After ten years, My Chemical Romance returns to St. Paul

By: Ann McMullen

Photo by self

After nearly a decade, My Chemical Romance returned to the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on September 15th.

The band unexpectedly broke up in 2013, and their fanbase continued to grow during their years of inactivity, leading to an overwhelmingly positive response to their reunion announcement on Halloween of 2019. However, like most things announced around then, their reunion tour was postponed multiple times due to COVID-19, with the Minnesota date winding up to be almost three years after it was initially announced.

Even with all of that being said, I can confidently say that the concert was worth the wait.

Almost all 20,000 seats were full. The majority of the crowd (including myself) consisted of teenagers who were too young to even have seen MCR at their peak.

Before the main act came out, two other artists opened for them. The first of these was The Homeless Gospel Choir, a solo project of musician Derek Zanetti. With the accompaniment of a touring band, Zanetti sang a short but powerful setlist consisting of his greatest and newest songs.

Post-hardcore band Thursday was the second opener for MCR. Unlike the previous act, Thursday tended to stick to their older songs. Frontman Geoff Rickly not only had a great stage presence, but also continuously referenced MCR and how the two bands got started together back in the early 2000s, hyping the crowd up for the main act even more.

At 9:30, My Chemical Romance finally came onstage, opening with the only song released after their initial breakup: “The Foundations of Decay”. After this, the band dove into a well-balanced combination of hits and fan favorites.

My personal favorite parts of the show were all the deep cuts they played. There were three songs from their first album on the setlist, and even a few non-album tracks, but a large portion of the audience was still able to sing all of them word for word.

They catered to more casual fans as well, though. Another highlight of the show was when they played their biggest hit song, “Welcome to the Black Parade”. To my surprise, this song was played midway through the set, but was definitely one of my favorite parts. Even though it was played a bit lower than the album version, the vocals and instrumentals sounded just as great as they did fifteen years ago.

All four members looked to be genuinely enjoying themselves, too. Lead singer Gerard Way was dressed down in a floral shirt, and the other members also dressed casually despite going absolutely crazy with their instruments onstage. The audience, however, consisted of lots of dyed hair, jewelry, black clothes, and most of all, eyeliner.

I was in no way disappointed by the show MCR put on, and based on the amount of energy in the crowd, I think diehard and casual fans alike would agree with me.

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