September 15th, 2022. This Is the Best Day Ever. Not because the weekend is just one day away, but because alternative rock legends My Chemical Romance made a long awaited and emotional comeback to the Twin Cities in downtown St. Paul.
Fans that descended on a sold out Xcel Energy Center had been waiting 958 days for this show. Tickets originally went on sale January 31, 2020 and flash sold out within a couple of minutes. So it’s safe to say there was an incredible sense of excitement in the air before this show. The Killjoys were ready to make some noise.
Personally, waking up Thursday morning brought on a lot of different emotions. The last time I saw My Chemical Romance was in 2011. I was a sophomore in high school, still in the peak of my rabid MCR fandom. I remember the unbridled joy I felt that night, screaming every word two rows from the stage at a packed Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, Colorado. The night felt like a blur, and remains to this day one of my favorite shows of all time.
After the band broke up in 2013, it was uncertain whether or not they would ever release new music or play a show again. The hiatus seemed indefinite, until 2019 when they announced a one night comeback show in Los Angeles and eventual reunion tour to follow.
Like many other fans who had waited years for the band’s return, I knew this was going to be more than just a rock show. It was bigger than that. Something special, indescribable, and non-tangible. A return to not just nostalgia, but a feeling of warmth and safety within music and the scene.
Now, I’m not being hyperbolic when I say My Chemical Romance is the band that changed my life. They were the first band that really, truly got me into music. I was in 6th grade when the Black Parade came out, and I still vividly remember feeling my entire world open up and my jaw hit the floor when I first spun that CD on my boombox. It was also the first album I bought with my own money.
My Chemical Romance has always had something special and unique about them. They’re the outcasts that never really fit the mold, yet they hold the capacity to connect with so many people on such a personal level. Their music offers a place for the misfits. The punks. The kids who never really fit in. They’re a band that makes you feel safe to be unapologetically exactly who you are. So Thursday night’s show was more than just a comeback show. It was going home again.
Upon arriving at the Xcel Energy Center, I was greeted by a sight I hadn’t seen in 11 years — one I didn’t really know if I’d ever see again. People of all ages wearing My Chemical Romance shirts. Dressed in black, and ready to take the venue by storm.
I wanted to make sure I arrived in plenty of time to see The Homeless Gospel Choir, so I found my seat early. The Homeless Gospel Choir (aka Derek Zanetti) is a new act for a stadium setting. Opening up for the likes of Frank Turner and AJJ at small venues the size of the 7th St. Entry, Zanetti is a genuine, charismatic and awkwardly charming person. The Xcel Energy Center may be the largest venue he’s ever played. Watching him belt out raw, folk punk ballads with a full band felt like a win for the DIY small-town punx.Following Homeless Gospel Choir was post-hardcore group Thursday. After briefly playing with the group in 2020 at the Saint Vitus, My Chemical Romance rhythm guitarist Frank Iero mentioned, “I now have such a newfound appreciation for the band.” And fans unfamiliar with Thursday likely walked away with the same sentiments, as they played a short but wonderfully abraded set. And then came the moment we’d all been waiting for. The lights went down, plane engine noises hummed from the stage, and the crowd eagerly anticipated the band’s arrival. Sure enough, when they came on stage they were welcomed by the sound of cheers. At that moment, I felt like a teenager again.
Starting with their newest release, “Foundations of Decay” and plummeting right into classic hit “I’m Not Okay”, the band played a healthy mix of old favorites and deep cuts – most notably three songs off their first album I Brought You My Bullets You Brought Me Your Love and songs off their EP Conventional Weapons.
After a decade away from playing live shows, the band seemed happy, healthy, and very much true to form. They didn’t miss a beat – including lead singer Gerard Way’s banter and humor. “Three songs with photographers… three songs I’m wearing shades.” He jeered.
The evening was spectacular. This show felt exactly like the homecoming so many fans have waited years for. A career spanning set and four guys on stage doing what they do best — playing live music and putting long awaited smiles on faces. My Chemical Romance is back, and hopefully here to stay for a little while because they certainly proved they have too much gas in the tank to slow down again any time soon.