My Chemical Romance Reunite to Rock NYC

The sea of black T-shirts, eyeliner, platform boots, and fishnets made it easy to spot My Chemical Romance fans as they all made their way along Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn for the highly anticipated reunion show at the Barclays Center on Sept. 10 and 11.

Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, My Chemical Romance’s current lineup consists of guitarist Frank Iero, bassist Mikey Way, singer Gerard Way, and guitarist Ray Toro. The group made a name for themselves in the emo music scene after independently releasing their 2002 album, They I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, and quickly grew a dedicated fanbase ever since.

In 2013, they disbanded and went their separate ways to pursue other projects. Despite many believing that would have been the last they heard of the band, My Chemical Romance surprised fans by announcing a reunion tour in 2019.

The tour was originally set to happen in 2020 but was then delayed to 2021 and was once again postponed until 2022. After the pandemic related setbacks, the band was able to kick off their North American tour in major cities.

Whether it was the hype that grew around the tour or the uncertainty of them ever announcing another tour, I decided to purchase last minute tickets to their sold out shows in Brooklyn. Upon the tour announcement, ticket prices soared, but I managed to find $36 tickets for both nights on the day of the shows. Naturally, this was added on to the list of excuses to see them.

The first night of My Chemical Romance, also reffered to MCR, featured Badflowers, a Los Angeles, California-based rock band, and the second night included the Long Island-based band, The Lemon Twigs. On both nights, the New Jersey post-hardcore band, Thursday, took the stage before MCR. Thursday performed a mix of songs from their 2001 album Full Collapse (Thanks for playing “Cross Out the Eyes”) as well as from their 2003 album, War All the Time.

As a fan of both bands, these two nights of seeing them perform on the same stage felt like the perfect lineup.

During Thursday’s set on those nights, the band invited Anthony Green out to the stage to sing their debut single, “Understanding in a Car Crash.” Green is best known for his work with Circa Survive and Saosin, and he is currently on tour with Thursday.

Once Thursday left the stage, the audience fled from the crowded merchandise tables and headed in to find their seats. Fans began to chant “MCR” altogether as the venue’s light dimmed. With such a strong fanbase that refers to themselves as “Killjoys,” cheering with excitement it felt as if there was never a break-up.

The stages’ curtains then dropped to reveal a background of a ruined city with fog coming from the destruction of some fallen buildings. While My Chemical Romance was originally known for their on stage costumes, they now ditched their former looks and stepped out on stage with one that was much more casual.

During the first night, MCR played 21 songs, and the band’s frontman, Gerard Way, made the audience collectively sing “Happy Birthday” to bassist Mikey Way.

On those two nights, My Chemical Romance started their set with their song, “The Foundations of Decay,” which was their first unannounced released track since reuniting. Although there were a few songs played on night one that weren’t played on the second night, both set lists included fan-favorite songs such as “Helena,” “Teenagers,” and “The Ghost of You,” as well as “Welcome to the Black Parade,” a track that many consider to be the “emo anthem.”

It felt like a dream to hear the packed venue full of new and old fans singing along to a band that not only sparked some of their friendships but also inspired a majority of their other favorite musicians.

Although it felt as if the first show could not have gotten any better, night two was a special night in particular. Before hitting the stage for the second Brooklyn show on Sunday, Sept. 11, Frank Iero made a post on Instagram with a caption that said, “9/11 changed all of our lives forever. It was the spark that ignited Mychem and is essentially the birthday of the band.”

While commuting to work at Cartoon Network in New York City, Gerard Way witnessed the tragedy that occurred on 9/11, which inspired him to start My Chemical Romance with the hope that the band could make a positive difference in the world. That day also inspired their song “Skylines and Turnstiles.”

MCR ended their final show at Barclays Center with “Desert Song,” a song the band has not performed since their show at Madison Square Garden in 2008.

My fourteen-year-old self would never have imagined seeing two nights of My Chemical Romance concerts. There was something nostalgic yet fulfilling about being able to sing and dance for two nights in a row to the same songs I used to listen to on repeat with my friends in middle school.

If you were debating on seeing My Chemical Romance live, this is definitely your sign to see them while they are still touring. Their other shows will feature a variety of select opening bands such as Waterparks, The Bouncing Souls, Turnstile, Midtown, The Homeless Gospel Choir, and more. The next local show will be a hometown show in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center on Sept. 20 and 21. It’s a show that can’t be missed!