The SECC was alight with colour on the afternoon of February 15th as Killjoys roamed the halls in leathers, running around with toy guns and embodying the concept of being in California 2019. They are here for one band: My Chemical Romance.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been four years since the band last played this venue, drawing heavily on a darker, deeper concept. The halls were lined with fans in military styled uniforms and – let’s be honest – an abundance of black. In something as simple as the colours of the line, you can see how far the band have come in the last few years and how closely their legions of fans have followed along the way.
Consider it a given fact that with every return of My Chemical Romance, they’ll be treated like heroes returning after many years away. Reality? It’s only four months since they contaminated Edinburgh and, quite frankly, be it four years to four days, the fans would be waiting just as eagerly to see this city follow that same fate. Needless to say Glasgow is well and truly contaminated now.
The first support band take to the stage around 7.30. Derby Trio Lostalone do their best to warm up the crowd and, although the set was great, a massive distraction was caused as the left side of the barrier snapped forcing security to come into the crowd and hold back thousands until they could replace it fully.
This isn’t their first time supporting MCR. LostAlone were the surprising support for the bands comeback Roxy shows in Los Angeles. Needless to say the band, highly praised by Gerard Way in interviews, powered through their set and left on a high.
Anticipation cranked up a notch as the wait for the highly popular second support The Blackout began. The Welsh sextet had cancelled one of their shows to support on this tour, understanding the opportunity given to them and appreciating it and embracing it fully.
Anyone who has seen The Blackout before will understand the sheer energy and presence they have onstage. Moving them to arenas hasn’t fazed them in the slightest – they still dominate the stage. With a cut set, we didn’t hear as many old tracks as expected, but the band did tear through big Blackout tracks including ‘Spread Legs, Not Lies’ and ‘Children of the Night’. Josh Franceschi’s guest vocal on ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ was taken over by the audience who’s volume was simply overpowering.
The band did the typical crowd pleaser in Scotland – hating on the English. Sean Smith playfully bantered throughout that England didn’t compare to Scotland or Wales, declaring “We’re on your side, don’t boo us!” whenever speaking about England. Of course, the rivalry is joking but it’s always fun to see bands embrace that fun element.
Although their set wasn’t quite as long as expected, the band said their thank yous and goodbyes before exiting the stage. Now anticipation was through the roof. The screens finally burst into life between sets and show screen caps of the band in their video for ‘Na Na Na’, rousing cheers with every member shown. The now infamous quote, ‘Killjoys, make some noise’ flashes up and causes the venue to seemingly vocally erupt. Now it seems to begin to feel real that My Chemical Romance will be here soon.
Earlier than expected and catching everyone off guard, the lights cut out completely and their opening gambit, ‘Look, Alive Sunshine’ begins…
The crowd don’t sing along, they scream along as Dr. Deathdefying’s voice booms across the hall. “The future is bulletproof, the aftermath is secondary, it’s time to do it now and do it loud. Killjoys, make some noise!”
The curtain drops to unveil My Chemical Romance in all their stripped down glory. Donning their own merch for the most part, the band absolutely roar into Na Na Na and dominate the SECC in their process of contamination. They promised a stripped down tour – no production like their last venture here with smoke, pyro and all possible effects. This time, it’s just them and some bright, colourful lights. This is as stripped back as My Chemical Romance will ever be in a venue this size and, quite frankly, it’s the best they’ve ever been.
Unfortunately, their set was cut compared to the two previous shows on the tour, but it did not deter the crowd for a second. The band absolutely soared through Revenge era classics from ‘Hang ‘Em High’ and ‘I’m Not Okay’ to their dancier Danger Days tracks such as ‘Destroya’ and ‘Planetary (GO!)’.
The show is packed full of energy and positivity. There’s a happier vibe surrounding My Chemical Romance now than ever before. They’re more fun loving on stage, more fearless than ever and command the crowd with every strum of a guitar or sassy move from Gerard Way.
You can’t help but become captivated by their performance as Frank Iero pulls faces at the crowd throughout and Ray Toro simply beams the entire time. In such a happy atmosphere, you can’t help but be sucked in. Even during a slower ‘Summertime’, the love and emotion seeps from every ounce of the band’s being.
This is a band notorious for their live performance and this night was no exception. They are a band that put everything they have into their music and performance and the fans respond with that same energy and enthusiasm alongside them.
In one brief break between songs, the fans replaced the infamous Scottish ‘Here we fuckin’ go’ chant with ‘Mikey fuckin’ Way’, causing Gerard to join in briefly before introducing their next song.
Closing their set with Helena, the crowd and band are one in screaming the words to one of the greatest songs of the band’s history. There’s a brief sadness as the band exit although everyone knows they’ll be back in mere moments. Still, the realisation that such an incredible show is coming to an end is enough to provoke an ounce of sadness on amidst sheer ecstasy.
James Dewees begins a slow keyboard tune as Gerard walks back onto the dimmed stage and stands in a spotlight. Fans are accustomed to this setting for ‘Cancer’. It’s understated and focuses on the simplicity of the song. This has always been the most stripped back performance from the band over the years and tonight was no different. The crowd sing along quietly, reflecting the raw emotion felt from this performance, erupting into applause as the song ends and the remaining members of My Chemical Romance rejoin the stage.
The band promised great things for this tour and “saving the best until last” is most definitely the best description of their final song. Promising in an interview that they were looking at bringing back a song from their first album that they hadn’t played in over half a decade, fans expectations were high to finally hear the track many knew was coming.
The bassline drops and the crowd erupts as they launch into ‘Vampires Will Never Hurt You’, tying a neat knot at the end of a ‘new My Chemical Romance’ show with a song synonymous with the band’s conception. There’s something overwhelming, as a fan, to hear this track at the end of their set. After so many tours without even one track from Bullets, it’s an incredible feeling to see the band gradually bring more of their original work back in, but tackle it with the same energy and enthusiasm as the tracks that have stood strong in their setlist for years.
My Chemical Romance have an incredible ability to completely put themselves out there in a live capacity and prove to everyone that they are worth your time. They grab you by the throat with their stage presence, eagerness for crowd participation and the occasional strange dance move thrown by Mr. Way.
I admit there’s always a bias towards your favourite band but it’s safe to say I’m not alone in that group. In experience, I’ve brought people to shows who weren’t huge fans and they left completely and utterly blown away. Personally, I believe My Chemical Romance get better with age and although they’ve matured, their performances will never grow old.
There’s a reason they’re so upstanding in the music scene today and have been for many years. They may change in appearance and sound, but they remain the same people with the same passions for music and performance that people discovered and adored all those years ago.
As they say goodbye to Scotland this time around, there’s no other way to describe their performance than completely sensational. My Chemical Romance don’t need pyro and effects to put on a show because by putting their entire being into their performance night by night, they are the people we came to see, and they are the sensational show embodied.
Glasgow status report: Contaminated.