Written by Killian O’Neil
Photographed by Mark Beemer
It had been 11 years since My Chemical Romance played Philadelphia, which was quite evident when the MCRMY had shown up by the thousands. The emo scene in the mid-00s understood the magnitude of what was in store for the evening, and they came. It was a sold-out show at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday night. Every single person was acting as if it was Christmas morning. That evening, electricity was in the air, quickly permeating the arena. Finally, it was happening after all this time; it only took a global pandemic to postpone such an iconic tour not once but twice since their original announcement in 2019.
The merch line wrapped around half the building, and everyone stood in it unapologetically, waiting to get something. I had never seen anything like that in my entire life; it was insane. At last, I made it through the sea of fishnets and heavy black eyeliner to my seat. I nearly forgot how big the stadium was and how many people it could hold. On either side of the stage, two jumbotrons hung with the message from MCR saying, “Look after each other; if someone falls, help them up. Security is here to help if you need it. Have a great night”, which was oddly refreshing considering how some concerts go these days.
The stage was ready for the opener called Devil Master, equipped with two banners on both sides of the scene that had pictures of a red devil face. They came out at eight and played a 45-minute set chopped full of death metal. It’s not really for me, but if you’re into a Slayerisc sound, you’ll enjoy them.
After an eternity, their set ended, leaving the stage; it was show time. The moment we had all been waiting forever, so patiently for the last three years. I was banking on this night being more therapeutic than going to my actual therapist. Nothing spells healing better than my chem reunion tour. The stage for MCR and the red curtain hiding the backdrop now had a spot on it. The tension in the arena continued to build, and everyone was finding their seats.
A white static noise began to saturate the air, which started to intensify—growing louder and louder over the speakers. Simultaneously, the fog started coming out of the stage’s bottom. Cheers for the band became louder as the mysterious white noise became decipherable. We all knew what would happen next as the guys walked on stage. It had been nine years since they wrote a new song, and we would hear it tonight.
Foundations of Decay came out this past may and is their new single. So for them to open the show with it was only natural. There was so much fog on stage you could hardly tell where they were. It quickly became apparent once Gerard started to sing. The red curtain fell to the ground exposing the backdrop for the evening, which was a silhouette of a desolate city. Blue and white lights Illuminated the stage, and you could see Frank, Mikey, Ray, and Jarrod. The spotlight hit Gerard and exposed him in all of his glory. His ensemble for the night was a half-clear face mask, short shorts, and a t-shirt that read “pool boy for the vampire mansion.”
They wasted no time blowing up the night with fan favorites (in no particular order) like “I’m Not Okay,” “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and many more. Halfway through the set, the “iconic G note” pierced the air and sent the crowd into a frenzy. Followed by a sing-along with 19,000 people belting out, “When I was a young boy, my father took me into the city to see a marching band.” MCR continued to play as the MCRMY took the lead on the chorus, and finally, Gerard took over. It was so loud you could feel the structure of the stadium begin to shake from the roars of the audience and the bass coming from the speakers. I could not spot a single individual sitting down because every person was on their feet, screaming the lyrics as loud as they possibly could. The emotions that were rippling through everyone were contagious that night. It was at the very moment you were feeling everything all at once. They wrapped up the night with the infamous song “Famous Last Words,” which couldn’t be more fitting.
The lights went dark, and the chants started begging for “ONE MORE SONG.” Within minutes the guys filtered back onto the stage and took the assumed positions. The lights hit, and the first cymbal sounded, giving it away. I even said to myself holy shit when I realized what they were playing. It was “Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” which is off their very first album and is rarely if ever, played live. The night ended with “The Kids From Yesterday” and the echoes of everyone singing. “Remember, this could be the last of all the rides we take, So hold on tight and don’t look back; We don’t care about the message or the rules they make; I’ll find you when the sun goes black…”. I almost had trouble hearing the band with the eruption of the crowd. It was a perfect way to end the night.
I am mind blown at how effortlessly they played that evening; it was as if no time had passed. The 11-year hiatus was simply a mirage, the synergy of this Jersey-native band is something most artists dream of, but few can achieve. My Chemical Romance isn’t just a band; it’s in all of us. It reminds us that it’s okay not to be okay and that you’re never alone. MCR’s message has always been to create music that means something. That’s what they have done and hopefully will continue to do.