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A Cumbrian Reviews: My Chemical Romance in Milton Keynes

6 years after their devastating split in 2013, My Chemical Romance shook fans with the announcement of a 2020 world tour.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic, these shows were postponed until 2022, and thousands of fans, like myself, have been eagerly awaiting the day that we finally get to see our favourite band rock the stage once again.

For me, that day was the 21st of May at Stadium MK, and looking back I can honestly say that it was 100% worth the wait.

Supported by Placebo, Barns Courtney and Cassyette, the stadium was alive with fans, whether they were diehard emos from MCR’s glory days or younger fans who had discovered their music in their own time, the atmosphere was electric and there was an undeniable sense of companionship within the crowd.

A beautiful sunny afternoon in Milton Keynes, the arena was lit up by incredible costumes, vivid makeup and an impressive array of hair colours.

Fans snaked round the outside of the building in admittedly awfully long queues for merchandise, while others grabbed drinks and soaked up the nu-metal tunes of support act Cassyette.

After purchasing some (awesome) merchandise, I headed into the arena itself and revelled in the energy of Barns Courtney, who although somewhat unfamiliar to me, had an incredible stage presence and sufficiently hyped up fans with his hit ‘Glitter & Gold’.

As an avid Placebo fan, I was ridiculously excited to see them live and admittedly was met with an average set on their part.

As opposed to playing their biggest hits, think ‘Nancy Boy’ and their cover of ‘Running up that Hill’, we were subject to some of their less popular songs, which were incredibly performed, but perhaps not met with the ideal reaction from the crowd.

Brian Molko, Placebo’s frontman, sensed that fans were becoming restless and assured us that My Chemical Romance would take the stage soon.

Following rapturous applause, Molko’s promise became a reality as Gerard Way sauntered onto the smoke-filled stage in a surprisingly ‘normal’ getup, accompanied by guitarists Frank Iero and Ray Toro, and bassist Mikey Way.

The opening song could be no other than ‘The Foundations of Decay’: My Chemical Romance’s first single since 2014, released just 9 days prior on the 12th May 2022.

The simple black, ruched backdrop fell to reveal scenery designed to look like a derelict town before Way greeted the crowd with a simple “holy fuck, how are you?”, being met with roaring cheers and applause by fans before slamming into the iconic teenage anthem ‘I’m Not Okay’.

The rest of the set list was what can only be described as pure genius, from the screams of ‘Make Room!!!!’, to the crowd tearfully chanting ‘Famous Last Words’, the band’s passion and raw talent was evident in every single song played.

‘Summertime’, a lesser known song from My Chemical Romance’s 2010 album ‘Danger Days’ was sung out while fans lit the torches on their phones, lighting up MK stadium and creating a sense of pure companionship within the crowd, making the love for the band and their music beautifully clear as Gerard Way sung out the words “you can run away with me anytime you want” as if they were personally written for every single wide-eyed fan in the crowd watching him.

The pit roared to ‘Na Na Na’, ‘Mama’ and ‘Thank you for the Venom’ before being wonderstruck by the one and only ‘Welcome to the Black Parade’, a song that us younger emos could only have dreamed of hearing live a mere couple of years ago. It was a magical moment, but the night eventually lulled to a close with the powerful vocals of ‘Sleep’.

The band said their goodbyes before being inevitably met with the chant of “one more song!”, which Way responded to by gleefully declaring “We’ve got two more and then we’re fucking out!”. Cheers rang out as the band played ‘Boy Division’ and then ended with the completely iconic and heart-breaking ‘Helena’.

A night of companionship, re-lived emo phases and incredible live vocals, Way’s stage presence was utterly unbelievable as the 2-year wait became completely satisfied.

For us fans, the music is one thing, but the undeniable rapport that the entire band had with the crowd truly made the night magical, as our teenage emo dreams became a reality, and our love for My Chemical Romance was even further cemented.

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