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My Chemical Romance at the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit

My Chemical Romance ©John Swider

Detroit,Michigan (September 13,2022)-My Chemical Romance reignited its love affair with their fans Tuesday night at a packed Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit. Ironically it was the band’s first area concert in 11 years and subsequent first visit to the Motor City since regrouping following a 2013 exodus.

The prolonged time away has made My Chemical Romance’s (MCR) music starved fans appear louder and more emotional about their return than any other group in recent memory. The sold out arena was vibrant and often times deafening from the black and red wearing mix of those who may or may not have attended the band’s last local concert, a 2011 sold out affair at the then-DTE Energy Music Theatre (Pine Knob).

MCR emerged on a post-apocalyptic stage set, skeletons of burned-out buildings as lead singer Gerard Way sported a white nurse’s outfit similar to one the late Heath Ledger wore in “The Dark Knight.” The enigmatic frontman, who created “The Umbrella Academy” graphic novel-turned-TV series, worked a riser full of effects to create vocal and other sound altering queues during the songs, while tour keyboardist Jamie Muhoberac added textures and highlights to bolster the savage guitar work from Ray Toro and Frank Iero. The band’s 2006 triple-platinum concept album “The Black Parade” was not surprisingly Tuesday’s go-to, with six songs including the theatrical “Welcome to the Black Parade” along with platinum singles such as “Teenagers” and “Famous Last Words.”

My Chemical Romance © John Swider

In addition to directing and shaping the crowd’s energy, Way, 45, was also an extremely respectful host, pausing several times to check on the general admission crowd down front, asking fans to take one step back and giving those who needed a chance to leave the pit an opportunity to do so safely. His actions were welcomed as the surge of fans wanting to get close to the band made for a very uncomfortable situation for those directly in front of the stage.

MCR didn’t rely on a 19-song list full of hits only, the group touched on every album from their very distinct library and also pulled a pair of tracks, “Boy Division” and “The World is Ugly,” from its 2013 EP Conventional Weapons, along with “Bury Me in Black” from the 2006 live album Life on a Murder Scene.

A couple of particularly deep cut provided some of the show’s best moments, however, as MCR tore through the epic big beat of “The Black Parade’s” “House of Wolves” then absolutely pulverized “DESTROYA,” which ended with Way growling and barking like a rapid animal at Toro.

With a discography spanning four albums and many EPs, it is always easy to pick apart the setlist at each show and its ever changing lineup every night. Each performance is a unique experience and Detroit was no different. My Chemical Romance has so many hits to select from, it has to be a chore for the band to assemble a setlist each night. That being said, It might have been a bit more pleasing for the average fans if there were a few less deep cuts off their EP’s and few more of the better known tracks such as “Planetary (GO!),” “Thank You For the Venom,” or “The Ghost of You.” The show, though very entertaining and while not taking anything away from the bands performance, felt as if it left the less ardent fans wanting a bit more.

The seismically energetic “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” permeated through the venue like the power of a locomotive, with fans miming their “jazz hands” at the lyrical prompt, and “The World Is Ugly,” from 2012’s “Conventional Weapons” compilation, received a proper late-show treatment reciprocated by deafening adulation from the delirious crowd.

My Chemical Romance © John Swider

“Vampires Will Never Hurt You,” from MCR’s 2002 debut album,I Brought You My Bullets,You Brought Me Your Love, kicked off a scintillating show ending two-song encore. “You made it, we made it,” Way told the crowd while introducing “Helena,” with its “so long and goodnight” refrain lending a fitting goodbye to the evening and a subtle reminder that Tuesday’s concert was supposed to be the opening night of the reunion in Detroit, but delayed by two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Exact details of how MCR got so big during its time away from the spotlight are as fluid as the fans’ black eyeliner at the end of Thursday’s 95-minute show. But based on the crowd’s familiarity with its angst-ridden lyrics and the band’s tight and impactful performance, you’d have thought the group had stayed highly active instead of lying totally low since 2013.

But all thats in the past and despite the decade elapsed between local appearances, Tuesday’s concert didn’t come off like a dusty rehash or a time warp. It was vibrant with energy by the boatloads throughout the performance. Some of the crowd had been here before, but at a more influential time in their lives. Now a over decade later, those same fans, some sporting kids of their own, packed Little Caesars Arena once again, wanting to reacquaint themselves with one of the most influential bands of the era. Was it worth the wait? By the shear volume and the expressions on their faces, absolutely. Best of all, it seemed to arrive right on time.

My Chemical Romance 2022 North America tour continues through November then reconvenes early 2023 for their World tour.

My Chemical Romance © John Swider
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