My Chemical Romance first announced their single reunion show, back on Halloween in 2019. The show would take place in Los Angeles and in just seconds, it was completely sold out. Shortly after, the band announced a worldwide tour that would take place the following year in 2020. Flash forward to January 2020 and the band announces the official Riot Fest performance later on that year. Unbeknownst to anyone, COVID-19 would soon hit the world and put everyone’s lives on hold. Despite Riot Fest finally getting to resume its normal schedule this past fall 2021, My Chemical Romance decided to postpone their appearance until 2022. This past weekend, I got to witness their Chicago revival.
A cloud of red and purple smoke slowly disintegrates across the stage, and one by one, members of My Chemical Romance appear. The crowd and band seem to have the same energy; everyone is anxious and impatient, yet ready to perform on cue. Frontman Gerard Way waltzes on stage last, decked out in a full babushka, may I add, that despite the constant movement and head-banging, didn’t budge the entire night. They immediately dove into their latest single, “The Foundations of Decay,” which encapsulates the earlier nostalgic sounds of “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge,” with a certain level of newfound grittiness that could only be attributed to their past 20 years of growth as artists. It honestly felt like a warm up for both the band and the crowd, and I’m convinced no one blinked the entire song.
They followed this with a perfect song to demand the audience’s energy, the second track off of Danger Days: The Fabulous Life of Killjoys — “Na, Na, Na, Na.” In a split second, there was a sea of bodies, off of their feet, jumping in unison, screaming every word. Church was back in session.
The rest of the set was a perfect blend of fan favorites, reliving teenage angst while screaming the lyrics to “I’m Not Okay,” to the timeless, emotional and memorable tracks from The Black Parade. There was a song performed for every type of My Chemical Romance fan, whether you were around, back in 2002 to experience their first debut album as artists, with songs such as “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” to the more experimental and technical sounds of Danger Days.
A lot of these fans not only waited years to see this performance, but consecutive hours at the stage they were set to play at Riot Fest. Riot Fest opens its doors fairly early in the day, promptly at 11 AM. Keep in mind, My Chemical Romance was set to play at 8:30 PM. It was 80 degrees, with constant sun and humidity. Exhaustion proved to be unavoidable for many. Following the events that took place at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival this past year, it’s imperative for artists and stage production to be aware of the state of the crowd.
Despite these odds, My Chemical Romance did their best handling the crowd with grace and care. They stopped after the end of nearly every song to ensure everyone was taking proper steps back to accommodate those towards the front of the stage, to give the crowd time to recuperate and and passed out water bottles constantly throughout the set. It was refreshing to see a band take such deliberate steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
Just by taking one look around the audience, it’s obvious My Chemical Romance have inspirited countless generations, who deeply cherish their music. It was exciting to see a variety of age groups present throughout their set, from the elder emo’s to even teenagers, who were most likely the same age as most of the crowd was when they first listened to My Chemical Romance. The power of music is timeless and those it affects never have to fit a certain mold to reap the benefits. I left this concert feeling rejuvenated, inspired and nostalgic over the band that collectively had the most dramatic impact on my youth and I’m eager to experience this next chapter of our story.
My Chemical Romance will finish out the rest of the year with multiple dates around the United Sates, following with their last show of the year in Mexico City.