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My Chemical Romance, 21.5.22

Smoke fills the stage as the band walk on. The crowd standing beneath us move towards the stage like effortless waves of water, everyone seated has now risen, all the emos push forward and MCR are beckoned with riotous screams.

Opening the set with their newly released single, ‘The Foundations of Decay,’ this melodic track has everyone completely engrossed. Tears are streaming already from fans beside us and a wave of devil fingers move in unison from the crowd standing below. There were a couple minor technical difficulties with Way’s vocals, as the bands instruments protrude over his, but this didn’t change just how violently enthusiastic this crowd was.

Considering the state of my heartbeat at that moment in time, the next song is pretty easy to guess. Slamming into their mammoth hit, ‘I’m Not Okay,’ big white stage slights beam onto the band, as the entire crowd breathlessly recite the lyrics – a special moment to say the least. Bringing in a standing ovation across the stadium, Way yells, “holy fuck, how are you?” The roar from this is absolutely insane. “Thank you for being here tonight. Thank you for waiting so long, what took you so long? Tragic…” he says, whilst subtly mumbling ‘tragic,’ into his microphone quieter and quieter.

Up next is the boastful ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid,’ just three tracks in and this entire night feels like the most surreal, cinematic experience. The energy radiating off of MCR is perfectly reciprocated by the eagerly screaming fans. “I love the air in here, it’s so clean and crisp, what a beautiful night.” Everyone lights up their phones for ‘Summertime.’ An alternative ballad taken from their 2010 album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous, ‘Summertime,’ sees MCR slow the pace down a bit. “I wanna tell you a story tonight,” says Way, “this has honestly been the craziest fucking tour of our entire journey, I know it’s only started but yanno.” To feel the same gratitude and euphoria that Way is feeling at this point was completely surreal, there was a real connection there, something that can often feel lost with major bands.

Flying into ‘Bulletproof Heart,’ originally ‘Trans AM.’ Way is so engaging, it’s amazing to be at this gig and to experience their legacy first-hand, the crowd is an insane mix of teens to full grown adults – real life proof that it’s not just a phase… It’s incredible to think that some of these fans would’ve gotten into MCR at the point the group had split up, this show, this entire tour will go down as a historically iconic moment in time. Speaking to just three bystanders about how far they had travelled for the show, one told us, Sweden, another Yorkshire and lastly Manchester – an incredible mix to say the least. The crowd frantically clap as, ‘Bulletproof Heart,’ drops and their drummer hits us with a profound ending.

Couple tracks later and MCR have hit us, with yet – another – tune, playing ‘Na Na Na,’ this track is at full pelt, a completely exhilarating speed literally impossible to keep up with. I don’t think I’d ever imagine myself getting to hear this song live, let alone experience a full MCR gig.  

Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, up next is the brilliant, ‘Famous Last Words.’ “Thank you, are we all having a good time,” shouts Way, which I’m sure you can already pre-empt the response to this right? A roaring scream, yes, you guessed it. “So are we, an excellent fucking time, thank you.”

Across the venue, fans are dressed in different eras of MCR, most popular fits include Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, and The Black Parade (obviously). ‘Teenagers,’ went down blissfully, I remember watching the music video for this single as a teen and thinking it was the most epic thing ever. ‘Teenagers,’ was every emo kids bible, it advocated teenage rebellion, so full of cheese, yet so hard to dislike. With a couple epic guitar solos, this track sounded just as crisp as the record. 

With some distorted guitar work, and daunting, low lights, the atmosphere takes a sudden cryptic turn. Way preps us into ‘Our Lady of Sorrows,’ with some high-pitched shrieks. Pushing out some hellish screams, ‘Our Lady of Sorrow,’ is easily one of the heaviest tracks they’ve played across the evening so far. Annihilating riffs are flying around, and the stage is lit red.

“Yo, real quick, I want to thank the bands that played tonight,” says Way, (we love a supportive main act). “How do we start this song, are we fucking ready?” Way says as they thrash into, ‘Vampire Money.’

At this point, Way is currently laying on the floor of the stage, whispering into personal favourite, ‘Mama.’ The crowd sing along through and through, and Way’s vocals are impeccable.

Just when you think the show couldn’t get any better, the band draw out, the one, the only, ‘Welcome to the Black Parade.’ Every emo is quite literally shaking right now, older generations get to say they saw MCR play, ‘Welcome to the Black Parade,’ again, teens get to live out a dream they may never thought was possible – a truly magic moment.

The red stage lights are back, (a running theme across the night), the crowd frantically clap as the band head into finale, ‘Sleep,’ You wouldn’t class MCR as a screamo band at full, but Way was pulling out some ungodly vocals for this one. Despite not being familiar with his track it was completely exhilarating. Way raises his microphone into the air and the crowd completely loses it, the end is nigh my friends.

The obligatory, “one more song,” chant echoes the stadium and the band are back for two tracks. One of the stage screens zoom into in the audience and onto a teen desperately holding up a large cardboard cut-out of Way in the classic Black Parade gear. “You want one more right? We’ve got two more and we’re fucking out,” Way boasts before playing, ‘Boy Division.’

“This is our last song tonight. For us, all of this was worth the fucking wait, and all the pain and heartache that came with it.” A dramatic pause, and MCR close the night with the monumental, ‘Helena.’

Editor of LLR since 2005

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