Gig review: MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, Saturday 21 May 2022

So, my daughter aged 14 likes My Chemical Romance (MCR) and I wanted to introduce her to the sort of things the world has to offer. I managed to get tickets to Stadium MK to see MCR and support on Saturday night. This is how it was for a non-fan and novice gig reviewer…

The venue was drenched in warm afternoon sunshine as we arrived. It made me think that for whatever its faults, this newly named city really does have a lot to offer just in general ‘stuff to do’ and a decent enough cultural offering. Parking is a pain for the venue, but that’s true of most places but hey ‘get the bus’.

Anyway, we got drinks, took our seats basked in the sunshine, and the concept of what was about to unfold was opening my daughters’ eyes to what sort of things the world has to offer, ‘WOW’ as she eloquently put it.

The setting looked great in the sun, it’s a nice stadium, the stage and whole set up was pretty impressive.

It was about half full when the first act came on in the sunshine….

The support bands were Charlotte Sands, Barns Courtney and the main support coming from Placebo. They all offered up something different.

Charlotte Sands had great command of the stage and real presence. She established a rapport with the fans with complete ease. When she opened, I felt I was on a journey with Blondie initially that then moved quickly into the Sugar Cubes and then went off again somewhere completely different. We will be seeing a lot of this artist.

Barnes Courtney transported us back to a softer metal era with a number of well performed ballad type songs with a distinct blues vibe with often upbeat tones. It was a fun performance and offered up something a bit different.

Placebo played for an hour and did not disappoint. They began to suffer towards the end of their set as the crowd were eagerly awaiting the main act which ultimately was the reason they were there. The set was rounded off with The Bitter End and Infra Red. The ever-present subtle angst in their music shone brightly. Masters of their craft, well worth catching if you can.

The venue, I suspect, was bordering on a sell out. It seemed full to me ready for when MCR took the stage. The energy ‘in the room’ was escalating with the excitement of what was about to happen. The full impact of the lighting in the fading light was set to really impress. It did not disappoint.

I got the distinct impression that My Chemical Romance are a really important band to a lot of their fans. I’ve seen comments like they ‘gave me an identity’ they ‘saved me’ etc etc. It reminded me a bit of a Smiths documentary I saw once. i.e., a band finally existed for a generation where some/many are disenfranchised for whatever reason, and a lot of people find themselves on their own – and yes you are on your own, but there ain’t half a lot of you. I felt this here, thankfully MCR speak both for and too some of those (I’m sure you know who you are).

He said, Son, when you grow up, would you be the saviour of the broken, the beaten and the damned?”

MCR came out and played roughly a 1 hour 50 minutes set which was high energy and well delivered. The 21-song set list started with The Foundations Of Decay and I’m Not Ok and ending in Welcome To The Black Parade and Sleep with an encore of Boy Division and Helena. Teenagers coming mid set with full on audience participation.

It was clear what some of these songs meant to the audience. As a non-fan I could feel the obvious emotion and power of the Welcome To The Black Parade song thrashed out with real precision and mastery for a live performance.

The City scape set akin to a batman set gave an edgy dark vibe with big hitting sound and lighting effects giving the whole package a real impact, this hit home and you felt it. They really did turn up and they played as if it was their first or last performance.

There was clearly a lot of love for the fans emanating from the band through Gerard Way. They wanted to be there, and man did they turn up! They looked after the crowd and kept fans safe (as much as you can), giving we are all ‘here to party together’ sentiment and lets ‘look after each other’ vibe, getting the crowd to take 3 steps back a few times during the performance. This was a band that gave the impression that they cared.

Gerard took some time to talk about the tour and absent friends and making reference to Riley Gale (Power Trip) whose passing had clearly touched the band. Gerard held the audience in his palm with ease and it felt like there was a real connection.

This was a great occasion, emotional songs, with emotional lyrics that means so much to so many people. The support acts did their jobs well. The crowd made the atmosphere, and this drew you in, I found as a non-fan I suddenly felt included, and I’d been assimilated.

Gerard was on song and the band are well drilled and gave a powerful emotional performance, it really was first class from the fan’s perspective.

Was it musically 100% perfect? It wouldn’t be unique if it was (and I probably wouldn’t notice either way), but this was unique for a hell of a lot of people. They now have one new ageing fan to add to their masses, and I know a certain 14-year-old who hasn’t stopped playing MCR since Saturday night!

MCR, if you are around again, I’m coming!

Review by Matt Curtis





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Power Plays w/c 13 June 2022 (Mon-Fri)
IVORY SKIES – Bring Me Up (indie)
HONG FAUX Feign Death To Stay Alive (Golden Robot Records)
OVERLAPS Mind Over Matter (indie)
SOLE SYNDICATE – Brave Enough (Scarlet Records)
DAVID PAICH Spirit Of The Moonrise (Mascot)
JAILBIRDS The River (indie)
NOUVEAU ARCADE Die On Me Now (FiXT)

Featured Albums w/c 13 June (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 DEF LEPPARD Diamond Star Halos (BMG)
12:00-13:00 LONERIDER Sundown (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 VANDERWOLF 12 Little Killers (Vandermax Music)



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