Return of My Chemical Romance – worth the wait? 


Gavin Hart, Staff Writer

After a near-decade long break up, a reunion show in 2019, a surprise single, and a year and a half of postponements due to COVID-19, My Chemical Romance, one of the biggest rock bands in the past 20 years, has finally gone on tour once again, making their return to St. Paul. To say the least, they were back like they never left since their last Minnesota stop 11 years ago, nearly to the day.


The September 15th show started with two opening bands, the first of which was The Homeless Gospel Choir. The band had a certain charisma that stood out, and it made it very entertaining as the audience waited for the main act. Every song was introduced as a certain emotion; however, the majority of the songs were introduced as something “political.” While the lyrics were centered around politics, it was very clear that they were just having fun with their music. The energy the group brought was infectious, and the crowd fed off of their energy.      


The second opener was a band called Thursday. The lead singer told several stories about My Chemical Romance, more so about times around the latter’s debut album release, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love,” as well as MCR’s lead singer, Gerard Way, and the contribution he has made to Thursday. Much heavier than The Homeless Gospel Choir, the band provided an enjoyable 45 minute set.                                          


The headliner, My Chemical Romance, came out to a sold-out Xcel Energy Center, with lead singer, Gerard Way, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt with a painted bullet hole on his forehead starting off their night with their intense and surprise comeback single, “The Foundations of Decay,”which was followed by a popular fan favorite, “I’m Not Okay (I Promise),” a much heavier version than its studio release in 2004. 


After each song, Gerard Way was having fun with the crowd and was more than engaging with the fans throughout the night, even singing “Happy Birthday” to a fan after their love ballad, “Summertime.” Not only was Gerard’s energy very present, the crowd’s own energy was prominent as well, even cheering for a crew member vacuuming the stage before the band came out. “Teenagers,” off their hit album, “The Black Parade,” was playfully dedicated to Gerard’s mailman and sounded as fun and energetic as ever.                                                                     


The set list had changed every show prior to the St. Paul performance, so no one knew what they were in for, and that had an element of surprise to the audience. Some of their other notable songs included the upbeat and energetic, “Na Na Na,” the triumphant and ever-popular “Welcome to the Black Parade,” and the powerful and uplifting “Famous Last Words.” Not only did they perform some of their fan favorites, they added some of their more underrated cuts to the list as well, such as “Boy Division,” the catchy “Mama,” “Surrender the Night,” “Hang ‘em High,” and “This is the Best Day Ever.”                                                                                      


The encore consisted of the acoustic, “Desert Song.” Gerard’s vocals, as well as the instrumental of the song, especially the guitar work done by Ray Toro and Frank Iero, made the song an incredible send-off to an even more phenomenal show. Bassist Mikey Way was playing remarkably all night as well. The version they played had drums, unlike the studio release, and current drummer Jarrod Alexander did a sensational job. It definitely set a melancholy and bittersweet mood.  


 As much as the fans didn’t want it to end, the band led off the closing of their show with the best song they played all night, the emotional “Helena,” off the band’s sophomore record, “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge.” The emotion behind the song, the lighting, the power the band played with, and the memories and impact the song had for fans of My Chemical Romance all made the song a core takeaway from the 90 minute long concert.                                         


After a decade-long hiatus, and two years worth of waiting to perform, it’s safe to say that My Chemical Romance is back, and hopefully for good. While there were certainly some songs many audience members wished were played, the surprise factor of a different set list each night of the tour definitely made up for it. It was a memorable night for St. Paul’s sold out audience, and a night to never forget. Hopefully this won’t be the last we see of the band, and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.