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My Chemical Romance Live In London: The First Review

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 24 October 2010 at 07.20

We were at the Hammersmith Apollo for the legends’ return, and the full review and setlist is right here…

There are more than a few cynics in the world, and even more who feel like it’s their duty to hate My Chemical Romance for one reason or another. In the best possible way it’s impossible to not have an opinion on them but an hour or so after they walk offstage everyone in attendance tonight – their first live performance in about 18 months – seems to be united in their conclusion: they slayed, they dominated, they annihilated and controlled. Full disclosure: the writer of this review is hardly an MCR fanboy waiting for the return of his heroes, more someone waiting to be impressed by a band who are supposed to be something special. But tonight, faced with a crowd who wanted them to be something special they were... special.

Storming onstage with ‘Na Na Na...’ to deafening screams (the sheer noise that greets MCR when they trudge into view is astonishing) and then rolling directly into ‘Thank You For The Venom’ is the sign of a band blessed with a surfeit of confidence. It’s like people can’t quite believe they’re seeing the band performing in person: there’s a genuine excitement in the air that pushes ‘Dead!’ and ‘Cemetary Drive' but it’s more appreciation than dumbfounded acceptance. The first bonafide new song, ‘Planetary (GO!)’, is a significant departure – less screeching guitars, more French electro-indebted drum machines – and is met initially with confusion and then full-bodied devotion as the chorus kicks in. But considering they follow it with ‘I’m Not OK’, which is the dictionary definition of a slam dunk, it’s like MCR know they can veer in whatever direction they like and know within a few seconds they’ll own everyone again.

While they only play four new songs over the course of almost two hours the new material they air demonstrates the full range of ‘Danger Days...’. ‘The Only Hope For Me Is You’ is a head-nodding classic rock tune beamed back from 20 years in the future and while the set-closer, ‘The Kids From Yesterday’, isn’t quite the big hit everyone was no doubt hoping for it’s strong enough to suggest that when it rings out over festival fields next summer it’ll be hollered back with the energy that, say ‘Teenagers’ is tonight. And when ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Kid’ and ‘You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison’ are pumped out they’re received like water to the thirsty; considering the ferocity of tonight’s performance the band justify the adoration that floods their way.

When Gerard invites one kid onstage to sing ‘Honey, This Mirror Ain’t Big Enough For The Two Of Us’, and the lucky Killjoy invites her twin sister along it’s clear that tonight will be the best moment of their young lives; when the opening of ‘Welcome To The Black Parade’ chimes out the only way to describe the reaction is euphoric. ‘Helena’ and ‘This Is How I Disappear’ are, rather obviously, lapped up. The jaunty ‘Mama’ is a bit of a misstep but considering it’s followed by ‘Teenagers’ it’s quickly forgiven.

So what’s the verdict? In short, MCR proved they’re a staggering live band who know how to work a crowd in order to introduce daring new material, but the most impressive thing is that they did it in such a way that satisfied their most rabid of fans. They could have showed up, run through some classics and unveiled a few new ones with the minimum of effort and still enjoyed a heroes’ welcome, but the passion with which they played is what elevated tonight into one of the most important MCR shows of their career. “We’re really excited about this new record, but we’re more excited about the next 10 years of this band,” said Gerard onstage, and this rainy Saturday night in west London shows the next decade (or two) will be extremely fruitful, to say the least.

My Chemical Romance Played:

Na Na Na
Thank You For The Venom
Cemetary Drive
Planetary (GO!)
I'm Not OK
Give 'Em Hell, Kid
Bring More Knives (Our Lady Of Sorrow)
I Don't Love You
You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison
The Only Hope For Me Is You
Honey, This Mirror Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us
This Is How I Disappear
Welcome To The Black Parade
The Ghost Of You
Famous Last Words
Kids From Yesterday

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