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[Review] My Chemical Romance @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 16/03/2023

The Black Parade, after so many years, finally flooded the grounds outside of Rod Laver Arena for an iconic group that made an explosive comeback pre-Covid, and proved that their powerful performance ability had never wavered in the time they were seemingly gone. Joined by the wholesome pop-punk tunes of Jimmy Eat World, Gerard Way and his ensemble of hellhounds gave fans what they waited for as they tore the roof off the iconic Melbourne Arena.


Jimmy Eat World elevated the energy of an already eager crowd as they injected an enthusiastic dose of pop-punk. Performing an array of hits from their career, this band was a notably significant aspect to this tour given their history starting out and performing with My Chemical Romance, telling tales of their youth in high school and the hardships of starting a rock band at their age, in the community they grew up in. This wholesome, joyful ensemble concluded after a soaring audience roar with the unmistakable rock’n’roll hit, The Middle, a song of hope and the encouragement of following your dreams, no matter the lengths or time it takes. 


The interval between both sets was short and sweet, and after being entertained by an roadie seductively vacuuming the stage to the tune of Pony by Ginuwine, before the crowd collectively howled the lyrics to I’m A Believer. The lights dimmed and an ethereal synthy drone rumbled accompanied by fitting dark red beams. My Chemical Romance silently took position as the guitarist plucked the intro to The Foundations of Decay, and decked out in a ladies office attire covered by a long black overcoat, Gerard Way’s incomparable vocals swept us off our feet.


It was extremely difficult to keep off our feet throughout the entirety of this show. Decorated with an incredible backdrop of an apocalyptic city in ruins at the stern of the stage, MCR exceeded all my already high expectations with a heavy instrumental amplification accompanying Gerard Way’s vocal range from angelic youthfulness to monstrous screaming. And it’s not easy to rip the conversation away from the revered heartthrob frontman, as his undying energy and charisma really helped construct such a powerful show. The sold out audience was under his enchanting spell who screamed and jumped to until the perimeter of Rod Laver Arena opened an inch. It was notably difficult to not slip on the puddles of tears throughout the venue, which was understandable that this was such an emotional event for die-hard fans.


The middle of the night shined brightest and received the most noise as hit after hit brought the house down. Beginning with the chat worthy Teenagers, dedicated to Gerard’s ‘badass’ daughter Bandit, followed by the painful lyrics of I’m Not Okay (I Promise), all before pulling up to the 2010 era with Na Na Na. The real emotion hit upon hearing That G note. Of course familiar individuals would know this as the saddening first note introducing the undeniable classic, Welcome to the Black Parade, and oh boy when I tell you that voices were lost and tears fell like Niagara.  I tear fell to my eye not to the tune itself, but witnessing the impact that MCR and their music to has to especially younger fans, it’s this power of music that really makes one appreciate the art form. 


As stated before, the headbanger of a set remained unchanged for the remainder of the set. Gerard’s witty but in character quips and hollers to the crowd and the precise energy of the band kept thoughts away from any and all gig-weariness. The real kicker for me was the surprise reggae-inspired guitar skanks opening a personal favourite number of mine, Mama, a dark Cabaret tune that in my personal opinion, perfectly captures the Tim Burton-esc, gothic horror theme of My Chemical Romance, what with the catchy chorus declaration of “Mama, we’re ALL going to Hell”. The band abruptly closed the curtains on their performance in preparation for what surely would be an explosive and emotionally driven encore, after the packed arena of fans never broke from the streak of cheering; and screaming, the team re-entered to conclude the set with the heavy fast paced Vampires Will Never Hurt You ending with the follow up of the classic intro number to the album Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, Helena, which was no better way to end this long awaited show. Gerard spiritually embraced all of us collectively in his warm arms quavering the chorus words “So Long, and Goodnight”, harmonised with the strained vocals of countless sobbing fans. 


Growing up, I couldn’t help but to catch an MCR hit every now and then, however from what I can remember I was always drawn to every emo theme and grew to admire the group. Finally witnessing a live show of theirs made me appreciate these beautiful memories of youth, and witness the emotional impact Gerard and his gang have on fellow youths, whether they got us through hard times, or phases of dark self reflection. My Chemical Romance, you were a treat. 

You can still catch My Chemical Romance at the following shows:

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne – March 17,2023
Qudos Arena, Sydney – March 19, 2023
Qudos Arena, Sydney – March 20, 2023

For complete tour, ticket and VIP Experience information, visit: livenation.com.au

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