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Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos ©
Almost ten years ago to the day, beloved American rockers My Chemical Romance announced their disbandment. Have you ever watched that Disney film starring Lindsay Lohan, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen? There’s a scene where she dramatically mourns her favourite bands disbandment. Those were the scenes amongst MCR’s fan base a decade ago. But last night was another story, with the band reuniting for their long-awaited reunion tour. Having been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the arena filled with eager and devoted fans of the band, who all knew they were in for the night of their life. And of course, MCR absolutely delivered on this.
Beginning with a ten minute interlude, anticipation grew within the sold-out arena; from the most to the rafters, each and every audience member was in for the ride. Cheers erupted as the band dressed on stage, ‘blood’ streaming down lead vocalist Gerard Way face as they donned a female office worker suit and pencil skirt. Opening with The Foundations of Decay, the tone was set for the evening to follow. The bands haunting presence radiated from the stage, with the curtain behind them dramatically falling to reveal the ‘decay’ of the buildings that created the set. Those in the mosh pit were exuberantly jumping and dancing throughout the next three songs; Thank you for the Venom, Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na) and Give ‘Em Hell, Kid. They were going so hard that Way would often ask (sometimes in a “goblin” voice) the crowd to take a few steps back to create a safe space for everyone, and even stopped the show to help security reach an audience member. They asked that everyone looked after each other, and that if someone fell, to pick them up.
The energy picked up rapidly during The Ghost of You, prompting a passionate sing-a-long (well, scream-a-long) from the devoted crowd. This continued through DESTROYA and Vampire Money. MCR left no stone unturned for their grand return to the stage, presenting a well thought out lighting design that served as an extension to the songs and the show itself. They implemented a number of visual techniques on screen to create a dynamic viewing experience, and often turned the cameras out into the crowd to beam shots of the crowd to the entire arena. This distinct choice included the audience members beyond the role of observers and made them distinct participators in the overall production, climaxing with This Is How I Disappear.
I’m Not Okay (I Promise) was a perfect example of that passion from the crowd. Fans didn’t just sing every line, they screamed them with all the might of their vocal cards. Way then thanked their opening act, Jimmy Eat World. “They’re one of the best bands and we have some great memories together” he shared, recalling on a previous Australian tour where they joined Green Day for a string of performances. A brief, yet anything but lacklustre, pause of audience energy took place during Boy Division, offering the crowd a moment of breath before the next songs insane energy. With just one note, every person in that room, no matter what level of an MCR fan they were, knew what it meant. After that G note was played an incredible surge filled the arena… Welcome to the Black Parade had started. When a song like this can define a band or artist, you can sometimes tell that this is a song they don’t like to sing, this was the opposite for MCR. They sung the shit out of it. The nostalgia emanated between the band and the audience, creating a passionate and stand-out moment within their set.
Gerard dedicated Teenagers to his daughter who had just been accepted into art school, saying, “My daughter is the fucking coolest. She just got into art school and I’m so fucking proud of her.” A staple track within their discography, the crowd were transported back to their teenage years and it created a fun moment for everyone to sing-a-long to all these years later. After all, the majority of the audience were indeed not teenagers. During the last chorus, a drum beat lead the audience clap-a-long as they deafeningly cheered along. This energy kept going throughout Vampires Will Never Hurt You and Mama, with the latter having the crowd up on their feet. The original song had Liza Minelli as Mama, so there was some hope to hear possibly a recording of her part, alas not, however the performance was still incredible.
The band finished with Cancer, Helena and Famous Last Words, all crowd favourites and had their fans screaming out the lyrics to these songs, particularly in the closer, Famous Last Words. The musical technicality showcased by the six members stood out throughout the night, with each musician presenting the best performance they possibly could. Yes, these are songs they’ve played hundred of times, but the commitment and level of passion shown by the band was phenomenal, with their love for their audience taking centre stage. That passion and commitment was echoed in audiences experience, their unwavering love for the band at the forefront. A decade on from their disbandment, My Chemical Romance’s music still rings in the mind of their loving fans across the globe, and their songs have stood the test of time.
Image: Vasili Papathanasopoulos ©