11 years, a breakup, a reunion, a tour announcement, a pandemic and finally the long-awaited emotional pay-off that fans have waited half a lifetime for. My Chemical Romance’s return to Philadelphia was nothing short of a saga and that all took place prior to doors for the SOLD-OUT performance at the Wells Fargo Center on Monday, August 29.
A decade of waiting would finally come to realization across a nearly two-hour performance as My Chemical Romance delivered a career defining performance in what many could consider a hometown show of sorts for this tour.
The anticipation filled the arena in the moments that lead up to the award-winning band’s arrival to the stage as a massive red curtain masked their sprawling cityscape set and an artificial buzzing of a “swarm” filled the arena bowl. With each passing minute the digital insects grew in decibels until it masked out the sound of the crowd completely. Then, all of a sudden it stopped and the roar of the crowd took over as the band hit the stage masked by an array of strobe lights.
As My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way walked out to the center of the stage to grab his microphone he flashed a smile to his bandmates Frank Iero, Ray Toro and Mikey Way. All at once the SOLD-OUT crowd was transported back a decade and it was almost like My Chemical Romance had never left at all.
The set was chaotic, messy, and yet perfect all at once and My Chemical Romance has never sounded better. Their 19-song set list took fans on a journey across their entire discography all after kicking the evening off with their newest single “The Foundations of Decay.”
Throughout the night the sound of the crowd singing the lyrics back to Gerard Way was nearly deafening – whether it was the screaming parts of “Boy Division,” the echoing choruses of “Helena” or the generation ballad of the “The Black Parade.” As the set grew on the band embraced the emotions of the crowd, letting them take the lead on numerous parts that created an atmosphere many musicians dream of, and very few ever accomplish.
As you looked out across the arena it became clear that while My Chemical Romance may’ve stopped touring, they never left. Their music has lived on in the generation they inspired when they burst onto the scene and a whole new wave of fans found the same hope in their lyrics that those before them did a decade prior.
The band brought very little production and allowed their chart-topping hits to speak for themselves. With minimal theatrics, the band treated over 19,000 fans to an intimate show without all the bells and whistles that they could’ve brought with them, instead My Chemical Romance transported fans back to their club show days with raw instruments and vocals and no backing tracks.
Whether it is 11 weeks, months or another long bunch of years, My Chemical Romance has proven that their music stands the test of time – and their loyal fans will also stick by their side no matter the situation. Philadelphia will be here waiting for whenever the next dosage of Gerard Way & company is available, until then fans can make travel plans for the remainder of their reunion tour before it comes to a close at the When We Were You Festival later this year. After that? Who knows, but the #swarm will be ready.