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Show Review: My Chemical Romance returns for two special hometown shows

It was a miraculous day when My Chemical Romance announced their reunion after breaking up in 2013, but with this comeback also came new music and a world tour. On the other side of a global pandemic, that tour promise is finally being fulfilled with fans holding on to tickets and hope for over two years.

Atlas attended night two (the original date) of the band’s hometown New Jersey shows alongside a horde of eyelinered emos of all ages. The sold out crowd packed Newark’s Prudential Center wide-eyed and ready for the return of their heroes. 

The Homeless Gospel Choir opened the show with his off-kilter brand of folk punk. In the spirit of the hometown gig, MCR guitarist Frank Iero made a surprise vocal appearance on “Crazy” before the brief set concluded with “Ripoff”.

When this tour was initially announced, openers had not been chosen- and a lot has changed in those two years. Former Jersey staples Midtown received the call and got the band back together after being defunct for over 15 years. Still, they dusted off their instruments, dug up their early 2000s albums and put on one hell of a show for a very enthusiastic portion of the crowd.

Frontman Gabe Saporta sang MCR’s praises, reminiscing on past shows and good times with their old friends. They dedicated their cover of “When You Were Young” to Mikey Way and even brought out some old stage moves for a very special set. The band concluded with more gratitude and a high-energy closer on “Give It Up”.

The lights flickered, the room filled with fog and the sound of the swarm preceded MCR’s customarily dramatic entrance. Frank Iero, Mikey Way, Ray Toro and Gerard Way emerged from the smoke and kicked things off with their eerie comeback single, “The Foundations of Decay”. 

Fans in the pit crowded as close as possible to the rock legends while the rest of the room raised their voices on every song. Way’s chosen costume of the night was a glittering suit, slicked back hair and drawn on mustache- the ringleader of the doomsday circus. 

From then on, the setlist was a guessing game full of deep cuts and delightful surprises- especially for the fans who’ve been there since the beginning. MCR brought out dance-punk anthem “Planetary (GO!)”, right alongside older tracks like “Our Lady of Sorrows” and “Headfirst for Halos” off their first album. 

While the rest of the band was reticent between songs, Way spoke openly with the audience about playing shows with Midtown (and dedicating “Teenagers” to them), making their return and politely asking the fans to make space on the floor to avoid injuries. 

By the end of the night, we’d screamed every word to “Welcome to the Black Parade”, “Famous Last Words” and taken things back to the beginning on “Skylines and Turnstiles”. Getting to witness such an influential band for so many people reappear like they’d never left was extraordinary- and we soaked up every moment that we’ve missed these many years.

After nearly 90 minutes, MCR concluded the night on a high note, leading a massive sing-a-long to “I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and a cover of “My Way”, ending their hometown run on their own terms. It was an honor to witness and a night none of us will ever forget.

Check out all the photos from the show!

Story and photos by Olivia Khiel

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