Scattered memories from the day and these two pieces of ephemera are all that remain.
It was a beautiful, hot summer day - a good day for a long road trip to Minneapolis and the hallowd ground of 1st Avenue to see two amazing bands, so early that morning my fellow headbanger buddies "P" (who I just recently connected with after about 10 years) and "J" (whom I have not seen or spoken with in well over 15 years) and I hopped in my 1978 lime green Ford Pinto hatchback (with a sunroof!) and hit the road. Not far down the highway we managed to get stuck behind a garbage truck. It smelled. Badly. And we were stuck behind it for many miles before we were able to pass.
The next memory is that when we finally arrived in the Minneapolis area, we stopped in the north suburb of Fridley at the amazing "Great American Music" that used to be located on Central Avenue. It is now home to a "Cheapo", one of my favorite places to go spend obscene ammounts of cash on pre-recorded music. I don't remember what, if anything I purchased that day, but I can't imagine I walked out of there without at least 1 or more records or tapes.
Then it was off to downtown Minneapolis. We spent some time checking out a few of the porn shops that were then located on Hennepin Avenue (they're all gone now), as well as a few of our favorite stores in the world - "Suns" (where you could find an assortment of the best concert t-shirts anywhere, backpatches, posters, stickers, just about anything that had a rock band's named emblazened on it, "smoking devices", and martial arts items such as nun-chucks and throwing stars.) A few years later they would relocate a few blocks further west down the street and by the mid-2000's the store would finally close, a huge loss to the local rockers like myself who spent so many hours browsing the store full of rock and roll goodies. We also hit up another great record shop, "Northern Lights" that was then located on the corner opposite 1st Avenue. This was another amazing shop where we could spend literally hours browsing the great selection of metal and punk records we were unable to find anywhere in our hometown.
Then we went over to the club and waited to get in and soon it was showtime. I vividly remember how little room was left on the stage for Flotsam & Jetsam. They had to put a large "banquet-style" table in front of the stage for their vocalist to stand on as there just wasn't room for him on the stage. Seems King Diamond had a pretty big production waiting for us that was taking up all the room. Flotsam & Jetsam were quite good and we were all duely impressed. Then the evil one, King Diamond, and his band of happy fellows took the stage and we were treated to an all out Satanic praise festival. The show featured several songs from his then-new album "Them" and King had many cool theatrical effects to go along with the music. At one point "Grandma" (who looked surprisingly young) was brought out in a wheelchair to torture poor King. I remember one song featured him "slicing" up his arm with this huge knife...we were in the front row and it looked pretty damn real to me let me tell you, blood flowing everywhere. And during the Mercyful Fate classic "The Oath", King brought out this huge, framed copy of the Satanic Oath that he held high above his head throughout the song, until it erupted into flames at the end of the number. It was a pretty cool effect. His band was tight and we were all thrilled to have been able to winess something so...evil. It was a nice change of pace from the Stryper concerts I had been attending (although those were great shows as well, don't get me wrong).
Click HERE to see some cool photos (not by me) from a November 11, 1988 King Diamond show in Philadelphia, PA - this will give you an idea of what the show looked like visually.
After the concert was over, we piled back into the car for the long, hot three and a half hour drive back home. My concert-going friends slept most of the way, leaving me, and my ringing ears, to have some quiet reflection on the spectalcle we had just witnessed.