Updated: Mar 28
It’s been over ten long years since we’ve seen My Chemical Romance in Australia, and everyone at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre on March 14th was more than ready to see them again. Fans from all over the world came for the second Brisbane show, and the venue was "swarming" with anticipation.
Jimmy Eat World opens for My Chemical Romance on all Australia show dates, and they never fail to bring an energetic set full of hits from across their entire catalog. The crowd might be there for MCR, but Jim Adkins and the rest of the band are so engaging and full of gratitude that the whole audience is immediately singing along and holding up their phone lights during songs like “Hear You Me” and “23.” Jimmy Eat World ends their set with “The Middle,” and the entire building goes wild.
My Chemical Romance begins every show with the sound of static playing through the speakers, gradually getting louder over the next 10-15 minutes, and this night was no different. You can feel the audience's excitement build with the static, the sound of the swarming flies that represents MCR’s so-named “Swarm Tour,” and the second they come on stage, the crowd erupts with joyful screams. Lead singer Gerard Way has delighted fans during the previous tour by wearing different costumes for many shows, and this night’s costume was an iconic skirt suit complete with heels, sunglasses, a cape, and a pair of gloves.
They started the set with their newest single “Foundations of Decay” before surprising the crowd with songs from past albums in an ever-changing setlist from show to show. Even if you’ve been to one of MCR’s shows on this tour, you’ll still be kept guessing “what will they play next?” This is part of the magic of this band and their connection with their fans throughout any and every show. Lead guitarist Ray Toro fills the room with energy and joy as he energetically plays solo riff after solo riff with a huge smile on his face. Bassist Mikey Way engages with the fans from every side of the stage as he walks around smiling and singing along while playing throughout the whole set. Rhythm guitarist Frank Iero plays and sings with an ever-present passion for every song, and there’s not a time during the show that it doesn’t look like the band is having the time of their lives along with the audience.
On this night, Gerard was fully engaging and often spoke to the audience between songs or growled regularly into the microphone, and even when you’re not sure what it means, it’s always captivating and fun. Gerard talked fondly about Jimmy Eat World and said: “This is probably one of the greatest tours we ever get to be on because Jimmy Eat World is here with us.” My Chemical Romance opened for Jimmy Eat World back in 2002, so this full-circle moment clearly means a lot to Gerard and the rest of the band and crew.
“Famous Last Words,” one of the most well-known songs from the album “The Black Parade,” was the end to the regular setlist and the entire audience singing along with the lyrics "I see you lying next to me with words I thought I’d never speak, awake and unafraid, asleep or dead" is something that never loses its magic no matter how many times you might have witnessed it. The audience sings along loudly and passionately because they also feel that magic no matter how many times they’ve seen it before.
For the encore, Gerard tells the audience that someone requested a song that they didn’t rehearse and couldn’t play, but then sang an unforgettable a capella slow tempo version of “Cemetery Drive” before they went directly to one of the most popular songs in their catalog, “Helena.” The show’s final song was “Sleep” from “The Black Parade," complete with an outro that makes you wish it was part of the original recording. When the house lights came up, no one wanted the show to be over, and this was a night that will stay in your memory for a very long time.
My Chemical Romance has a couple more show dates in Australia and the final two dates in Japan this month. Whether you’re a new fan, a long-time fan, or just curious about the band for the first time, seeing them live will be an experience you won’t regret or forget. If you can, try to make it out to a show!
All photos of My Chemical Romance and Jimmy Eat World are by Joanna Foster