Dancing and Decay: My Chemical Romance Dominates at Toyota Center

Written by , on September 30, 2022

There are lots of My Chemical Romance fans, like myself, that can recall where they were on March 22, 2013, which according to Rolling Stone, is the day the band officially announced their indefinite hiatus. 

Since then, fans could only follow all members’ music careers through their collaborations in other groups such as rhythm guitarist Frank Iero’s post-hardcore band Leathermouth or as standalone projects like lead vocalist Gerard Way’s solo album Hesitant Alien. While each member continued to demonstrate their talents through other projects, many fans pinned their hopes on the chance that one day the band would reunite. 

Most people would consider a band’s return after nearly a decade to be a pipe dream, but according to Pitchfork, on October 31, 2019, fans rejoiced with the band’s announcement of a December 2019 reunion event in Los Angeles, CA. The following month, My Chemical Romance announced the start of their international Reunion Tour featuring several openers varying by date from popular names such as Turnstile, Taking Back Sunday and Kimya Dawson, including many more.

The tour was first slated to begin in 2020, with tickets selling out in under six hours, according to Forbes. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all plans had to be put on hold with tour dates subsequently rescheduled for the next year and then again for 2022.

According to Rolling Stone, on May of 2022, My Chemical Romance has decided to take stage for the first time and starts the international Reunion Tour with full force in the UK. Footage of the band’s official first-time on tour begins to circulate on social media, with old and new fans equally leaving comments applauding the band’s most recent performance, increasing expectations for Houston fans to be blown away.

I’m here to say that fans were not disappointed. On September 28, 2022 My Chemical Romance hit the stage at the Toyota Center and here is the full scoop:

The evening began with a greeting from Devil Master, a black metal punk band from Philadelphia, PA, whose newest album Ecstasies of Never Ending Night was released at the end of April 2022. There was a great combination of electrifying sounds ranging from the killer riffs, played by guitarists Dark Prince and Hades Apparition, paired with the booming rhythm from bass player Spirit Mirror, all the way to the intoxicating vocals, sung by vocalist Disembody. All of course paired with the powerful support from drummer Del and dynamic keyboardist, Dodder. The group, who according to Revolver, all carry aliases, did an amazing job at getting the crowd pumped for what was only the start of an unforgettable night. 

Following, was a performance from New Jersey-bound pop punk group, Midtown. The band consists of lead vocalist/bassist Gabe Saporta, drummer/percussionist Rob Hitt with guitar/vocals from Tyler Rann and Heath Saraceno. The foursome play a mix of enigmatic hooks, fiery vocals, and lucious harmonies with dramatic riffs all of which are the key components of any successful pop punk band. The nostalgia trip did not stop there as the band publicly thanked members of the group for their reintroduction into the music scene since Midtown’s original disbandment in 2005, per Stereogum. The band closed their set with their final song being their 2004 single “Give It Up” in a special collaboration performance with My Chemical Romance bassist, Mikey Way. Thus, Midtown’s whole performance provided a superb example of tremendous melodic familiarity, which further contributed to the anticipation of what was to follow.

It was now time for the long-awaited performance of the night from alternative rock group, My Chemical Romance. The crowd’s roars and composure could not be contained when the lights dimmed and soon enough, revealed its band members. The band opened with their new 2022 single “The Foundations of Decay”, which was expeditiously uplifted by the insane rifts from lead guitarist and backup vocalist, Ray Toro. Their choice to use new content as a reintroduction to the band sets the playing field for all of the experience from being on hiatus, in combination with the nostalgia their overall sound garners from playing together. 

What followed after was a setlist of songs that date back to their first studio album I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love (2002) such as “Our Lady of Sorrows” and “Vampires Will Never Hurt You”, all the way to their last album Danger Days (2010) with songs such as “Planetary (GO!)”, “S/C/A/R/E/C/R/O/W” and “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)”. They even went as far as offering performances from deep cut features such as “Bury Me in Black”, “The World is Ugly” and “Boy Division”, something I’m sure longtime fans very much appreciated.

Between song breaks, Gerard Way would speak to the audience, encouraging them to participate as much as possible, commanding them to pump their fists or jump to the beat of certain songs. Additionally, Way would also use this time as an opportunity to utilize a device for mixing audio to play with vocal effects for adlibs that often worked as transitions to the next song. It was interesting being able to see Way practice exercising his creative freedom of mixing live audio on stage, from quite up close, if I may add (thanks, Toyota Center!).

The night consisted of a wild ride down memory lane through their most popular albums, The Black Parade (2006) with songs such as “Welcome to the Black Parade”, “Mama”, “Teenagers” and “Famous Last Words” along with features from my personal favorite album, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004) with songs such as “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid”, “The Ghost of You”, “Hang Em’ High” and “Helena”, which was used as their closing song.

No matter their choice of song to play, the band made sure to bring their all with hard-hitting raw vocals, seductive guitar riffs, riveting baselines, cordially paired with drumming that never seemed to skip a beat. It was incredible to witness a band who has been out of the spotlight for almost a decade manage to create such a surreal experience that audience members will truly never forget.

In the words of lyrics from their closing song – “so long and goodnight.”

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