It was nine pm on the night of the 31st of January, 2012, and little did I know my thoughts on all modern music were about to be completely changed. As Gerard Way stepped out onto stage with his entourage of brother Mikey and fellow band mates Franky Iero and Ray Toro, the atmosphere was truly electric. More so than any other concert I have ever been to. As the band blasted through an amazing set list, running for nearly an hour longer than anybody had expected (thank god) the night developed into what would be for some the best night of their lives. My Chemical Romance creates that kind of live and breathe fan, who would be looking forward to this night for a really, really long time. The end of the night was approaching, and Gerard and crew threw everything they had into I'm Not Okay and the most amazing performance of Famous Last Words anyone could have ever asked for.
Gerard took a pause between The Kids of Yesterday and Famous Last Words to congratulate their crew who had helped them throughout their tour and explained that this would be the last headlining show of the tour. Little did anybody know, including the band, that this would be the second last concert My Chemical Romance would ever play.
As quite possibly all of you may have now discovered, My Chemical Romance broke up in a surprise turn of events on Friday afternoon, leaving millions of fans around the world crushed. For three days fans were left with a blog post merely a few hundred words long to explain the end of the band, it was not until about a day ago that Gerard posted a nearly 2000 word twit longer from his Twitter account that told us all why. It was a really poetic, valiant and well written response, but unfortunately for most it didn't really provide much solace to the fans who have primarily only My Chemical Romance to turn to as the reason they might not be not okay anymore. Pun, not bad grammar. Gerard talked in detail about his love for the band, their fans and all the people they've gotten to work with over the years. It may not have removed all the pain from the heartbroken fans, but it thankfully offered a small reprieve. In the post, Gerard discussed his feeling during the last show they played ever, at Ashbury Park in New Jersey:
I am backstage in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It is Saturday, May 19th, 2012 and I am pacing behind a massive black curtain that leads to the stage. I feel the breeze from the ocean find its way around me and I look down at my arms, which are covered in fresh gauze due to a losing battle with a heat rash, which had been a mysterious problem in recent months. I am normally not nervous before a show but I am certainly filled with angry butterflies most of the time. This is different- a strange anxiety jetting through me that I can only imagine is the sixth sense one feels before their last moments alive. My pupils have zeroed-out and I have ceased blinking. My body temperature is icy.
We get the cue to hit the stage.
The show is… good. Not great, not bad, just good. The first thing I notice take me by surprise is not the enormous amount of people in front of us but off to my left- the shore and the vastness of the ocean. Much more blue than I remembered as a boy. The sky is just as vibrant. I perform, semi-automatically, and something is wrong.
I am acting. I never act on stage, even when it appears that I am, even when I’m hamming it up or delivering a soliloquy. Suddenly, I have become highly self-aware, almost as if waking from a dream. I began to move faster, more frantic, reckless- trying to shake it off- but all it began to create was silence. The amps, the cheers, all began to fade
These two paragraphs seem reminiscent of Kurt Cobain's suicide note, where he famously states:
Well, at least Gerard's not dead. I guess it's the same idea though. As Gerard continues through his piece, he talks about how a lot of bands wait until their concerts start getting less popular and their albums stop selling to finally quit the music industry. Maybe MCR didn't want to fade away. Maybe this is their less self destructive way of burning out.
Without doubt, My Chemical Romance are the kind of band to insinuate the level of love and absolute devotion that propelled them to the success they saw throughout their career. You'll often hear a fan stating that My Chemical Romance saved their life, how they gave them hope and picked them up. You'd be a fool to discount any of that. It's not only MCR who you could say this about, but they're a pretty good example. My Chemical Romance saved many, and I wouldn't question that for a second. Anybody who has the audacity to assume that music does not seriously change somebody is delusional, and for the kind of fan MCR often attracts, that kind of change means everything.
The concert at Festival Hall was not only amazing because of MCR's exceptional work on stage, but because of just how much every single person in the room loved the band, how important they were to everyone. By the height of I'm Not Okay and Famous Last Words, the environment had reached the most numbing, chilling, overwhelming level of emotion in every single person in the room. I'm pretty sure everyone was crying by a certain point, and you could see the tears in Gerard's eyes. The electrifying environment and performance breathed new faith in music into many, fulfilled the musical dreams of many who had waited years to see the band, and the scar ridden arms of hundreds flew in the air, as each ounce of sound washing over them brought relief not felt in years.
My Chemical Romance left my body sore from goosebumps. I am so ridiculously luck to have had the privilege to attend that concert.
My Chemical Romance produced what is in my opinion some of the best music since the year 2000, they changed lives. And to see them go is deeply saddening. Festival Hall on the 31st of January was without doubt amongst the best nights of my entire life, and I can safely say that goes for many there also. I feel bad that it seems I only realise just how much we've lost and just how important this band is right after their split, but I guess that goes for everything. You never realise how much you love something until it really is gone. I thought I missed Fall Out Boy until they came back from hiatus, but that was nothing. My Chem make FOB look like a smear of shit on the road in comparison, and that is a huge compliment coming from me.
So long and goodnight, MCR, you will be sorely, sorely missed.