My Chemical Romance Produces Amazing Performance at the KIA Forum

Jade Baxendale, Editor-in-Chief

December 19, 2019, was a historic day for emos everywhere. My Chemical Romance (MCR), the very definition of emo music, announced a reunion show after being broken up for almost seven years.

Not long after, they announced their reunion tour, and being a huge fan, I bought tickets to their L.A. show (which later became five shows because they kept adding them after they sold out). Then of course you know the familiar story, COVID-19 hit and the concert was pushed back.

But of course, the pandemic ended up putting us in quarantine for far longer than we thought, and the concert got pushed back again. Finally, three years later, on October 11, 2022, I got to see my favorite band from middle school.

The Band’s Logo (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

At 7:30, the first opener, Youth Code, went on. The duo includes Sara Taylor and Ryan George who perform hardcore, modern music. While it wasn’t my kind of music, the energy they brought on stage started the concert off with a bang.

Unbeknownst to me, after Youth Code, another opener, Taking Back Sunday, took to the stage. This was a pleasant surprise because the band wasn’t listed as part of the show until pretty much the day of the event. Taking Back Sunday is your classic 2000s pop punk band, which fits with My Chemical Romance’s Music style much more than the first opener. Although I had only listened to a few of their songs prior to the concert, I very much enjoyed their performance.

Finally, at 10 p.m., My Chemical Romance entered the stage with their new song “Foundations of Decay.” For those unfamiliar with the band, the group is currently comprised of four members: Ray Toro (Guitar), Frank Iero (Guitar), and brothers Mikey (Bass) and Gerard Way (Lead Singer). Like many previous shows in their reunion tour, Gerard Way wore a cheerleader uniform the whole show, entirely conflicting with the dark and creepy set.

The Band Performing (Photo: Jade Baxendale)

Throughout the show, the band played multiple songs from each of their four studio albums, along with several singles and demos. This was unique because, in my experience, bands tend to focus on their biggest hits and songs from their most recent album during concerts.

However, because this was a reunion tour and MCR  hasn’t released an album since 2010, they had the opportunity to play older and more obscure songs (as if this concert wasn’t already nostalgic enough). Some of their more well-known songs included (in order of performance): “I’m Not Okay, Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na),” “Helena,” “Welcome to The Black Parade,” “Teenagers,” and “Famous Last Words.” However, I was very excited when they played some less well-known songs that were some of my favorites such as “Planetary (GO!),” “Mama,” and “Vampires Will Never Hurt You.” The concert ended with “Demolition Lovers”–a song from their first studio album.

For me and many others, this song was extremely nostalgic. Although I don’t listen to MCR often anymore, this band basically defined my middle school years. I felt as if I was making my younger self proud because my middle school self was crushed at the thought that I would never see my favorite band because they were broken up.

A closeup of Gerard Way in his cheerleader outfit projected onto the big screen (Photo: Jade Baxendale)

And of course, you can’t talk about an MCR concert without commenting on the clothing.  Emo concerts are basically one big fashion show for fans, where clothing ranges from full goth to music video cosplay to t-shirts and flannel. Then of course there are always the people I saw walking in who didn’t get the memo, like the dad who wore a dodgers shirt and jeans. And no emo look is complete without dark and often smudged eyeliner. Many people went so far as to create the “raccoon look” with their eyeliner with how much they put on.

Concerts are a huge part of the emo culture and getting to experience this culture at an MCR concert, of all places, was an amazing experience I will never forget.