

Of course we had to stop by Roma’s on N. Cicero for their famous Italian beef sandwich with homemade giardiniera. (I know there are tons of great Italian places in Chi-town, but I must do a shameless plug for this great establishment.) The Aragon does have good acoustics and it was easy to see the action no matter where we were standing. My only complaint is the lack of a smoking area…kind of weird to be locked in the event. Many other concert halls have updated recently and are no longer torturing their tobacco addicted patrons, this place should do the same.

This was a two act show that started with metal kings Exodus. Original singer Steve Sousa was back and he was on the attack. For a band that has always been known for its dominant front man, Steve still does not disappoint. He ripped out every song like he owned it, even the new material that he did not have a part in writing (except for “Body Harvest” which he co-wrote). They started with “Bonded By Blood” to stoke up the old schoolers. Which I would say 90% of the crowd were bona fide old schoolers. But, then they went in to some of the new stuff like “Blood in Blood Out”, “Body Harvest”, and “Black List”. Then Souza told us that he would finish up with all old school tracks and they did. My favorite Exodus song of the night was “Toxic Waltz” which you could just see how much fun they were having up there. They ended up doing about a 50 minute set.

Now on to one of the best metal events ever, King Diamond. From beginning to end, this show was about his acclaimed album “Abigail”. The stage sets and choreography did a very good job at portraying the story of Jonathan and Miriam’s struggle between themselves and the apparition Abigail. He has improved the set over the years and it is very impressive. I loved the two upside down crosses and the way the background kept changing. It was a total visual and audio extravaganza.

They not only played the “Abigail” album in its entirety, they also played a few old ones like “Eye of the Witch” and “Halloween” and a one of my favorite Mercyful Fate songs, “Melissa”. For me “Melissa” was the peak of the night, It was sung perfectly and with a command and fierceness only King Diamond can provide. It absolutely gave me chills and pierced my soul. After all these years, his voice even sounds better than ever. They ended up doing about an hour and a half set. No encore, but the King stood up there for quite a while at the end thanking us and hamming it up. It was by far the one of the best metal shows I have ever seen in 30 years of seeing metal shows and was the best King Diamond show I have ever seen as well. After seeing this, I have no doubt the King will be creating more awesome music and touring again. He is far from done yet.

Grandma pays a visit!